New beers, new good causes
Saturday 15 January 2022
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When Brewgooder set out in 2015 to bring clean water to deprived communities around the world, by harnessing the runaway popularity of craft beer, its mission resonated with drinkers and the mainstream press alike. In particular, the obvious passion and hands-on approach of founder Alan Mahon did a lot to dispel the popular narrative that the craft movement was somehow self-obsessed and frivolous. Better yet, the beer was great and the money raised went straight into projects that continue to make a demonstrable difference to people’s lives.
That was five years ago though, and Alan has never been one to stand still, so it’s really no surprise that the brewery’s philanthropic mission, and its beer, continue to evolve.
“We’re working very hard on innovating in new areas where we can make a meaningful impact,” he says. “With the clean water project, I had that personal experience that sparked my interest in starting a beer company that married brewing with an issue that touched my life. And water is such a huge issue globally that it made sense to start there.
“But for everybody who’s joined the business since, who doesn’t have that direct link into water, they still want to make really cool stuff happen through beer. And that passion from other people in the business has pushed us to ask: is Brewgooder only about clean water, or is it about people positivity? And I think that if you take that lens on it, that gives you a lot of latitude to work on things that you really care about.”
Brewgooder’s first non-water campaign was ‘One on Us’ which allowed customers to donate beer to NHS workers during lockdown. For Alan, this was an opportunity for the brewery to dip its toe in the water of broadening its brand, and has sparked many other projects. One excellent recent example is its food bank donation packs.
“We’re all really proud of the food banks project,” continues Alan. “We basically created inserts for our existing packaging, which tells people what sort of things to pack and how to find their nearest food bank. It’s something I care deeply about, and it doesn’t take any attention or resources away from the clean water work, because it’s really just a case of making a change to something we already have – our packaging – in a way that hopefully makes a real impact. So I’ve loved the evolution of the brand, and how the team has stepped up with their own passions and creative ideas.”
On the beer front, Brewgooder has always skewed toward accessible, highly drinkable styles, starting with the lager that put it on the map, and moving into things like fruity pales and session IPAs. In recent years though, it has stretched into more niche brews, for example sours and imperial stouts, mostly through collaborations with its many brewing friends.
“What I love about 2022 is that we're doing some in-and-out-of-category collaborations that show how we can dial up some of our more innovative beers. So that might be stouts at higher ABVs, whether it's sours, or a range of different things that compliment food, for example. We want to start bringing people beers that they would like to have as a treat, or styles that compliment some of the core stuff that we do.”
In the Beer52 box this month, Brewgooder has kindly supplied us with a session NEIPA created by its brewmaster and Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner, Jason Pond. So, is Alan consciously bolstering Brewgooder’s craft kudos, even as he develops its philanthropic brand?
“As we go forward, it's definitely about trying to showcase the quality of the beers,” he answers. “With the session NEIPA for example, we love this style; the juiciness, the fruitiness, the overwhelming dankness that can come from a really good NEIPA. But we wanted to scale that back the ABV a little, so that it could be really sessionable.
“Crucially, it’s still packed with the body, the texture, the mouthfeel, the juiciness and the sort of tropical flavours that you expect from the style. That’s very tricky to accomplish without a high ABV, so we’re very proud of it; it’s a great start to our Jason Pond series, and the start of a very exciting year for the brewery.”
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