The Garden Brewery

• • • Best Collaboration Award • • •


Unlike our Creative Community Award, Beer52’s nomination for Best Collaboration focuses on the accolades of a brewery that has partnered with players within the craft beer community to further the movement and support industry members in a way that’s responsible, conscientious and inclusive. We are exceptionally proud to have been able to work with The Garden Brewery for the Restore Our Earth collaboration series, which first launched in June of this year and donated over €30,000 to high impact environmental charities. 

The collaboration saw Beer52 partner with The Garden, Tythe, BarthausX, Ball Can, and fifteen other breweries from around the world, to produce 1.5 million cans of beer, the bulk of which were distributed among Beer52 subscribers. The Garden was responsible for brewing all this beer, acting as steward to the precious recipes supplied by participating breweries from around the world. Working together, the project helped protect 3,600,000m2 of land, clean 4,500,000L of water, and support vital research into carbon removal.

Speaking to The Garden Brewery’s director, David Plant, about his reasons for hosting and orchestrating this collaboration, he says “Craft is not perfect, nor without problems, but this collaboration felt to me like our industry doing what we do best: creating brilliant, innovative beers by sharing ideas and knowledge, collaborating globally, and helping raise awareness and funds for brilliant charities that truly deliver good. These charities work globally, as the issues we have with climate change are global. We can’t fix these alone, but every industry should do all it can.”

While the collaboration is high-concept, with a goal whose benefits reach far beyond the concerns of our industry alone, the impact that projects like this can have on small or lesser-known breweries is profound. Some collaborating partners in this project brew their beers on rented kits, either to curb the costs of starting their own brewery or because nomadic brewing allows them to learn skills and gain experience they wouldn’t otherwise. Other breweries are yet to acquire the resources and infrastructure needed to ship between countries and continents, confining their products to more local audiences. 

In all instances, finding a willing, well respected and trustworthy partner to brew on your behalf, with the integrity of your recipe in mind, and ship it to its destination is tremendously valuable. 

Speaking to Tom O'Hara, brewery director at The Garden, I ask him what the process of collaboration really looks like on a molecular level; who designs the recipe, who selects the ingredients, what are the processes? He says that these details really depend on the brewery. “We had really extensive conversations with Hércules [in Mexico City] over Zoom, and really got into the nitty gritty about how we like to do things and what our ethos is. Freddo Fox’s [Spain] head brewer is also notoriously detailed so he would send us long emails with loads of ideas and suggestions, Nick from One Drop [Australia] is the same, so it’s great to get that input.”

But for one brewery involved in this collaboration, the ability to produce beer with integrity and dignity through a trusted partner meant something especially important. The beer that Garden had planned with Varvar for the Restore Our Earth project was workshopped in December of 2021, and took on new life after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of this year. Being unable to use the brewery for several months on account of the risk of shelling, Varvar’s relationships with trusted partners through which it can continue to brew are now more important than ever. 

“When the shelling broke out everyone was shocked and stunned” says Varvar ambassador Lana Svitankova, “And since our world was falling apart, being able to keep that collab, and do something we've been used to, worked as a tiny anchor to normality and reality. It was also such a valuable opportunity to send the message about our country, and moreover we've been able to be a part of something beautiful and important in the midst of the chaos and disaster. This year, collabs became guiding lights illuminating the darkness, be it either a message, a headline, a solidarity brew to keep the news afloat, draw attention, or a fundraising effort to help those in need. And for this heartwarming feeling of unity, we will be forever grateful."

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