Cometh the hour, cometh the Mobberley
Saturday 14 January 2023
This article is from
Share this article
To say that Mobberley is on the rise might suggest to some readers that it wasn’t already a steady and well-respected brewery. But failing to acknowledge the height of the hill the brewery is now cresting would be a disservice to the staggering growth it has undergone in the last year, and the extent to which its roots have primed it for success in today’s craft beer landscape.
The brewery was due a move in the months leading up to the onset of the pandemic, and while managing director James Roberts was still just in the scouting stages at that time, plans needed to be paused until the dust had settled somewhat. Thankfully, Mobberley managed to make the move it needed in March of this year, meaning the brewery is now well and truly settled in a new site that has expanded production by a whopping 300%.
“The intention was that it would then take us a few years to grow into that capacity, but we've already filled it since March”, says James. “We've had a really rapid few months of growth this year, so we’re now working hard to plan for next year and beyond.” If it weren’t Mobberley we were talking about here, I might have quietly worried that too much growth coming too soon might cause the brewery to trip over itself in the tumultuous months that are no doubt to come, but knowing the considered professionalism that is Mobberley’s reputation, I lay my concern to bed.
A quick look at today’s craft beer landscape only strengthens my belief that Mobberley is now making moves that will benefit itselfs and the wider industry.
“We've seen a massive increase in demand for session beers in keg and can, so that's been one of our biggest growth areas,” says James. “For us, that’s things like pale ales, session IPAs, we do some low strength New England styles. Another massive area of growth has been lager, which we used to produce on quite a small scale but now, due to our growth and having extra bits of kit and filtration equipment that we didn't have before, we have three or four tanks just dedicated to lager at any one time.”
Not only are styles on the rise that either align with Mobberley’s current repertoire, or can best be brewed with the space and kit it recently acquired, the cask landscape is experiencing a revival that could not be more up Mobberley’s street. “We started out as a cask producer,” James reminds me. “When we first started, it was all cask. That's all we did. For years and years. And we didn't start doing keg beers, or basically anything carbonated until 2018.
“It's something that we are very, very passionate about. Ultimately, all of our brewing knowledge – everything we produce today, whether it's a pale ale, West Coast IPA, lager, either in keg or can – a lot of those brewing styles stemmed from everything we've learned from brewing cask beers over the years.”
I recall at this point in our conversation just how many breweries I’ve spoken to over the last number of months, who have whispered, or casually mentioned, that one of their goals for 2023 is to start experimenting with, if not commercially producing, cask beer. Should a future ever come to fruition whereby cask is the industry’s fervent obsession, Mobberley would have such a massive advantage over breweries just getting acquainted with the artform.
“It’s kind of funny,” says James, “because in theory, what should have happened is this; as everyone went can-crazy, and hundreds of breweries around the UK that didn't produce canned beer before all of a sudden started canning, a lot of us figured ok, with the way things are going, canning is here to to stay. We thought that the increased use of cans might move people away from previous trends in formats like cask beer, because everybody's going to be appreciating all these sorts of bigger punchier beer styles that a lot of modern breweries are doing in cans.
“However, I think what actually happened is that during the lockdown periods, people just missed cask beer because you couldn’t get it. The pubs weren’t open, so there was just no way to get your hands on it. I mean, I myself feel like I appreciate cask now more than ever, because of those periods of time where you couldn't actually get a pint of it. Perhaps a lot of the rise in cask that we’re seeing now is owing to that, maybe it’s made people appreciate it a little bit more.”
Share this article