Arbor Ales

• • • UK Champion 2023 • • •


If pint-sized cans, banging the drum for cask before it was cool, and being one of the oldest players in the UK’s craft beer scene doesn’t make for a UK Champion, then I don’t know what will. Arbor Ales is nothing short of an institution in UK craft beer, making reliably brilliant beers that are simultaneously complex and accessible. Head of produce, Jon Comer, says: “of course, we’re super proud of the beers we produce and the reputation we’ve built over the last 17 years, but it’s a huge team effort so we’re most proud of our people that put 110% into making sure we’re brewing, packaging, selling and delivering the very best beer we can.”

This year, sustainability has been a top priority for Arbor, with the brewery even recently installing a CO2 recovery plant supplied by Danish firm Dalum Beverage Equipment. “Until recently, CO2 recovery units for breweries at our scale simply didn’t exist so, even though we produce more than enough CO2 through fermentation to meet our needs, we’ve been unable to capture it and had to buy it in to use for carbonation and processing within the brewery,” says Jon. “The new system means we’re now fully self-sufficient, capturing and reusing our own CO2 throughout the brewery. Combined with the 48kW solar array we installed in 2021, this equates to a yearly reduction in CO2 emissions of around 85 tonnes. That’s equivalent to planting 3400 trees.”

As with all breweries featuring in this issue, we ask Arbor what advice it would give a younger version of itself, knowing what it knows now. To this question, Jon replies, “have fun! After all, how lucky are we to make beer for a living?! But take it seriously and don’t become complacent. Quality and consistency should be at the heart of everything you do. There’s a hell of a lot of choice out there, with endless interpretations of styles and flavours to suit every taste. But money’s tight for everyone right now and no one wants to part with their hard-earned cash and be left disappointed. Make the best beer you can every time, beer that you really want to drink yourself.”

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