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Our Story

The Bearded Brewer started quite by accident back in 2004

My wife Beverley and I had spent an evening watching River Cottage, and an episode where the team went foraging to make Sparkling Elderflower Champagne. The next morning, we were walking on Frenchay Moor with Lenny (the best Labradoodle in the world) and spotted fresh elderflower. Inspired by the previous night’s viewing, we picked a few of the flowers, brought them home and that was our first venture into fermenting.

That Christmas, Beverley (also known as Mrs. Breaded Brewer - she shaves) bought me a copy of “The Homebrew Handbook” by Dave Law & Beshlie Grimes. With seventy-five exciting recipes and a great step by step guide to the brewing process; it was the perfect present.

Beverley and Richie

Over the next few years my obsession with brewing took off

Shielding from exploding bottles and pouring more beer than you can imagine down the sink became the norm. However, things slowly got better. When friends came to visit and I offered them a drink, I noticed they started to choose my beer, rather than a well-known commercial one. “You should do this for a living” I was told, and after a while I began to believe they meant it and were not just being polite.

Brewing beer

Inspiration can come in the strangest of forms

The next big milestone in my brewing career was in early 2020 when Covid-19 hit the UK. That year you can probably remember us all being told to stay at home for the whole of the spring and summer. At the time, Beverley and I owned a hairdressing salon, and we were not allowed to work for 3 months.

So, what do you when you can’t work, you’re shut up at home and you’re not allowed out? Well, if you’re me, you brew beer, beer, and more beer. I wanted to bring a little cheer to my friends, and I had more beer than even I could drink. So, I started delivering monthly care boxes of my home brew to my nearest and dearest. I’d set out in my Jeep, drive to friends’ houses, and leave a box of beer on their doorstep.

Loading beer boxes

I discovered I loved the whole creative process

Playing with recipes, coming up with fun names and then designing beer labels to match was brilliant fun. With no access to suppliers, I printed everything myself and spent hours sticking labels onto my cans with a trusty Pritt stick!

I spent those ‘lost’ months running my small brewer as if it was a full-time business. There really wasn’t a lot to do during lockdown. Soon I was being asked if I had more beer available as people were keen to buy it. I got a real buzz from people enjoying something I had created, so this again got me thinking - maybe I really could make a go of this?

However, I couldn't just give up my career as a hairdresser and leave Beverley to run the salon by herself. But maybe I could do something on a smaller scale? Create a local craft business that I could work on outside my full-time commitments...

Bearded brewer beers - 4 beers

In 2021, encouraged by Beverley, we took our first steps to opening The Breaded Brewer

And I can honestly say we have never looked back. What started out as a hobby and a bit of fun 18 years ago has now become a successful local Bristol craft beer business. And I love it.

Small really is the new big.