Meet the Brewery - Drop Bear Beer Co.

How did Drop Bear brewery come about? 
The UK's top rated specialist alcohol free brewery, Drop Bear Beer Co. burst onto the scene in June 2019 with two alcohol free beers, quickly followed by a third. We (Joelle & Sarah) had the initial idea back in October 2018 during Sarah's hiatus from drinking alcohol. We began brewing in the tiny kitchen of our small flat with a 10L saucepan from Wilkinsons and we like to say that "things just escalated"...just months later we had the ex Heineken brewer on board, sell out products being brewed in commercial breweries and a brand that people were really excited about. We both gave up our 'safe' full time jobs to transform this from a hobby to a successful business and invested our entire life savings. At the ages of 24 and 26, this was a nerve wracking albeit thrilling experience. Family members and friends encouraged us but clearly thought we were crazy, maybe we are. The beer sure is great though!
Why did you decide to start brewing a non-alcoholic beer?
During Sarah's hiatus from drinking our eyes were really opened to this market. We found ourselves disappointed with the options available in terms of products and brands. Although there were a number of AF beers out there, the market was saturated with lagers and the flavour profiles of ales were repetitive. The innovation and excitement found in alcoholic craft beer was missing and we knew that we could add something of value to this market. We soon began crafting our beers so that they were accessible (gluten free and vegan), natural, high quality, and unique.
What is unique about your beer?
We still remember sitting there with a notepad and pen writing out the wackiest ideas you could think of, we were determined to create truly unique flavour profiles, whilst still appealing to people's taste preferences. Firstly, the flavour profiles are really unique for example the addition of yuzu fruit to our Pale Ale, the roasted malts in our IPA, and the smoked malts in our Bonfire Stout really set them apart. The fact that we brew traditionally without any lactose is unique to this market, there is far too much lactose floating about in our opinion.
What has been the most difficult challenge in producing a non-alcoholic beer that tastes good?
I think achieving a balance of flavours. As we mentioned, we like to create full flavoured, punchy brews, especially as we found other beers in the market playing it safe with soft muted flavours. Ensuring that all of these punchy components are well balanced takes a lot of calculation, creativity, and experimentation. It's worth it in the end though and we're so proud of our hard work and perseverance with producing full flavoured AF beers, this extremely high quality is reflected in the numerous awards they have received including a World Beer Award, Great Taste Award, and title of UK's Best Alcohol Free IPA.
 
In your opinion what does the future of the non-alcoholic beer category look like?
 
I think we are already seeing alcohol free becoming more mainstream and as more breweries join the market, the quality standards will continue to be forced to increase. This is really exciting for consumers, they will have more options and better options.
To find out more about Drop Bear Beer click here 

2 comments

  • Hi Mark,

    Great question. I used to love Hobgoblin and Doom Bar too. Firstly, whatever you do, don’t try Doom Bar’s alcohol-free version, it is absolutely disgusting. Up until now it has been a weird pattern whereby established full-strength breweries in the UK haven’t produced good AF beers, which is partly why alcohol-free still has a bad reputation in the UK still. I’m pleased that is changing, with the likes of Beavertown, Northern Monk and Ilkley coming into the fold with great beers to join the great beers produced by alcohol-free specialists such as Big Drop and Lucky Saint.

    In terms of amber ales, they aren’t a style that has been replicated well in terms of both tasting like a traditional amber AND being a good alcohol-free beer in their own right. They tend to need a little more hops to get them tasting good. I’d say my favourites that most closely match the style, even though they don’t have “amber ale” on the tin are:

    Ilkley Virgin Mary
    Adnams Ghost Ship
    St Peter’s Without Gold

    Others such as Thornbridge Zero Five are worth a go and we’ll be getting Lowtide’s DIPA Toe In which is fantastic too.

    Adam Uttley
  • Hi, I’m looking to go alcohol free and currently drink Amber ales such as Hobgoblin, Abbot, Doombar etc. Which of your ales would you recommend I try?
    Thanks
    Mark

    Mark Blundell

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