When a craft beer brewery begins to appear on your supermarket shelves, how does it stay connected with the purists? It goes on tour of course
In an ideal world, or maybe just my own, the words “beer” and “tour” no longer conjure up thoughts of already lagered up lads boarding the big orange bus in the sky, on there way to some unassuming Czech town or a group of early risers queuing patiently at Dover awaiting their turn to drive into the big behind of the booze cruise. Though the later maybe a little more “civil”, the loot they return with 12 hours later – 3 cases of 24 Kronenbourg and a few bottles of Sav Blanc – makes me wonder if it was really worth the 4am start. Alas, all things “beer” and “tour” appear to have taken the fork in the road, thanks to craft brewers Fourpure.
Last month, the London based brewery set sail on an 11 day tour around our great nation, to celebrate the most recent release of their umbongo-esque IPA, Juicebox. Kicking off at Liverpool’s finest craft beer establishment, The Dead Crafty Beer Co., the Juicebox-500 tour stopped off in Manchester, Leeds & Sheffield before heading south to Bristol & Cardiff.
Stopping of at The Wolf in Birmingham, Fourpure, though now entering the big supermarket debate, showed their continued support for the little guy, after the Wolf’s recent scuffle with a certain group of “punks”. An unforeseen event that lends as a suitable example as to why the tour took place.
Yes, there have been many “Meet the Brewers” and “Tap Takeovers”, but seldom is there an actual tour. Speaking with Rob Dervish, an adopted Londoner originally from Warrington and self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of Fourpure”, we discussed how the tour is an opportunity for the brewery to stay connected with the purists, as the brewery expands onto the shelf of your local supermarket – something that often makes punters retract the prestigious “craft” roset. Rob also commented on how it offers a chance for members of its 50 strong team to meet the fans and stop the muched loved forerunners losing face.
Back on the road and night number eight saw Juicebox-500 land in Newcastle, ahead of a visit north of the border to Edinburgh before the long 500 mile journey to Brighton, for the penultimate date.
So what happens on the Juicebox-500 tour? Beer bongs, drinking games and your head over the toilet? Wrong. Thank god. Instead, though a performance or two might be delivered from upon the bar, you’ll enter the legendary Dead Crafty quiz, partake in a Bundobust feast and when you happen to miss the Fourpure team because they have jumped on an early train back to London (so Rock ‘n’ Roll!), you’ll settle in for the night with the bar staff and a few regulars at Bier Haus in Brighton, consuming your fair share of Juicebox, Shapeshifter and a couple of local brews from Brighton Beer.
The next and final stop saw Juicebox back home in Bermondsey, at the Fourpure brewery. A little more “traditional” than the tame activity I outlined above…A stag do or two present and staff having to timeout at 4pm…the all day event brought elements of the past 10 nights together for a final shindig and a well deserved pat on the back for all involved.
In just four years, Fourpure has gone from a small team of brewing brothers hidden away amongst the train tracks of South London, to the well oiled, innovative, good timers who are able to quench a nation’s thirst, yet continue to please those who “unearthed” them just a short time ago, with special batches like Juicebox and an expanding list of seasonal brews. All with-out straying from the principles of brewing -respecting the four core ingredients used to make beer: grain, yeast, hops and water. EJ
Thanks to Rob, Terry and Sophie of Fourpure for letting EJ tag along. And next time you’re in the capital be sure to ask Rob for a guided tour of his pride and joy – the canning line!