Enterprising duo set up craft brewery
Friends Alex Bull and Chris Mills found their home-made beer had so many compliments that they decided to turn their hobby into a business.
Now, just over a year after setting up as partners, their 'By The Horns Brewing Co' is supplying pubs across London and they are soon to turn full-time.
Alex, aged 25, and 27-year-old Chris, who house-share in Putney, run their five-barrel craft brewery on a small industrial estate on Summerstown, in the shadow of Wimbledon Stadium.
Alex (right) said: "We had been making beer in our own house in batches and it was going down really well with friends. Then just over a year ago we thought we would make a go of making it commercially."
They underwent a commercial brewery course, visited a number of breweries and bought the necessary equipment before they started brewing their beer in September.
Although they were carrying on with their London jobs on a part-time basis - Alex with an oil company and Chris with a merchandising firm - they were soon producing ales for local beer festivals.
Their three beers - Pale Ale (3.8%), Red (4.9%) and Pale Wheat (4.7%) - proved popular with beer drinkers and were well sought out at the Wandsworth Beer Festival in October.
Alex said: "The feedback has been really good. At the Egham Beer Festival one chap marked our beer as 'five out of five'.
He said a lot more pubs were now serving cask ales and younger people were now more likely to try real ale. "People are thinking they'd like to spend their £3.50 a pint on something they would really enjoy," he added.
Local freehouses serving By The Horns beer include the Trafalgar in South Wimbledon and the Bricklayers Arms in Putney. But a recent deal with Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) will soon see their beer sold in pubs owned by national chains.
And as their output increases, Alex and Chris plan to give up their jobs after Christmas, so they can work full-time on their brewery.
They have already re-branded their beers, giving the 'pump clips' a modern image, with more striking names to go with them. Pale Ale is now Stiff Upper Lip, Red is Diamond Geezer and Pale Wheat is Bobby on the Wheat.
They will also produce ever-changing seasonal beers, with a festive oatmeal stout coming soon and a hoppy, brown ale planned for January.
And the enterprising duo have just secured a licence to enable them to sell bottled-conditioned beer from their premises. They will be open in time to stock up for Christmas - from 10am-4pm on Saturday December 17.
December 2, 2011