Many accountants turn to brewing to escape from the hectic city lifestyle. One such is Sam Brook. Here’s his storyCity accountant to brewer in three months – a fairly radical shift? I guess on the face of it, it is, but if the truth be told this has been longer in the making than the time between finishing my career with Deloitte in August and sampling our first beer on 26th November 2008. So where did it all start? Earls Court, Great British Beer Festival, 3rd August 2006. Simon and Glen, two university friends, and I sat together searching the huge list of beers on offer for a beer brewed in London (other than in Chiswick). To our surprise there was not one to offer. So after (a few too many) beers that day we hatched a plan to bring brewing back to the heart of London. Six months later and still fresh with the novelty of our exciting new idea, I took my first step to becoming a brewer, purchasing three second-hand tanks of a five barrel brewing plant from an ex-brewer. That is when I learnt my first lesson and quickly discovered that three tanks do not make a brewery. Despite my best efforts to get this five barrel plant operational it never saw any brewing during its lifetime with me. Twelve months on and I decided it was time to take this venture more seriously and found myself signing up for a week long course in Brewing Fundamentals at the University of Sunderland. It was an excellent week and despite the lecturers’ best endeavours to dissuade the class from venturing into the industry, I came out unperturbed and re-focused on what I needed to do – find myself premises. It was while I was looking for premises that I had the opportunity to meet a successful brewer by the name of David Welsh, previously managing director of Ringwood Brewery. Having been brought up in Salisbury on a staple of Ringwood Best Bitter, the chance to meet him was priceless. Shortly after our first meeting David dropped a bombshell; he was interested in being involved but only if the plant was four times the size! In retrospect it all made sense but at the time I didn’t quite know what to say… … So I said yes and here we are, an unlikely partnership, with a fully operational twenty barrel plant in Battersea, marketing our first pint Wandle Ale.
If you’d like to sample some of his beer, the stockists are listed on the SamBrooksBrewery website.