While on a commercial brewing course, Mark Taylor realised there might be a better way of selling craft beer than making it himself.
He came up with the idea of Barleywolf, a craft beer club that would aim to bring the best of British micro-breweries’ beers to your doorstep ‘county by county, month by month’ at £35.95 for 12, 500ml bottles.
Mark, of Out Westgate, Bury St Edmunds, said: “There are a lot of beer clubs out there but it’s a bit random – you get 12 bottles a month but you don’t know where they’ll be from.
“We came up with the idea of doing it county by county.
“We try to pick the best six micro-breweries in the county and you get two beers from each.”
Mark is personally interested in whether there are regional characteristics but frowns on the idea of customers dictating selections by excluding certain types of beer.
“You might not like stouts, but if someone in a county makes the stout champion for Britain, you might want to try it,” he argues.
His first month’s case was from Norfolk, with beers from Lacons, Elmtree, Humpty Dumpty, Panther, Norfolk Square and Grain breweries.
The quality of East Anglian barley means we are particularly well served for micro-breweries, including consistent award winners,but Mark says it is a growing industry in the rest of the country, too.
“There are about 2,800 micro-breweries in the whole of the USA and we’ve got about 1,400 in a much smaller country,” he said. “You can set up a plant for a few thousand pounds and if your beer is any good, you can make a living from it and escape the rat race.”
Micro-brewery beers are usually only available within a limited radius of the brewery, or direct online.
The beers Barleywolf offers will be a mix of award winners, ones Mark and his tasters like and personal recommendations from people ‘on the ground in each county’. Distribution is handled from an industrial unit in Kentford.
For more information visit www.barleywolf.co.uk