Since starting with a rubbish-strewn, weed-covered plot in freezing January, Ben Richards remains on course to produce a beer using just ingredients grown or gathered from his allotment in Colyton, East Devon. Gone are the gas canisters, discarded pallets and broken glass, and the land has now been used to grow organic barley and four varieties of hops, collect rainwater and, with the help of researchers at the University of Exeter, find and isolate a yeast culture that can be used to brew.
Richards is more than halfway through the project and has seen his fair share of problems as storms, pests, livestock, an unusually hot spring and a predictably wet summer have all brought setbacks and challenges. “Some of these have threatened the chances of producing any beer come the end of the project” he commented “but with help and guidance from a range of experts and hundreds of hours spent preparing, planting or collecting the ingredients, I’m now in the midst of harvest and the final brew is fast approaching.”
It won’t be clear until after the harvest how much beer can be made, but Ben is hopeful that by November he will be able to show that it is possible to brew entirely from one small piece of land, and that he can share the results with those that have helped and advised him so far.
“As well as creating the finished beer, I’ve been producing a podcast that follows my journey through the entire year” added Richards. “Launched on 27 September listeners can follow every step from the first cold mornings to the final tasting, as Growing Beer condenses a year into 10 weekly episodes. Each week will cover one month of 2017, come directly from the allotment shed and include interviews and guidance from leading figures and experts in the worlds of gardening and brewing.”
David Cunningham, Programme Director of There’s A Beer For That which is supporting Ben’s ambition of growing beer added “Ben is approaching the culmination of his ambitious project and his podcast will be a fascinating insight into the challenges he’s faced, and overcome, and tell a captivating story about producing Britain’s favourite alcoholic drink. Recent research conducted by There’s A Beer For That for British Food Fortnight revealed that, whilst two thirds of Britons said natural ingredients in food and drink are important to them, they are even more discerning in respect of beer with 88% believing natural ingredients to be important when choosing a beer. In their quest for a quality glass of beer, Ben’s podcast will be essential listening for all those consumers who are interested in its ingredients as well as so many others who maybe take the skill required to brew their favourite beer for granted.”
The Growing Beer podcast will be available for free from iTunes (search Growing Beer) and growingbeer.co.uk, whilst updates, news and images from the project can be found on the website, on Twitter (@growingbeer), Facebook (/growingbeer) and Instagram (@growingbeer).
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For Immediate release:
For Further Information contact: Ben Richards
Tel: 07811 552214
or Kate Hempsall
Notes to Editors
Ben Richards is an accredited Beer Sommelier, well-versed in talking about the wide range of beers and flavours that can be found locally, nationally and further afield, as well as explaining the brewing process and how to match it with food. He loves the stories from beer’s past and the speed at which the industry and drinker’s tastes are expanding, as well as the ingenuity and passion that has driven brewing from a tribal activity to an industry that has fuelled empires.
This interest, allied to being a sucker for challenge and adventure, drove Ben to spend 2017 finding out if it is possible to grow a very small amount of beer from just one very small allotment.
PR & Communications Lead
There’s A Beer For That
Tel: 07534 190241