Today we are continuing our promotion of local, North East breweries as we chatted with David Dodd of Three Brothers Brewing Company, a new micro-brewery based in Stockton-on-Tees.
Meet Three Brothers Brewing
Give us a little history on the brewery, How did you first get into beer brewing?
Kit graduated in chemical engineering, fancying something a bit different, he got a job in a 5 barrel Microbrewery and quickly became the brewer. He developed a quick passion for brewing and gained a reputation in the North East amongst brewers. Six and a half years later, he decided to go it alone and create a new, alternative brewery near his home town of Eaglescliffe. Kit, supported by his brother David and brother-in-law Chris bought a 10 barrel plant and a 1.5 Barrel pilot plant and set to work building a brewery in an old car showroom. Coming from a family of engineers and skilled tradespeople, the brewery was designed/built/welded/wired from scratch to maximise efficiency and quality for a much smaller cost. We embrace the latest technologies and control systems, making in-house online databases and phone apps to manage many aspects of delivery and production to give even higher quality products and service than normally expected of microbreweries our size.
Kit started Three Brothers as a one man band with David and Chris helping on days off and weekends. This quickly expanded to meet growing demand and now we have 3 full time and 2 part time staff with extra support from friends and family. After 10 months, we bought 2 x 13 bbl fermenters then designed and fitted extensions to the brewing equipment, doubling potential weekly output to meet ever growing demand. We also bought some pressure vessels and have launched a fully conditioned Pilsner taking 7-8 weeks from brew to keg for a beautiful quality finish.
How would you describe your beers? Are you influenced by a particular style of beer or brewery?
We try to brew something for all people and have developed a core range of beers covering beginning light ale drinkers to traditional bitter drinker and produce a powerful American hopped IPA for the hop heads out there. To step out a bit further we launched our monthly specials like our Maple syrup blonde for pancake day and a gingerbread milk stout for Christmas. Then we launched a limited edition range called the Experimentals, trialling alternative blends and recipes eg raspberry wheat beer, smoked bourbon porter or a peanut butter milk stout.
What makes you unique to other breweries?
The market is tough with a lot of great breweries in the north east producing great beers. However, we continually strive for better beers, flavours and systems, so we never stop innovating. The experimental range pushes our understanding, using obscure hops and ingredients on our pilot plant and what we have learnt has been transferred into our core brews to further improve them. Our fermenters and HLTs are monitored and controlled from our phones using in house apps, regulating temperatures to within 0.1 degree to ensure consistency of our beers. We have built our own automated washing and regulating machinery, saving days of manual labour (current estimate is 28 working hrs/ week). Our home built online system monitors all of our casks through the brewery and all over the country, mapping routes and collections and deliveries in the most efficient ways and maximising service. We have even been approached about building and selling equipment to a number of micro breweries which we are reviewing. We are also moving into events and festivals and have the equipment and skills to provide full package services.
I think what makes us truly unique is that the market is changing every year and we have the passion and skills to adapt faster and to innovate into new territories on a national level.
What has been your biggest challenge and biggest accomplishment since you opened?
That’s a tough call as walking inside the brewery there are only 5 things we can point at that have been outsourced. Probably the biggest was when our brew kit installer liquidated before installation, at this point all other areas of the brewery were built. We had no choice, so we worked together and managed to design, build and install our own 10 bbl kit in 3 weeks and the final product was even better than the original we ordered. While this was tough at the time, we have since been approached to quote for brewery installation/ tank design and are seriously looking into moving into this field in the coming years.
What is next for the brewery?
Good question! We have a lot of different options and ideas on the quiet, so watch this space and its very exciting. Something being released next month is the first of our keg range to supply the growing number of micropubs and draught houses around the country.
How do you see the beer scene changing in the North East and the UK as a whole in the coming years?
It’s an interesting one, It seems the Citra bubble hasn’t popped yet and american hops are bringing new aspects to the UK. Also the experimental range has been received so well that a number of other breweries are dabbling with the idea as people will always love new. However, Teesside has always been a traditional area, there is a strong desire for good quality flavoursome traditional beers and I don’t see that changing for a number of years.
Where can consumers currently find your beer? Where do you expect/hope them to find your beer a year from now?
That’s very difficult to answer as this changes week on week as we have a large customer database and growing repeat custom. Our strength has always been Teesside with regular customers in Middlesbrough, Stockton and Darlington but have a growing recognition in great venues in Leeds, Newcastle and York. We are also doing our first run to Manchester next week then 2 weeks later Nottingham and Edinburgh so we are getting out there. A year from now, I would hope to be the same area with the personal service we provide but with more vans and customers.
Other than your own what is your favourite beer and brewery right now?
Good question we are all very different in our flavour profiles and it took a while to get down peoples favourite few so here’s a list
Magic Rock, Vocation Brewery Anarchy, Revolution, Abbeydale etc (its a pretty big list).
As always we would like to thank David for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. If you have enjoyed the interview then please help us spread the word about this brewery by sharing the post on Facebook or Twitter.
You can also visit their LoveNE directory page for more information or to leave a review.