The UK brewing market is getting pretty crowded. It’s now home to more than 2,000 breweries, including nearly 110 in London alone, all crammed onto an island that’s roughly the size of Michigan. And when you consider the divide between modern and traditional breweries, constant debates over cask, keg, and the price of beer (to mention only a few of the oft-discussed topics), its no wonder conversations about British beer can maybe get a little…tetchy…these days.
Despite it all, the UK’s most forward-thinking breweries, be they young or old, are still finding ways to thrive and expand. It’s almost as if all of this competition has become a driving force for the most eager and entrepreneurial beer makers out there.
When U.S. expats Tom Palmer and Todd Matteson founded Mondo Brewing Company three years ago just a stone’s throw away from London’s iconic Battersea Power Station, it became London’s 81st brewery. Although they’ve dabbled with distributing throughout the capital and into some of the UK’s more buoyant beer markets such as Bristol or Manchester, their local market of South London is where they’ve really thrived.
Through pubs and bars in boroughs such as Brixton and Clapham, as well as their own brewery taproom, they’ve quietly built up a reputation for producing a solid range of beers. They might not be as talked about as, say, Cloudwater or Beavertown, but having just undergone an expansion that will see Mondo increase capacity by 80%, and with plans to open their first London bar in 2018, this is certainly one London brewery that’s riding an ascending curve.
The trick for smaller breweries like Mondo, of course, is to find the right balance between own-premise sales and through key accounts. For Palmer and Matteson, it’s all about building strong, personal relationships. An example of this is the relationship Mondo has with restaurant chain Dishoom, for whom Mondo brews the house beer. Keeping up with these relationships, while ensuring steady turnover at its own sites, will be key for this London brewery’s success in the long term.
We talk about all that and more today. Listen in.