Good Beer Hunting

The Grass is Always Greener — Pressure Drop & Verdant to Launch New London Taproom


North London’s Pressure Drop Brewery is joining forces with Cornwall’s Verdant Brewing Company to launch a collaborative London bar. They're calling it The Experiment, and it will be a new taproom and retail space located in Pressure Drops' former site on Bohemia Place in the center of Hackney, East London. It’s set to open on Friday, July 6.

Pressure Drop established its Hackney Brewery in 2012, before expanding to a new site in Tottenham, North London on the same estate as Beavertown in 2017. Verdant began brewing in 2014, establishing their production facility in Falmouth, Cornwall in 2016. They are currently the number one rated UK brewery on beer app Untappd.

London’s craft beer scene is set to experience its next exponential stage of growth over the next few months, as breweries from both within the city itself and from further afield look to tap into the retail channel there. The last few months has already seen Bristol’s Moor Brewing open a retail and self-distribution space under the railway arches in beer hotspot Bermondsey. They’re due to be joined by the end of the summer by Manchester’s Cloudwater, which is opening two arches down from Moor, directly in between them and Brew By Numbers.

Leed’s-based Northern Monk has expressed its desire to open a brewpub in the British capital after successfully raising £1.5 million ($2M) in a recent sale of equity in the business via crowdfunding. The brewpub model has also been tapped into by Scottish brewing giant BrewDog, who opened their new 8,500-square-foot Tower Hill site—complete with 10hl (8.5-BBL) brewery and sour beer facility—in May 2018.

“Opening a London venue has always been on our radar. We know that selling our beer as fresh as can be in a great venue can only be a win for both us and the drinkers,” Verdant co-founder Adam Robertson tells GBH. “When Graham [O’Brien] mentioned the former home of Pressure Drop on Bohemia Place, we knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed.”

The two breweries collaborated on a New England-style Pale Ale called The Experiment Requires That You Continue as recently as April 2018. It was at this point when Robertson expressed to Pressure Drop co-founder Graham O’Brien his desire to open a London site. With Pressure Drop still figuring out what to do with its former space, the next stage of the collaboration between the two breweries quickly fell into place.

The Experiment will feature 10 taps, serving beers from both breweries, as well as playing host to special can and bottle launches with beer available to drink in or take away. The breweries will also continue to collaborate on more beers using the on-site 5-BBL brewhouse.

“It’s a fascinating time for beer in the UK and we think that small independent breweries like ours will be stronger working together,” O’Brien tells GBH. “Verdant are making some of the best beer in the country, so we’re excited to be involved with them bringing it up to London as fresh as possible. Who wouldn’t want deliveries of Verdant juice arriving every week?”

With London now home to 112 breweries and still rising, as well as an ever-increasing amount of taprooms, brewpubs, bars, and bottle shops, it's not unreasonable to think that things are getting a little crowded. Other London breweries have also expressed a desire to move into retail, too, with South London’s Mondo Brewing talking about potentially opening its first bar on a recent GBH podcast.

But with a population of almost nine million and an increasing number of Londoners turning to craft beer, it also feels as though there's still plenty of room for growth on both the production and retail sides of the brewing industry. It seems conceivable that the bubble shows no signs of bursting in the foreseeable future. In fact, Verdant and Pressure Drop are counting on it.

—Matthew Curtis