In October 2014 we had the great opportunity to meet Alex Buchanan in Paris at the occasion of a special event dedicated to Thornbridge brewery organised at l’Express de Lyon . Alex is Thornbridge brewery’s Marketing Manager : one of the best craft beer producer in the UK located in Bakewell, Derbyshire. He told us about the craft beer revolution, the beers he likes and about Thornbridge history. Thornbridge Brewery received also this year the BBC Food and Farming award of the “Best drinks producer”
Top of the Hops- What brings you to the beer world? (why did you decide to create your own brewery?)
Alex Buchanan: Love of beer I guess and the opportunity – Jim Harrison and Simon Webster who started Thornbridge brewery at the Hall in 2005 were always adamant that we would be brewer led from the beginning and that we would make the styles of beers we wanted to drink. Although based in the UK we have employed many brewers from across the world that have influenced what and how we brew. Our ethos is encapsulated in Innovation Passion and Knowledge and I think the success of our beers has been a combination of all three.
What is your opinion in regard with the craft beer movement expansion in Europe and globally? Is that only a trend?
Certainly not a trend – who wants to go back to a world of bland beer! In the UK we have always had some great beers available and although the industry was not in great shape 30 years ago good beers were still being made eg Fullers ESB unlike say in the US. However the influence of the US breweries on Thornbridge and the craft beer movement has been great and we fully acknowledge that. But each brewery should give a distinct stance to what they do and I think we do so at Thornbridge with the variety and consistency of the beers we produce. This seems also to be what drinkers are looking for and I am confident they will continue to do so and be more demanding about what they drink and the quality.
For our readers who are not necessarily experts, what beer would you recommend to make them fall in love with craft beer?
As I mentioned certainly the beers from the U.S. such as those produced by Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn where amongst the first that I tried and had an impact. . But each person will have their own starting point and own tastes and will find a beer that can satisfy them. I would encourage someone new to beer to read more about it and the different styles – a little education can go a long way to dispelling myths about beer and opening up a new world of tastes and flavours – and if you don’t like it move on its only a beer!
Do you have some recollection of the first craft beer which has changed the way you enjoy beer?
Certainly Sierra Nevada Pale ale was a revelation and more recently I have enjoyed beer from Deschutes brewery.