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Allkin – Rising Like A Phoenix From The Mash
One of the most shocking stories that hit the craft beer community last year was the terrible news that Good Things Brewery had completely burnt down. Anyone’s worst nightmare, be that your home or your business. A truly shocking turn of events that on top of Covid would have most people thinking about a serious career change or crawling under a rock. Not so much Chris Drummond founder of the all new Allkin Brewery – the renamed and re-imagined version of Good Things.
Allkin – meaning All-Kin, or ‘of all kinds’ represents the inclusivity and positivity in this project as Chris an ex-sustainable engineer sets about building and improving on the past model. They aim to produce the best beer that they possibly can with the smallest footprint from a community-owned business. They were in fact voted best Green Brewery back in 2019 so they aren’t jumping on any ‘plant a tree’ bandwagon here.
As we help them launch back into the market with their first brews we chatted to Chris about the journey and the help that they have received that has got them here so far.
Let’s start with the painful and obvious – what happened with the fire?
So it turns out we are very close to the highest point of East Sussex, whilst we reside on its border with Kent. We then backed up this fun fact by sticking a stainless steel flue straight off our copper out of the 17th century (very dry oak) barn roof of our once brewery home to try and match that highest point. Although the route has not been proven 100%, all we know is that lightning struck the barn on the 25th of July 2021 finding its way rapidly to our 200amp, 415v mains control panel. The lightning did not burn down the barn though. The lightning sent so much voltage through our control panel that it in turn sent electrical sparks flying, dislodging the incoming main and then a white spark frenzy prevented any fire service from ever getting near to the barn or being able to prevent it from burning to the ground.
Where were you up to in terms of future plans before the fire happened?
We felt like we were on the right track, growing year on year and on the cusp of pushing to a brand new brew kit to take our beer to the next level. We had worked incredibly hard since we founded in June 2017 but like many companies, we had hit turbulence after turbulence along our journey and can’t say that it was all a walk in the park.
However, I would say that we all felt that we were gaining confidence and had the experience we needed to push our brand to that next step.
What were the immediate problems and solutions that you came up with in the face of this adversity?
I had a bee in my bonnet about making sure that I did everything I could to keep every member of staff (as long as they wished to stay) employed. I wanted to make sure that the catastrophe was isolated, and that they did not have to suffer from something they had no control over. This in itself was a mind blowing, anxiety driving, unbelievably stressful experience.
We had business interruption insurance but low and behold it turns out that insurance companies like to keep that payout above all payouts under lock and key.
I fought for an entire year of sleepless nights fighting for the very service we paid for. I borrowed an obscene amount of money (130k) in my own name to keep my team employed but it took a lot of legal advice and then media-based bribery to get what was due.
Who were the Knights in shining armour that came to your collab rescue?
Verdant, Deya, North, Howling Hops, Northern Monk, Marble, Overtone, Glasshouse, Thornbridge, Beak… wow writing those out was pretty epic in itself.
It’s worth noting here the individual generosity that each of the collab breweries showed in helping the Allkin name to be (re)born over the last few months. Aside from making beers, there was other support in kind that saw the craft beer community galvanize over such tragic events. Check out the Allkin crowd fund deck for further info.
What are the next steps and plans?
After such devastation the three now directors, myself Chris, Luke and Charlie have been constantly seeking out all the silver linings. Turns out there are so many and they just keep on coming. There are not many opportunities I hear about where you get to stop your everyday job and then have 18 months to plan with your entire team. We will be bringing a brewery to life that surpasses everything we had before, pushing quality control through the roof, and putting together a kit that is more efficient, more sustainable and capable of making truly great beer. We will create a site that is very safe for anyone that works here or visits, we will create more awareness for our ongoing mission to push sustainability in the industry and we will bring to life a more solid business model that is more suitable for the times we find ourselves in now.
What will be the beer style focus for the new releases?
The new brew kit is being built around super accessible highly hopped pales; we will continue to push out as many styles that we are happy with their development in house. We have always tried different styles and cannot see that changing when we are back up and running. We like to experiment, but we also like to stay true to style as far as we possibly can.
When are the new beers planned to be released?
First up is aptly named ‘Thirst of Many’, a 4.5% easy drinking tropical pale.
What Collabs lined up next / special projects?
Track is next up, but the beer style has not been decided on just yet. For us this next 4 months will see the team going all-in on bringing the new brewery back to life. We have changed so much on the farm with the brew house and barn only being part of the bigger picture. We will know soon with local planning just how much we get to do, but if we pull off everything we want, we are going to get the opportunity to create something really special here in Eridge.
Part of those plans featured in your crowd fund deck include opening Taprooms? How many are you looking at opening?
6, let’s say 6, for now. Based in and around our end of the country to really showcase what we do, our beers, our way of reducing energy and how we love collaborating with like-minded souls (brewing, food and anyone that aligns)
Advice for anyone facing a problem of that magnitude?
Share your journey with as many people as you possibly can. There are so many like-minded awesome humans out there that want to help you that you will be overwhelmed. If you are lucky enough to have a team that you can bring along by your side then don’t ever underestimate what they are also capable of.
I truly believe out of every hard moment in your life where you hit a pretty low that knocks you for six, after comes an incredible journey. You know where you don’t want to be, how you don’t want to feel, whom you do not want to surround yourself with and who you do. Opportunities come up like no other after facing adversity so revel in the knowledge that you know they are coming and then go hunt them down everyday.
We wish Chris and the team all the very best for the future and look forward to helping them on their journey to success! For more info on their crowd fund head here and if you’d like to order Allkin beer click here