Thankfully, cask is back on the menu with the gradual reopening of pubs through beer gardens, indoor table service and the final step of attempting normal service. The lockdown wasn’t quite the opportunity for everyone across the beer industry to show off their prowess in small packaging and beer via mail, some of the more traditionally driven outfits around decided to hibernate for a while in the face of the market sag on need for cask beer.
Steve’s reasoning was quite simple:
“The guys in the brewery, Alex (Morley) and Greg (Mason) have really wanted to do some more creative brews for quite some time. We all come from a home-brewing background, so that desire and ease to just try something new has always been ticking along for us. With this venture we feel we can ‘pandemic proof’ the business somewhat and allow us to continue to brew and sell under difficult conditions. The Focus on cask has meant we shied away from keg and can, but with this brand on our side means we can avoid any potential confusion with Peerless’ output.”
When asked about taking the leap from small package 500ml glass bottles (for the more traditional market) into canned beers, Steve was again quite open to the reason for following that path:
“The market for craft beer is pretty well established now in kegs and definitely cans, so it seemed the sensible method to put small package there. Currently, the canning will be carried out by Morrow Brothers in Preston who have also been doing the 500ml bottles for Peerless for some time now. As a professional packager, they’ll provide comprehensive laboratory results to us for the ABV, dissolved Oxygen and a full suite of micro tests, so we can have more assurance on our product being treated right.”
Apparently the Free Rein brand and name came about to keep things simple, something of a case of ‘does what it says on the tin’ (no pun intended). It allows the team to play about with recipes without being constrained with the conceptions of what Peerless Brewing is all about. Peerless was started 12 years ago and at the time and Steve felt that there was a preconception from other more traditional brewing orientated marketplaces that it was a craft beer brand, but things move and evolve.
“I still personally prefer cask dispense as a go to beverage, but there is absolutely no doubt that is a massive thirst for beers that are outside the constraints of the cask beer marketplace. The fact that we will only be brewing smaller bathes for canning and to go into kegs is the main difference in this. You should be able to pick up some of the Free Rein beers in bars, pubs and bottle shops soon and they are available for both local and nationwide delivery through the website as well as direct from the brewery itself”.
You can order Free Rein beers online from here:
[ https://www.beersno42.co.uk/products/free-rein-mixed-case ]
This is also available online, from here: [ https://aloebirra.co.uk ]
One final juicy bit of information that Steve parted on was alluding to another change of rein or perhaps, reign, with his ownership of Peerless Brewing and Free Rein:
“It’s no secret that Rose (Steve’s wife – ed) and I are getting older and can’t do this forever. Both being in our sixties, we’re facing the inevitable that we’ll have to consider retirement at some point in the future. So if anybody wants to come and run or buy a profitable and well established brewery with an excellent set up, kit and a fantastic staff then they should get in touch with us!”.
Keep your eyes out for the Free Rein beers, which are landing on shelves and in fridges now!
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