As part of our regular Meet The Brewer Sessions, we catch up with the creators of some of our favourite beers.
This week, we find out more about Ardwick based brewery Alphabet - whose Charlie Don’t Surf and A to the K to feature in our Manchester Box.
We spoke to Strategy Manager Al who tells us about using the time lockdown provides to experiment and innovate, drawing inspiration from Pop Culture, and the beer that drinks too well…
Who are you?
I’m Al, I’m the Strategy Manager at Alphabet, which encompasses everything from the commercial and business development of the company, to branding and marketing, to working on recipe design with the brew team.
I joined Alphabet in early March 2018, and in that time I feel like I’ve done every job in the company; I started my existing role at the start of Lockdown 1.
Tell us about Alphabet.
Alphabet launched in 2014 in Ardwick, a few minutes from central Manchester. We combine a core range of sessionable hop-forward and fruit-led beers with an array of specials that cover everything from traditional beer styles, modern NEIPAs, and some pretty wacky adjunct beers too.
How have you found lockdown? Both personally and as a business?
It’s been pretty rubbish, hasn’t it? I spent three months working from home alone and doing everything over video calls. Once we came out of Lockdown 1, I immediately moved to central Manchester and within walking distance of the brewery, which has made things immeasurably nicer.
As a business, it’s been chaotic. We had to change our business model overnight, and then again, and again, and again. We have, however, been able to use this as a time to experiment and innovate to ensure we’ve stayed competitive. We’ve brewed more special releases this year than any previous year to keep our range fresh, which has been really fulfilling but challenging nonetheless.
Can you tell us a bit more about A to the K and Charlie Don’t Surf?
Both beers have been brewed since the brewery started production six years ago; tweaks have been made along the way but the soul of the beers have remained the same.
A To The K is our 5.6% American Pale Ale, and was the first beer brewed by Alphabet. It was originally branded as an Oatmeal Pale Ale at a time when less oats were being used in hoppy beers, but it’s standard practise now (plus to me it sounds like we were brewing porridge!). It’s dry-hopped with primarily Mosaic hops, providing a big tropical punch. It’s the favourite core beer of almost all of the team.
Charlie Don’t Surf is our 4% Session IPA, brewed with Citra and Simcoe hops, and we must have brewed it over 100 times so far. It’s fruity and citrusy and drinks almost too well. The name is a reference to both The Clash and Apocalypse Now; we really enjoy drawing from pop culture when it comes to branding our beer.
Any plans for the future?
Everything is so up in the air, it’s really quite hard to plan for the future. We had a lot of plans for 2020 that we’ve had to put on the backburner due to the pandemic - at the start of the year we were looking into starting cask production but that seems unlikely to happen even next year now. We have a few ideas of what 2021 might have in store for us, but we’ll have to keep you guessing a bit longer!
You can keep up to date with Alphabet by following them online and on social media: