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 First Chop - whose MCR and JAM beers feature in our Manchester Box.
We spoke to founder and entrepreneur Rik who tells us about having to borrow a brewery to start up, adapting to meet the demands of home-drinkers, and testing out new recipes with live music…
Who are you?
I’m Rik, the founder of First Chop Brewing Arm.
Tell us about First Chop.
First Chop was originally born 8 years ago out of a bar and restaurant of the same name that I established in North Manchester. Originally I borrowed use of a local micro brewery but within 6 months the demand for my beer meant we had to find our own home and First Chop Brewing Arm was born. At First Chop we try to make modern classics. We let the quality ingredients we source shine through. We all work hard, enjoy what we do and go home at the end of the day knackered with big smiles on our faces.
How have you found lockdown?
With our own canning facility it has meant that the business we may have lost with bars and restaurants closing we’ve been able to supply for more people drinking at home. This has meant everyone has stayed in a job and we all were able to carry on working through lockdown.
Personally - we are all the same as everyone else in the country. Even though we’ve been fortunate to continue working, we’ve had to adapt and this has not been easy for anyone.
Can you tell us a bit more about JAM and MCR?
We started making these about 4 years ago. JAM was made as a one-off at a gig at the original First Chop brewery (for a local reggae band). This went down so well, people kept asking for it - so we kept making it and called it JAM.
MCR - originally we made this for the Camra Greater Manchester Beer and Cider Festival. Again, that was really popular and kept making it. When we did have the original brewery tap venue and we put on gigs it did give us the chance to test the product.
Any plans for the future?
We've got limited seasonal lines next year that’s going to include 6 single hop beers and 6 fruit beers bi-monthly. Plus in the pipeline we have also got new lines; Joe, Cal and Jus.
You can keep up to date with First Chop by following them online and on social media: