During the pandemic, breweries have either been closing down due to financial and logistical difficulties or popping up, fulfilling the long-term dreams of furloughed beer enthusiasts starting their micro-breweries. In the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, Little Mesters Brewing began brewing with one simple aim - 'to brew great tasting beers accessible and enjoyable for everyone.'
As you could imagine, it was a huge challenge to get it up and running, and took the team time to establish a brand that they were happy with. But after almost two years, things are starting to look up for Little Mesters who were recently awarded Pints of Sheffield's Battle of the Beers with their 4% Session IPA - Yorkshire Mixture.
We caught up with Ben Shaw, Founding Partner at Little Mesters Brewing to find out about this new brewery in the heart of the Steel City.
Q. How did the idea come about to open your brewery?
We have worked in the industry for many years selling and marketing beer so when the opportunity came to make our own we jumped at the chance.
Q. What do you look for when you source brewing ingredients (i.e. Local varieties, particular distributors)?
We work with one main ingredients supplier who we trust to get us the best quality on the market. In terms of varieties we look at what is popular currently but also try to match the characteristics of the hops to how we want the finished beer to taste/smell.
Q. How important do you think branding/package design is for your beers?
Very – we actually started with branding before we even had a beer brewed. We’ve tried to keep our brand at the forefront of all our beers so far.
Q. How do you feel about crowdfunding investment for your brewery? Is it something you’ve either done or thought of doing?
We haven’t done so far but are very much open to the idea.
Q. How important do you think collaborations are with other breweries / businesses?
It's very important for us and we have a few in the pipeline which I cant share just yet, so watch this space.
Q. With low ABV beers gaining a bigger market share, do you intend to change your core beers to incorporate low/ No ABV beers this or will you stick with traditional brewing?
We don't have plans to change our core but we do plan to brew some lower ABV brews.
Q. Do the changes to the brewers relief fund mean that you’re going to have to change your brewing practices?
Luckily we are small enough for this to not impact us as yet.
Q. Have you ever attended any beer festivals and found this to benefit your brewery or do you think it’s better to invest your marketing spend elsewhere?
Yes and they have worked well for us so plan to do more in the future, we would also like to do our own one day.
Q. Does your brewery support any charitable causes?
We have worked with a couple of charities previously and are in the process of making a beer with all proceeds going to a local foundation. We also donate our spent grain to a local farm trust.
Q. How important do you think reviewing platforms like Untappd?
Really important as it gives much wider feedback on our beers
Q. Do you think it’s important to promote your ethos or should you keep personal beliefs and politics out of it?
I think personal beliefs/views should be kept separate, however our business ethos is to just make great beers which anyone can enjoy so we do promote that.
Q. What do you have in place to make your brewery a more diverse, and inclusive and promote equality in the brewery?
We are very small and don’t have any employees, however we are open to anyone visiting and seeing what we do.
Q. What have you got planned for the rest of 2022?
We have a new IPA about to launch celebrating the original ‘Little Mesters’ with all proceeds going to a foundation set up to promote their story and create a trail in the city to commemorate all they did for Industry in Sheffield.
What’s your Favourite Pub/bar?
Mesters Tap Room
Favourite beer you’ve brewed?
Red Un – Red IPA
Favourite beer style?
Higher ABV or lower?
Depends on mood and occasion
Favourite Hop to brew with?
Favourite snack to have with beer?
About Little Mesters Brewery
Address: 352 Meadowhead, Sheffield S8 7UJ, UK