The brewery, named as the second best in the world in the 2018 RateBeer awards, intends to use the site as a retail arm, distribution centre and training centre, as well as to showcase its beers to the capital’s beer drinkers.
Founder and managing director Paul Jones told The Morning Advertiser the brewery saw the venue as a taproom, rather than a bar due to the “freshness of product” it would be stocking.
“The point of the taproom is to get extremely fresh Cloudwater beer in London at all times,” he said. We are talking less than 24 hours from packaging in Manchester for sale in London.
“That is a feature that can only be in brewery taprooms as far as I am concerned. Bars are not able to offer that freshness of product time and time again.”
Autumn opening planned
The venue will be based at 73 Enid Street, Bermondsey and the brewery hopes to have the site open to the public by autumn 2018.
Jones added that the venue would look like “something between” a bar and a taproom in terms of its aesthetic, and suggested there would be “up to 15 taps” of Cloudwater beer for sale, as well as cans and bottles to take away.
“I really like the stripped-back aethestic of the taprooms that exist in the UK right now, but our peers at Magic Rock, Wylam, Buxton, Hawkeshead, Northern Monk, etc, have all set the bar really high,” he said. “I'd like to do something that is approachable but comfortable, and I think there are a few ways we can improve the comfort of our customers beyond what is the norm right now.
“I don't know about the number of taps just yet, but I imagine we'd like to have enough to put everything on that we have packaged in the previous fortnight. That could be up to 10 beers when we are hitting our stride later in the year.
“Then we'll be looking to put some products that age a bit more gracefully such as our malt and yeast-forward beers, and we'll always want to have one of our helles lagers on the bar. We might get up to 12 to 15 taps.”
London move ruled out
However, the brewery’s MD insisted he would never seek to move the brewery from Manchester to London.
“I love London, but my wife has a job that she is very good at and is very settled in up here,” he said. “We also now have a staff of 23 employees, and there's no way I'd propose to move all those staff, and I certainly wouldn't want to lose any of them right now.
“Plus, I am particularly proud of the fact that the second best brewery in the world is in the north of the UK. That is a huge boost for the industry outside of its biggest markets.”
Cloudwater is not the first non-London brewer to open a site in the capital. Earlier this year, Bristol’s Moor Beer Company opened a taproom and barrel-ageing site in Bermondsey, south London, while Leeds’ Northern Monk has announced it hopes to build a brewpub in the city after smashing its £500,000 crowdfunding target last month.
Speaking about the decision to open in London, Jones said: “It's the biggest marketplace in the UK and it is our biggest market in the UK, so you put those things together and we'd be foolish not to be there.
“I haven't done an event in the past two years where I haven't been asked that question, and we get asked it online very regularly. It is clear that we can do a better job of getting our beer to our customers and let them come and drink it fresh.
“By not having the fullest range possible in London we are not doing a good enough service to the amount of people who live in or pass through and visit London and want to come and check us out.”