Goose Island to open brewpub in London

By James Beeson contact

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Ambition: Goose Island Founder John Hall said Shoreditch was the perfect location for the venture
Ambition: Goose Island Founder John Hall said Shoreditch was the perfect location for the venture
Chicago brewery Goose Island is to open its first UK brewpub in East London, The Morning Advertiser can reveal.

The Goose Brew House will officially open in late Summer 2018 in Shoreditch, East London, and will have its own dedicated brewer producing small batch Goose Island beers exclusively for the venue.

The Chicago-based brewery, which was bought by global drinks giant AB InBev in 2011, has been eyeing a venue in the UK for some time. At Craft Beer Rising Festival in February, the brewery’s European brand ambassador Josh Smith told MA​ that he would “love” to open a brewpub in the capital.

The London brewpub will be Goose Island’s sixth internationally, and its second venue in the UK. The brewery previously opened The Vintage Ale House in Balham (since rebranded as The Goose Tap House) in 2016.

Goose Island founder John Hall admitted that the brewery had “been ahead of ourselves a little bit” in opening the Vintage Ale house, and insisted that Shoreditch was “where we should have been in the first place”.

Ideal location

“We opened the Vintage Ale house in Balham a year and a half ago, and it wasn't exactly the place I would have picked, and I told them that,” he said. “But we opened it, and I think we may have been ahead of ourselves a little bit.

“[When it comes to] Vintage ales and our Sour Sisters, London, isn't the place to start doing stuff like that. That has to start smaller. So what we are doing in Shoreditch makes all the sense in the world. That is where we should have been in the first place.”

On what made Shoreditch such an attractive location for the brewpub, Hall added: “Shoreditch is where you want to be. Our whole concept at Goose Island is that we are an urban brewery. We take great pride in our urban environment and everything that is going on in the city, and Shoreditch represents that here in London as much as anywhere.”

The brewpub will operate at a very limited capacity, with nearly all of its output supplying the venue itself. Goose Island’s core range of beers will also be available, but the focus will be on the beer brewed on-site.

“It's not about capacity; it is about experience,” Hall said.  “We have opened brew houses in other places and they vary in size, but the idea is to give the consumer the experience of making beer, and the experience of what Goose Island is about.

“We'll have the IPAs and the 312 and our Pils. but the real excitement is brewing new beers locally with a brewer. We make our recipes available on a smaller system, but that is the last thing we want. If you hire a chef, are you going to tell the chef what to make? No. You're going to give them guidelines and ask them to take what they understand about brewing and what we are about and get them to make the beers.”

Local angle

Hall continued: “In Shanghai, and a couple of the other brewpubs we have opened, the most popular beers are the beers that are brewed right there and fit with the locale. You can get our core beers anywhere; what you want to do is come to the brew house and experience the Goose Island idea of brewing.”

The brewpub is also looking to hire a UK brewmaster for the London venue and to be the 'face' of Goose Island in the country. 

On the subject of further Goose Island brewpubs, Hall suggested Amsterdam as a possible future location, but ruled out further sites in the UK. 

“Making beer is probably the best job in the world,” he said. “The only thing that compares to it is drinking beer. Making beer at this time in history is probably the best time in history to be doing it.

“The pubs and breweries in London are what inspired me to create Goose Island, so the thought of coming back here is unbelievably exciting. Did I ever think I’d be selling beer anywhere other than Chicago? I couldn’t even dream that big”

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