Truman’s beer renamed as Big Penny

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Plenty of room: Big Penny says its Walthamstow beer garden is one of the largest in the capital
Plenty of room: Big Penny says its Walthamstow beer garden is one of the largest in the capital

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Truman’s beer will be known as Big Penny from 15 September following the acquisition of the trademark by the management team at the Old Truman Brewery.

Its flagship 1,400-capacity venue Truman’s Social Club in Walthamstow, east London, will become Big Penny Social, featuring what the business claims is the UK’s biggest beer hall, events space and one of London’s largest beer gardens.

Since launch in July 2020, Big Penny Social has welcomed more than 400,000 guests, sold 300,000 pints of beer each year and showcased in excess of 700 different beers from over 120 UK and worldwide breweries.

Three bars have been upgraded to feature 82 beer taps and Big Penny Lager will pour fresh from four large beer tanks. The menu focuses on seasonal and local producers, headlined by a rotating selection of beers, sourdough pizzas and Sunday roasts.

There are also alcohol-free and gluten-free beer options on tap, vegetarian and vegan food options and plenty of choices for kids.

Other sites renamed

Events include live sports to family discos and craft markets to comedy. There are also pool and ping pong tables available to play on free of charge.

Brick Lane Brews, a café bar in the Departures lounge at London City Airport, will become Big Penny Brews and is now back to 2019 trading levels. It serves the Big Penny beer range and is famous for its salt beef bagels.

The third venue in the group, The Newman Arms in Fitzrovia, London, will not be renamed given its rich history and iconic status as a beautiful traditional London pub.

The brewery in Hackney Wick was closed in June 2022 but the award-winning recipes are now brewed under contract for the three venues and online sales.

A free launch party for anyone to attend takes place on 15 September from 6pm, featuring live music, comedy, circus acts, DJs, and 50% off food.

Sale to survive

Michael-George Hemus, founder at Big Penny says: “This enormous building was meant to become our new brewery but the effect of the pandemic meant we had to sell the Truman’s name to survive and keep everyone employed.

“While we couldn’t build the brewery, we could see a growing desire among people for places to come together, enjoy a great time and connect with their loved ones and the local community. So we changed plans and created a special venue, which is a modern version of a pub, arts centre and town square wrapped into one.

“Now the rebrand is completed, we will continue in our aim to further improve and develop our retail estate, in line with our vision to create special community-focused venues, which bring people together to enjoy elevated experiences. We will look at adding another venue in the next 12 to 24 months.”

The Big Penny name draws from the heritage of the local area, where in the 1800s a nearby copper mill would mint penny tokens to be distributed across the country and close-knit communities would run charity fundraisers called ‘Penny Socials’.

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