The XT Brewing Company is located in Long Crendon, UK. Russ Taylor, the brew master, is answering some questions:
Nick: XT Brewing is an unusual name for a brewery. What does the XT stand for?
Russ: As far as I know there are no other breweries with a name starting X so we took the challenge to fill that gap, although X is actually a very traditional name for beers. I wanted a very simple and graphical name to make it easy for people to remember and recognise. Maybe I should offer a prize for guessing where the name comes from?
Nick: I first thought of eXtra Tasty! You started in 2011 by building a 15 barrel plant. You now have sold the first batches. How is it going?
Russ: We built the brewery in the summer of 2011 and used a British fabricator based in Burton on Trent for our new 15 barrel kit. After starting brewing in November it has been going very well, we now sell across a wide area of central England from London to Birmingham. It is a testament to the quality of our beers that several pubs now take our beers as their main brand. We have also just taken on our first new team member to help out with all the work.
Nick: Congratulations! Might be difficult to become the first brand on the tap. I have noticed the yellow house painted like your Indian Pale Ale 3 label at your website. I think it’s a great marketing idea. Who had the idea and what’s in that house?
Russ: The brand is very simple and graphical so the bold colours looked quite striking on the house design. Our core principle is to keep it simple, the labels show the style and colour of the beer, and how it fits in to the full XT range from light to dark. Simple designs with no fuss! We do all the marketing and graphics ourselves. What’s in the house?... some serious beer lovers.
Nick: That’s great. A house full of beer lovers, that’s the place to be. By the way, are you attending the Great British beer festival this year? Will your beers be available there?
Russ: We have submitted our beers to be at the GBBF and would love to have them available this year. We have been attending ourselves for many years, so will certainly be going in 2012 to sample as many beers as possible.
Nick: Hope they are available. For me it’s the first time this year to attend. I still haven’t booked the flights and hotel though. Perhaps it’s now a good time to do. But still, even if I can’t get my nose onto some of your beers I still can buy bottles. Do you do bottling on your own?
Russ: We have done small scale bottling, we want to step that up to larger volumes in the near future. Getting the quality just right is something that is very important to us, so we will take it in gradual steps as we increase volumes.
Nick: Quality before Quantity! I like that. It’s certainly something very important in the beginning. What’s your tip for new starting breweries?
Russ: Be prepared for hard work. Get to know your customers personally; beer is social and unpretentious so sell it like that, person to person. We have worked at building good relations with our customers, meeting face to face, running open days and meet the brewer events. I think to be a successful craft brewer you need to really know what your customers want, never assume you know better than they do.
Nick: How did you hear about Lautering.net? What do you like and what could we do better?
Russ: I am very interested in beer, and your website was an obvious place to look. It was even better when we hit the top spot in your ‘Top 100 Breweries’ (Nick: only available for registered users). What would make it better… a review of some XT beer!
Nick: Reviews?! No Problem – just send me the beers! What are your plans for the future?
Russ: We will gradually broaden the range of beers we produce and hopefully push the boundaries a little. A beer led pub selling a wide range of interesting brews is certainly something we are considering for the future. There is a growing interest in craft beer and we very much want to be a part of that.
Nick: Good luck with your business. Hope to meet you at the Great British Beer Festival and enjoy some beers.