Thornbridge Brewery / by Oliver Bainbridge

Every now and then I get the opportunity to buy some beer from Thornbridge brewery, this brewery is one of the most highly respected brewers in the country.  They have won literally hundreds of awards for their beers, in cask, keg and bottle.  Their beers are modern and perfectly made, their marketing is superb and I might add available while stocks last at the Grapevine this week.  Their brewing ethos is summed up by their strap line on all their merchandise "Innovation, Passion, Knowledge".  Check out their website below.

The reason for bringing this up is it got me to thinking about beer pricing and how this is impacting on the industry.  There seems to be a splitting going on in the brewing industry at the moment and it is best described like this.  We seem to have brewers like Butcombe, Exmoor ales, Cotleigh, Hunters, Otter and many many others all over the country who are producing some excellent ales.  Mainly of the traditional styles, a best bitter, a golden ale, a strong dark, an easy drinking session ale and a myriad of seasonal beers.  Still using great quality ingredients and genuine brewing excellence but on the other hand quite formulaic and all priced in exactly the same way within a few pounds of each other.  Then we have brewers like Moor, Thornbridge, Ilkley brewing and many from London like Camden Town brewery who are making beers that are so extraordinary that they are becoming as different from the traditional brewers as to be almost in a different industry.  10% porters, IPA's, Russian stouts, Dunkels and Weiss beers of all sorts to name but a few.  Beers with fruit, beers with chocolate and coffee are becoming normal now and beers with numerous hops and malt varieties sometimes 6 or 7 in a single brew.  For me one of the symbols of this is Thornbridge's "Jaipur IPA" a massive hoppy IPA of 5.9% that for me is one of the best beers being brewed.  I am not the only one who thinks this as it is one of the most awarded beers in British brewing.  As a result it comes in at a massive price one of the most expensive beers I sell and will be on the bar for £3.80 per pint, a price alien to the ale market of the flat cap and whippet!!  This brings me full circle and is the point of this article.  The last time I sold Jaipur IPA it sold out in about 2 hours.  The whole barrel gone in 2 hours at £3.80 a pint.  Put simply the real ale market has I hope finally realised that the quality of the product is the most important factor in its price and we should be proud of our great brewing industry that has enabled such a great rise to fame and artisanry.  It is about time that we can sell an amazing beer like Jaipur IPA at the same price as a "premium lager"  Great news indeed.