2021: A Year In Highlights
In light of us being named The Brewer's Journal 2021 Brewery of the Year this month, we take a look back on a busy, challenging, incredibly rewarding year...
Thank you, everyone, for your support!
Pictured above: before and after our brewery relocation. The warehouse, 2020 (left) and the new brewery 2021 (right)
What a year, eh? There’s been a great deal of change: moving our brewhouse, setting our roots firmly in Hackney, opening a new Taproom, while continuing to brew, sell and send our beer across London, the UK and beyond. We take a look at each month of 2021 to reflect upon some of our best memories and favourite achievements.
January | First Brew At The New Brewhouse
In late 2020, we took the opportunity to take on a long-term lease of our existing warehouse premises on Mare Street. This was a chance to create a Five Points HQ, here in the heart of Hackney – and launch our first on-site brewery taproom.
We had systematically relocated our entire brewhouse – just a mile down the road from the two railway arches underneath Hackney Downs station we had called home since 2013. We moved everything: giant fermentation tanks, brewhouse, bottling line, the beer-filled wooden barrels that make up our ageing project…
On 21st January 2021, we brewed our first brew on Mare Street: a batch of Five Points XPA.
February | We Dreamt Of The Pub… And Raised Money For Our Charity Partners
The ongoing hospitality lockdown in February this year had us especially missing one of our favourite places in the world… the pub! Luckily, we were able to share some beautiful photography in an Ode to the Pub photoessay, shot by Cal Holland, to remind us of some of the UK’s most lovely pubs, including our fantastic sister pub, Whitelock’s in Leeds.
During this winter lockdown period, we were able to satisfy our thirsty customers through our webstore – and delivered over 2,000 orders to households across London and the UK. For every order placed on the webshop, we donate £1 to our charity partners, Mind in the City, Hackney & Waltham Forest, and Hackney Foodbank. Your lockdown bevs helped to raise £2,000 for charities, as well as keep you slightly more entertained during those long winter months.
March | Celebrating Cask Beer!
With pubs still closed, we were also sorely missing the experience of a lovely pint of cask ale, enjoyed properly in the pub. Turns out, Jonny and Brad from the Craft Beer Channel felt the same, so we teamed up for the Cask Festival Broadcast.
Together we hosted a live-stream cask beer festival with tastings, brewday segments, and a panel discussion featuring beer journalist and author Pete Brown, Christian Townsley, founder of North Brewing Co, and Georgina Young, Brewing Director at St Austell.
A huge cheers and shout out to the Craft Beer Channel (and its thousands of viewers who watched our videos!), for providing us with so much great content, especially all the videos that entertained us since the pandemic began.
April | Crowdfunding 2.0.
In spring, we returned to our community to help us complete the relocation project of our brewhouse, and invest in our new Taproom. We were humbled and delighted by the continued belief in our company: we passed our initial investment target and closed the campaign on £924,814 of investment raised.
Thank you, as always, to our community of investors. Without your support, our brewery relocation and new Taproom would not have been possible.
May | A New Core Beer, And The Pembury Tavern Reopened
Our customers (and brewers) had been calling for a second lager in the range, and we heard you! In May, we launched a new core range beer: an easy-drinking, flavoursome Lager celebrating British ingredients – brewed with Simpson’s finest lager malt and Goldings from Hukins Hops in Kent. Since then, we’ve brewed over 100,000 pints of Lager – safe to say it’s been going down well.
May also marked the reopening of hospitality, including our lovely Hackney pub, The Pembury Tavern, for the first time in months. It was fantastic to get back to serving our customers, and thank you to all that supported us during those winter months via takeaways.
June | “It” Didn’t Come Home, But The Outdoor Taproom Was Buzzing
While the England men’s football team didn’t bring “it” home, we still had an amazing time in the outdoor Taproom yard over the summer.
Investing in a large, outdoor (and Covid-safe) area for Five Points pints when the weather permits has been a big part of the restructuring plan at the Mare Street site. Coming 2022, we will have fully finished our permanent outdoors bar and yard set-up.
See you there come spring (and, dare we say it, a World Cup Final rematch?)
July | The Brewers Editions: Olicana & Harlequin Pale
The first Brewers’ Edition beer, a series designed to allow the brewteam to flex their creative muscles, came from our Production Brewer, Matt Johnson. A 4.8% Pale Ale hopped with Olicana and Harlequin, two modern English hops created by Charles Faram, which won ‘Best New Variety’ and Gold at the 2019 National Hop Awards.
The result? It went down a storm! Bold pineapple, peach and passion fruit aromas, – and in fact one of our favourite beers of the year. Well done, Matt.
August | Social Occasions Were Back!
It came flooding back… the joy of large scale events, social gatherings, and festival season! August saw us attend BrewLDN, and take on a London Craft Beer Festival vault space at Tobacco Dock.
The Five Points team took a trip to Leeds, visiting our sister pub Whitelock’s Ale House, Hop City Beer Festival, and a few lovely brewery pals along the way. It was great to be back.
September | Two Green Hop Brews, Three Festivals
The autumn months are those of the hop harvest, when hops are picked, then dried to be used in brews throughout the year. Once a year it becomes possible to brew with fresh, “green hops”: bursting with aroma and character.
This year, as usual, we used Hukins Hops’ fantastic Bullion hops (unusual in their distinctive, delicious blackcurrant flavours) and their UK Cascade variety – which we also bottled for the very first time in 2021.
And secondly for September, our London Brewers Market assembled ten fellow breweries to pour beer at South London’s Brockwell Park’s big festival weekend: Cross the Tracks, the Mighty Hoopla and Wide Awake. Serving thousands of festival goers, across a fantastic weekend of live music… What a treat.
October | Our First Time To Host
The first collaboration beer was brewed at the new site in October! “Good Point, Well Made” was brewed with North Yorkshire’s Turning Point Brewing Co, and is a dark Ruby Mild in keg and cask.
November | The Five Points Taproom Opens!
Two crucial words: tank-beer.
It was important for us to celebrate how an on-site Taproom would allow us to serve the freshest possible Five Points beer… Six stainless steel tanks, filled directly from production tanks in the brewhouse, a few metres away, poured into a pint glass, and then enjoyed by our customers.
Our new taproom pours a rotating selection of Five Points beers and guests, two cask lines, a mezzanine gallery overlooking the brewery, a delicious pizza menu from ACE Pizza (the dough-slingers you’ll know from our pub The Pembury Tavern) and weekly Saturday brewery tours. We are open Thursday to Saturday every week (and will be back early January, 2022)
December | Brewery of the Year!
And here we are… the end of 2021 is in sight. We are delighted to have been named The Brewers Journal 2021 Brewery of the Year: recognition for what has been a year of change, adaptation and incredible hard work from all of our team.
Thank you to all of Team Five Points, our customers, investors, friends, colleagues, suppliers and associates for making it all happen.
2022… is likely to be challenging for all of us, especially our hospitality venues in its early months. Support your local breweries and independent local businesses where you can. And always reach out, the virtual distance between us is never as far as it might feel.
Love, Team Five Points