Since we opened The Vine last year, it has been imperative to us that we partner up with local brands wherever possible and we have been fortunate to work with some of the very best suppliers that Cornwall has to offer. Here we highlight Verdant Brewery, our primary beer serve (and producers of one of the best pale ales we have ever tasted!) at The Vine and explore their story on they have become the brand they are today.
How was Verdant born?
Verdant was born from a love of beer. Beer that James and Adam hadn’t experienced previously before travelling to Australia and America respectively. James had travelled through the Hop regions of Australia and New Zealand and Adam had been working in and visiting the bars and breweries of New York City.
Both experiences brought us home to dabble in homebrewing. Adam started to attempt to mimic the heavily hopped beers he had discovered in NYC and James was fascinated by the flavours of the Southern Hemisphere. We were unaware of each other's endeavours into brewing until we got chatting on the football pitch and it was at that point we decided to try a brew together.
After some successful and some not so successful brews we decided that we needed to invest in some equipment. We both put what we could into the project and rented a shipping container. We brewed once a week into one of our three fermenters and dived head first into the world of hops. Brewing a very similar beer each week but with different single hop varieties or a combination of various hops. We then bottled these beers one night a week and shared them amongst friends and family.
It was around this point that we started to see beers coming out of America that were incredibly opaque and we knew that they were the beers we wanted to try and brew, without even tasting them. So we set our sights on the New England style and began to produce the best versions of that style we could.
We quickly outgrew the shipping container and moved into a small unit in a valley at Ponsanooth. It’s here that we met Richard, who at the time was an electrician and we worked with Rich to set up the new unit.
Rich quickly became intrigued in our project and we invited him to join us on our journey. It’s from this point that we all started to take time from our day jobs to brew and package beer once a week in a larger and far more controlled environment. The beers were tasting good!
We started commercially selling via Bristol’s Big Beer (LHG / Small Bar) and we quickly became a favourite in Small Bar. We also drove kegs around the country dropping off our very small output into some of the best bars we could manage to get the beer into. Things simply snowballed from that point on and we raised some more funds via friends and family which we used to buy a bigger brewery and open what became to be known as Big Blue in Falmouth.
What was the inspiration behind the brand?
The brand grew very organically. The name came from a book we discovered in Beer Wolf Books in Falmouth (Bar & Bookshop) one evening over some beers. We were looking for a name and we stumbled across a book titled: “The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green: by Cuthbert Bede.
We loved the name Verdant and it stuck. At the time Adam was still managing his own design agency and he asked Jake Giltsoff, a member of his team to design up a logo. What we always knew was that the brand needed to be fluid, have the ability to change direction and never be too rigid within its design boundaries. We rejected any localisms and avoided all Cornish leanings.
Our inspiration has broadly been taken from beat and counterculture. We mine from poets, musicians and literature. Taking our lead from the psychedelic adventures of the 50s & 60s right through to the present.
What is the best thing about brewing beer in Cornwall?
The ability to be able to live and work in Cornwall should never be taken for granted. It’s a tricky place to exist and we have managed to create something successful that employs a good few people now. We’re incredibly proud of that and look to protect that the best we can, offering all of our staff the best possible return for their endeavours. Oh and the water, it’s almost perfect for our beers.
How important is it to consider your Cornish roots in different projects?
We don’t really have any Cornish roots as such. We have only two people in the business who are from Cornwall and I would guess that could be contested on the grounds of how many generations. What we do hold dear is the local and wider community. We have been working hard to work with and to offer back to these folk anything we can that will make the community stronger.
The Tap Room has many different events happening all the time. Most of which are free to attend or at a price that we feel is affordable. Often with these events we offer proceeds to a local charity. The events range from food and drinks events, film screenings, literature events, DJs and live bands.
We have a very good relationship with Falmouth University working closely with both the Graphic Design and Photography courses. We have worked on a live project with third year Graphic Design students over the past two years along with a new project this year with Photography students.
The Tate collaboration looks amazing, how did that come about?
We worked together previously back in 2018 and when they reached out to work with us again we jumped at the opportunity. We have been paired up with artist Piet Mondrian for the Summer Season at the Tate Modern. We were tasked with designing a beer and a label that was inspired by Mondrian.
We had recently worked with Justin Robertson on an event at the Taproom and was aware of his artwork, we spoke with Justin and he agreed to join us on the collaboration.
It’s an exciting project as we are launching the summer exhibition at the Tate Modern. A month long tap takeover in all of the bars on the Southbank.
What does the future hold for Verdant?
The future is to continue producing better beer. To increase production to the point where we maximise our current facility. We will always be looking to extend our bar and venue offerings both in and away from Cornwall. Slow and steady wins the race.