A few years ago, I went to visit a new brewery. I had met these guys a couple of times, and they had started up and we're doing well. So I drove over to Westcombe Farm in Somerset and met Andrew and Brett at the Wild Beer Co. I've always loved great beer, and back in my part of Devon, the 'craft beer' (I'm always nervous using that term!) revolution hadn't quite reached me, and some tasters from Brett and Andrew showed me exactly what could be done with some innovations! I was intrigued.
From there, I was fortunate enough to meet and work with many brewers, and I am even more fortunate to count many of them as friends. I learned that beer could be great in keg, cask, bottle or can, and that influences from other countries, or even other breweries around the corner could also lead to some amazing flavours. Barrel-aged, kettle soured, lambic, the list went on. The scene was and still is buoyant and growing, with people collaborating, innovating, exchanging ideas, ingredients, yeast strains and even equipment, with the common goal of pushing boundaries, improving quality and showing the world what craft brewers can acheive, individually or together. Now many of those breweries have grown and continue to innovate, whilst striving for quality and consistency. We are so pleased to work with friends in this amazing industry; it's been so rewarding to see small businesses grow. The parties have been good, too!
Now, we are seeing similar in the world of spirits. We have been for a little while now. My local pub, which used to stock two different gins, now has a big variety of gins from many different producers. Not bad for a village pub in deepest West Devon! We set up Element in April 2017, with the aim of working with craft distillers and eventually brewers too. We found HBS Copper in Barlow, Kentucky, who had a proven track record of supplying hand-built copper stills to hobby, small scale and larger scale commercial distillers. They knew exactly what their customers needed, and we knew that we just had to bring their equipment to Europe.
We chose HBS because of their integrity and commitment to producing the best they possibly can, every time - exactly what our customers want to do. So now we talk to and visit distillers who are doing exactly what I admired those brewers for - pushing the limits, producing a quality product, with integrity. We see and taste gins, vodkas, whiskies, rums, and all sorts of spirits, produced by people who have put their time, money and reputations on the line to make a product produced from the best ingredients, mixing tradition and innovation, striving constantly for improvement and quality. There is now genuine excitement amongst consumers who are now faced with such an array of world class products. We are delighted to be helping some of these spirits producers along the way, and also delighted to continue our relationships with brewers! They have more in common than you may first think!