Walking in to a microbrewery is something I had never done before and thus I was delighted that my first experience was in my very own constituency. Unless you are a connoisseur of micro brewing, which I certainly wasn’t, it is hard to imagine just how much goes on in quite a small place!
Blue Square Brewery, a new business venture in Morley, is eager to expand its horizons having developed Morley’s very own brew: The Morley Rocket.
When I arrived I was met by Chris who was busy measuring temperatures and smelling different malts and hops. Chris was joined by Richard, his business partner who works on the administration and marketing elements of the company.
This two-person venture reminded me of the business acumen, passion and entrepreneurship the constituency I represent has.
“It has been a long journey, a lot of trial and error, but we got there in the end,” said Chris, who in addition to his work at the brewery has a full time job with Royal Mail.
“The building we are in was empty and not being used so we thought it would be a great idea to start a business here,” Richard explained.
“We were thinking and thinking about the name of our company until we saw the blue door the building has and we decided that had to be our name: Blue Square Brewery.”
Chris developed a passion for brewing a few years ago and following his decision to start a business in the field he went on to do specialised brewing courses.
I was quickly asked to smell the different malts and try to identify flavours and sourcing locations. Then it was the hops, which Christ explained had to be used carefully to get the balance right, and they included some with caramel flavour and chocolate flavour.
Richard and Chris then took me through the brewing process step by step. From how they start with Morley water all the way to the mixing of the malt with hot water, the rolling boil and the fermentation process.
I was surprised to learn that Blue Square even designed their labels locally and bottle and label their different brews on site too.
Being a strong supporter of local business I was also very interested to hear their future plans and their challenges.
“We can currently produce up to 400 bottles a month and six casks.” Chris proudly explained.
“The idea is to find new business and expand into different free houses in the area.” confirmed Chris.
We talked about their staffing and expansion plans, how we could work together to sell at the local monthly outdoor market and the possibility of selling the Morley Rocket in Parliament. I have seen colleagues support this before and I am absolutely going to try and represent a Morley brew in London.
Needless to say the visit ended with a taster of the team’s fantastic brews.
As I said, it fills me with pride to see first-hand the entrepreneurship and enthusiasm of our constituency. Offering support to promote this spirit it is one of the parts of my job I most enjoy.
I am very grateful for Chris and Richard to show me around and I wish you all the success in your venture.