Craft driving innovation at Fuller’s

John Keeling

Fuller’s Brewery is now producing a wider variety of beers than at any other time in its 172-year history, according to brewing director John Keeling.

Keeling told Radio Brews News that the increase in innovation at the iconic London brewery has been directly influenced by American craft brewers, who themselves were originally inspired by their British forebears.

“The craft beer revolution, if you call it that, has been a great thing, I think for brewers. I think it’s the best time to be a brewer now than any other time in my career, because beer is the most important part of all companies again,” he said.

“I think the craft beer world has given us a set of challenges, which we find inspirational.

“We’re making a greater range of beers than we’ve ever made, and we’re using a greater range of hops than we’ve ever used. That’s because of the influence of the craft beer world.”

Keeling said recent releases that illustrate Fuller’s evolution include Montana Red, a rye ale that is highly hopped with Galaxy hops from Australia.

Montana Red uses Galaxy hops

Other additions to its range include the American Pale Ale, Wild River, as well as Frontier, a kolsch that employs American hops.

It has also released a Turkish delight-inspired Imperial Stout infused by rose buds, which is to be followed by a 10.5 per cent Imperial IPA with the addition of black pepper.

“We’re seen by many to be part of the craft beer world, which we are, really,” he said.

“I do get tired of people thinking, ‘Fuller’s is an old fuddy-duddy traditional brewer, they’re great at making this style of beer but cannot do anything else.’

“If people actually go to the brewery in Chiswick [London], you’ll see a brewing plant that is extremely modern, and continues to be upgraded and changed.

Keeling showcased Fuller’s Vintage Ale at Bucket Boys

“Since I became brewing director in 1999… I worked out that I’ve spent 70 million pounds of Fuller’s money within production, during that period of time.

“Now that is a forward thinking company who are interested in always improving what they do,” said Keeling.

He said it speaks volumes that Fuller’s was given permission to make aSierra Nevada beer at itsbrewery in London.

“I don’t think they do that sort of thing lightly. In fact, I’m not sure that any other company has ever been given permission to brew a Sierra Nevada beer,” Keeling said.

Keeling was speaking after hosting an intimate tasting at retailer Bucket Boys Craft Beer Co in Sydney earlier this month.

Episode 125 of Radio Brews News is available to download here.

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