Fyne Ales Blog

Be You! Research, partners & getting to work on a new look for Fyne Ales.

by Iain Smith

The last eighteen months have been pretty big for Fyne Ales - in 2017 we brewed and sold more beer than any single year in our history, we launched our growing Origins Brewing project and we’ve just about recovered from our biggest and best FyneFest ever.

And we’ve also been doing a lot of work behind-the-scenes, dedicating time to taking stock of where we are as a brewery and as a brand - what’s working, what’s not and what people really think about us. We ran focus groups in key markets (Glasgow and Edinburgh), interviewed our customers in both on and off trade and spent hours talking with our team about where they want to see us go as we grow as a brewery and a business. You might also have seen our brand survey in Autumn 2017 - the phenomenal response to which really opened our eyes to how we’re currently viewed in the market. And what did all the research tell us?

The way that people see us now, and how we want them to see us don’t match up - so we’re making some changes.

This isn’t a radical overhaul of the Fyne Ales you know - it’s the next stage in our evolution as a brewery. Who we are hasn’t changed much since 2001, but how we look has changed a few times over the past sixteen years and, looking at results of last year’s research, it’s time to change again. We’re going to develop a new look and feel for Fyne Ales that is not only more coherent, but also better represents what we do and more importantly, who we are. We're working to develop a new look that better tells the story of our brewery, and what makes our beers so special.

We’re proud to be a working farm brewery in the heart of our rural Argyll community. We’re proud to draw our brewing water from the hills that surround us and to feed our spent grain to our healthy, happy herds of sheep, highlands cows and deer on our beautiful, historic brewery estate. We’re proud to be a contributor, not a burden, to the ecosystem in our rural corner of Scotland and we’re proud of our rich heritage as an independent, family-owned and multi-award-winning brewer of outstanding beers. 

Your favourite beers won’t be changing at all - Jarl will continue to be and will always be the best easy-drinking session blonde you could hope for on a hot day - but we want the way our beers look to reflect what’s important to us: our roots, our community and our ongoing progress.

For this process, we teamed up with the incredibly talented team from O Street in Glasgow - their creative, design-led approach and work ethic has thus far blown us away. The photo used for this blog was (sneakily) taken of a corner of their notes during one of our initial meetings and we've borrowed it for this series of blogs as a reminder of what we're setting out to achieve - being ourselves and presenting ourselves as best as we possibly can.

The O Street team has taken a no-stone-left-unturned approach to nailing down a new look and feel for our brewery and we’re getting closer having some exciting things to show you in a future blog. We can’t wait to hear what you think.



New Brews: Summer Single-Hop Series & Experimental Hops

by Iain Smith

At this year’s BeerX conference in Sheffield, Fyne Ales MD Jamie and I couldn’t help but note the number of award-winners starring the American hop, Citra. After the fourth or fifth Citra-centric winner was announced (including our flagship session ale, Jarl), I jokingly said to Jamie “Everyone bloody loves Citra” and the idea for a new summer session series was born.

For this summer’s session cask special series, we’re taking it back to basics and running a series of new single-hop spins on the recipe for our lovely Jarl. A few little tweaks here and there - oats in place of wheat, a bigger dry-hop charge here and there if we think it needs the extra aroma tasting from tank, but at their core, every beer in the series will be based on Jarl, but each showcasing a different single hop.

We’re kicking off this week with Everyone Loves Mosaic, showcasing arguably the most popular hop in craft beer today. We’ve gone big with whole cones on the hot side and given it a kick of T90 on the dry-hop - for 3.8% it packs a punch of fruit flavours - soft stone fruit aromas with beautifully balanced and rounded citrus, berry and tropical notes on the palette.

We’ll be following up with two more in the core part of the series - Everyone Loves Pekko, a fairly new hop variety which blew us away at the hop-rub event at our suppliers earlier in the year and finishing up with Everyone Loves Nelson, which I’m personally most excited about because I bloody love Nelson Sauvin.

There’s also going to be two small-batch variants in the series - Trial 215 and Trial 212. Both beers are single-hop session pales, again using the same malt base as Jarl (for the most part) and coming in at 3.8%, but both feature two brand new experimental hops.

CF215 will hit first - it’s a new British hop engineered by Charles Faram which is exclusive to Fyne Ales this year - we bought the whole crop of whole cones. It offered really intriguing aromas with hints of both coriander and strawberries on the rub, but expressed itself with a much earthier, almost German noble-hop character in the beer we brewed with it. Trial 215, coming next week, is ultra-pale, ultra-clean and ultra-thirst-quenching - it could be the star of the whole series.

We’ll be back with more news about Trial 212 and updates on the rest of the series soon.



Extra FyneFest 2018 Tickets Released

by Iain Smith

A note from Jamie Delap, Fyne Ales MD

The response to this year’s FyneFest has been incredible. From the day that we put early bird tickets on sale to where we are today, the excitement and enthusiasm for the festival has been far beyond anything we’ve ever seen before – which is why, after some careful consideration and planning, we’ve extended Tier 2 ticket sales and increased overall capacity for FyneFest 2018.

The festival team have been busy working with our suppliers and partners to ensure that we can comfortably cater to a slightly larger audience – we had already factored a second campervan field into our plans for 2018, but in recent weeks we’ve also secured a larger main marquee, booked additional facilities, upped our beer orders, and contracted more staff to pour it throughout the weekend.

This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly, nor one we would have made if we weren’t confident that we would be able to maintain the same vibrant, family-friendly atmosphere that makes FyneFest what it is.

We want to share FyneFest with as many people as possible - from all of us here, a huge thank you for your support, we can’t wait to celebrate our biggest festival ever with you in June.

Jamie Delap

Book FyneFest 2018 Tickets