Tell us more about why you set up Twisted Oak :-)
Twisted Oak began when Keith decided to leave the world of IT consultancy in 2012 to turn his home-brewing hobby into a fully-fledged micro-brewery business. He was soon joined by Deb, who uses her background in banking to balance the brewery’s books, amongst many other jobs! And in 2016, Wrington Local Simon joined the team, after a successful career in sustainable transport and energy efficiency. All three were looking for a new challenge and with a combined passion for good beer, what better way to do this than by creating a sustainable brewery on their very own doorstep.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Each hand brewed beer is lovingly crafted in small batches, using the finest ingredients together with water from the nearby Mendip hills. Keith chooses the perfect malt and hops very carefully, often using English hop varieties grown in the south, keeping mileage low. All our bottled beers are suitable for vegans, which is also very important to us.
What would you say are the core values of your product?
Sustainability and localism are at the heart of Twisted Oak Brewery. Much of our beer never travels more than 35 miles from the brewery, most of our bottles travel less than 16 miles and a healthy regular supply to local pubs barely travels 2 miles. Therefore, like most small businesses our delivery miles are very low. When it comes to bottling our beer, we chose Bradleys Juices of Hewish who are only 6 miles from us so that we are supporting another local business in the process. We love being small, we believe that small is beautiful and by being small we can ensure that every drop of beer that leaves the brewery is perfect in every way. As head brewer, Keith doesn’t have to justify the speciality ingredients he uses to perfect his recipes as he is also the finance director (well, one of them anyway!). Our aim is to be the best small brewery in North Somerset but not only that, we also want to be the most environmentally sustainable.
How is your product sustainable?
Every drop of beer that we’ve ever brewed has been brewed using 100% renewable energy. The vast array of solar PV panels on the roof of our brewery produces more electricity over the year than we use. The brewing process involves heating and pumping a lot of water, and this is all done without the use of fossil fuels. We won’t waste water either. We understand that potable water is a scarce resource – so we capture as much as possible to re-use for rinsing and cleaning, including rainwater which always seems to be in plentiful supply around here! To go one step further, we have recently signed up to the SME Climate Hub and are committed to going further in reducing our carbon emissions. Our aim for the future is to build a reed bed on site to deal with all our wastewater and to help improve the local biodiversity.
Talk us through a typical day at Twisted Oak!
Keith is usually the first to arrive at the farm, ready to commence the magic of brewing our wonderful beer! This often fills the yard with a wonderful malty aroma when Simon and then Deb arrives. The brewing process takes about 7 hours in total so that keeps Keith busy in the production area most of the day. Often, we start with a get together in the office, involving coffee, obviously, while we sort out the day ahead. Some days there will be casks to be washed – great in the sunshine, not so great in the wind and rain! Most days Simon is delivering to and having a chat with our lovely customers and Deb can be found in the office busy with all the admin. No two days are the same – which is exactly what we love about our brewery.
Tell us one of your career highlights!
A difficult question to answer! It must start with the bold decision to give up the jobs we knew and were familiar with and subsequently taking the brave step of turning a hobby into a multi award winning local business. Our IPA beer, Leveret, won the gold award in the SIBA South West Independent Beer Awards 2018, and achieved silver in the overall category. This is so important for us, to be able to supply Leveret bottles to you for inclusion in your fantastic Boxlocal hampers. The most rewarding part is when you have returning customers who love your beer, and you can share the joy in having created a product that so many people enjoy.