Q&A with Franklins Brewery

Andrew Cooper
Franklins Brewing Co

Please introduce yourself...
Franklins Brewing Co was established in 2012 by head brewer Steve Medniuk, with a view to brewing accessible, everyday drinkable cask ales with the focus on quality, consistency and offering something for everyone. Our primary focus in doing this is through the quality of our ingredients and the attention to detail in our processes.

We are aiming to build an instantly recognisable brand and a legacy that will be associated with quality products. Our first ever brew was English Garden, brewed in Steve's garden, in England! This beer is a 3.8% gently hopped golden session ale which was designed to attract lager, wine and spirit drinkers onto ale - easy drinking yet full of flavour. English Garden is still going strong and is one of our top sellers and also won our first award at Worthing beer festival in 2013.

All our beers are based on classic, traditional English recipes, with a 21st century twist and the use of New World hops, our favourites being Citra, Mosaic, Motueka and Rakau. Other brews include the always popular Citra IPA, a proper single hopped IPA at 5.5%, which always sells out before we've even brewed it, Mama Knows Best, 4.1%, our modern take on a best bitter, full of mosaic to give a rich earthy pine flavour and the soon to be renamed Pale, 4.0%, which is a hop forward transatlantic pale full of strong flavour and aroma.

At the heart of our business is a strong work ethic and a focus on customer service. We will do what it takes to make sure our customers can have our beer when they want it and offer all the necessary support to make sure it is in tip top condition for their customers. 

Where do you brew from and what is your set up?
We are in the heart of the East Sussex countryside just north of Bexhill on Sea. We are close to Kent, Brighton and London, the areas of our main customer base. We are about 2 miles away from the coast which is important as we both have a strong connection with the sea. Our building is a converted 16th century milking barn which has a certain amount of rustic charm as well as several daily challenges to overcome, least of all the constant bumping of heads on the low beams!

We have a 10 barrel kit with 4 fermenters - 2 x 10bbl, 1 x 8bbl and 1 x 6bbl. Some of the kit is even converted milking equipment. We have 2 full time employees, Steve - director and head brewer and Andrew (me), sales and account manager. We have recently been lucky enough to be in the position to take on 2 part time employees. Paul is our assistant brewer and has been trained up from scratch by Steve and Darren washes our casks and helps out round the brewery.

Much of what we do is driven by a love of music and the volume is always super loud on brew days! If you stop by the brewery you will be met by an eclectic mix of anything from Reggae to Techno and Drum n Bass to Acid House and anything in the middle. There is also a lot of dancing! 

What was your path into the world of brewing?
Steve started out in work with Tower records, promoting nights, selling records etc and then found his way into the bar and restaurant game running many and varied establishments across London including fine dining restaurants and the legendary Bug Bar. Having always been surrounded by and a fan of ale, including a stint running St Peter's brewery Tap House, The Jeruselum Tavern in Clerkenwell, Steve was inspired to start making beer. He quit a very well paid job to pursue the dream and put himself through brew school with Brewlab in Sunderland.

After this he landed a job with Dark Star where he really learnt his trade from the bottom up before leaving in 2012 to set up Franklins. I also had a background in pubs, bars and theatres having run and worked at varied places across the UK. Having grown up drinking ale in Cambridgeshire with the likes of Elgoods, Oakham and Adnams all on the doorstep, it was a life long dream to work for a brewery.

After a meeting in Steve in a pub in Brighton, the weekend after we had both been to the same Stone Roses gig, he gave me the opportunity to join Franklins and help them grow. Our newest recruit Paul, has brought another aspect to the team altogether. Having run a lab for several years, Paul took voluntary redundancy and was keen to learn a new skill. When Franklins were advertising for a trainee assistant brewer in his new home town of Bexhill, it was the perfect match. Paul's scientific background and approach means that he and Steve are learning from each other. 

Where do you see your brewery in three years time?
We are currently going through a very important stage in our brief history. We are currently on the look out for a new premises in which we can put a brand spanking new 15bbl kit and have capabilities to produce kegged products as well as start canning and bottling. Our long term aim is to make a high quality, craft produced British lager.

We are also under going a re-branding process at he moment and hope to come out with a slick, polished new look in early 2016. Ultimately we aim to have a tap house, offer bespoke brewery tours and see our products featured all over the UK and beyond as well as leaving behind a legacy. 

What’s the single biggest challenge facing the UK independent beer market?
In our opinion it is the lack of customer loyalty and pub ties.

What do you drink when you're not drinking your own beers?
We are open to pretty much anything and everything!! Living in Brighton we are blessed with an abundance of craft beer pubs, bars and off licences. We are always on the look out for new brews from established breweries, new breweries and new flavour combinations. Personally my tastes change with the seasons, however, my pallet is currently favouring beers with a sour edge to them and I always look out for a new lambic, saison or gose. Some of our all time favourite breweries would have to include Siren Craft, Arbour, Burning Sky and Thronbridge although why limit yourself to just those?

Which brewery, other than your own, do you most respect?
It would have to be Dark Star, simply because of what they did for Sussex brewing. They completely upped the stakes and have inspired so many great breweries coming out of this county. They continue to move on and push the industry forward meaning we all have to be on top of our game!

Mike Hampshire