Darren Campbell, Two Towers Brewery
Please introduce yourself and your brewery...
Darren Campbell, Office manager & brewer at Two Towers Brewery
Where do you brew from and what is your set up?
Two Towers Brewery operates with a 10 BBL plant and the postal address is 29 Shadwell Street, Birmingham, B4 6HB. The brewery is situated to the rear of our tap house, the Gunmakers Arms, and can be reached via the pub's beer garden.
What was your path into the world of brewing?
The brewery was founded by Mark Arnott-Job and Trevor Harris who were both keen home brewers and had discussed the idea of setting up a brewery back in the late 1990s. Brewing together they steadily developed from amateur hobbyists, brewing for fun, into amateur hobbyists brewing seriously. Over that decade up till 2009 that vague, pie-in-the-sky idea of setting up their own brewery became less vague and more pint-in-the-hand than pie-in-the-sky. They also became more focused on the idea of 'bringing real ale back to Birmingham'. Mark and Trevor founded the brewery in 2010 but Mark is now the sole owner, Director and head brewer.
I came to work in the brewery in the summer of 2014 after an opening appeared for an office manager. I am a chemist by training and this knowledge proved useful to the brewing side of the business as well.
Where do you see your brewery in three years time?
We currently provide bottled conditioned and cask products. We intend to continue this but also will start kegging our current, and new, beers relatively soon. Our short term plans also include opening more of our own outlets. We currently have the Gunmakers Arms in Bath St but have been looking at several locations over the city.
What’s the single biggest challenge facing the UK independent beer market?
The 1400+ independent breweries. While it really is a good thing that the market has exploded in the last three to four years tit also means it surpassed a saturation point. We can see this being a real problem and breweries will probably start closing at a fairly similar rate soon. We think we've seen this happening in our region already towards the last quarter of 2016. The potential review of the Small Breweries’ Relief scheme could prove damaging to many small breweries.
What do you drink when you're not drinking your own beers?
We like to drink locally and a lot of the beers produced by Rock & Roll Brewhouse are very nice indeed. Thinking further afield the St. Peter's Brewery in Suffolk produce some great beers.
What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve ever put in a beer?
Although we're quite a traditional brewery we have tried quite a few ingredients, perhaps the most 'interesting' being juniper berries.
What's your desert island beer?
We'd have to go with a refreshing session beer so our very own 'Hockley Gold'!
Describe your brewery in six words.
Fine traditional ales brewed in Birmingham.