Robert Middleton, Orbit Brewing Ltd
Please introduce yourself and your brewery...
Hi, I'm Robert Middleton, founder of Orbit Beers. We started brewing in mid 2014 and have always focused on classic European beer styles, such as kölsch and altbier from Germany and Burton ale from the UK. Our branding connects to vinyl records and all our beers are named with a musical reference.
Where do you brew from and what is your set up?
We brew under a double railway arch just south of Elephant & Castle. We have a 10-barrel brewery, which produces 1600 litres per brew. The beers are all created, brewed, fermented, conditioned and packaged under our arches. We are a team of just five - me, Mario, Robbie, Claudia and Tom. You can find our beers in bottle and keg across London and a little bit beyond.
What was your path into the world of brewing?
I was a beer numbskull until I decided to take my old VW campervan (Brian) on a trip around all the Scottish breweries, discovering beer in the land of whisky. What started as a fun journey/project/book idea, became my second career and new passion. Once I'd experienced the amazing array of beers, learned about brewing and met so many great people in the industry, I was hooked.
Where do you see your brewery in three years time?
Hopefully still under these arches but with at least one more arch next door - brewing takes up so much space! Other than that we just want to share these amazing beer styles with more and more people.
What’s the single biggest challenge facing the UK independent beer market?
The big players creating beers that masquerade as 'craft'. If it's made in a factory, it's not 'craft'. Their distribution reach and marketing budgets mean that punters may find it easier to buy these instead of genuine, small-batch beers. One clue, if it says 'Craft' in big letters on the label, it probably isn't!
What was the first beer which altered your perception of beer?
Swannay Orkney Porter. Rob Hill is a great brewer and this is liquid indulgence!
Which brewery, other than your own, do you most respect?
Five Points have done a fantastic job since kicking off a few years ago. They get so many things right - beer range, branding, people, events, collaborations.... So, not just what they do, but the way that they do it!
What's your desert island beer?
Uerige Alt. Just pips Schumacher for me and Altbier is my favourite beer style.
Describe your brewery in six words.
Classic European styles curated in Walworth.