As we break ground on our new brewery we reflect on where it all started. An idea born from a love of good beer and a time spent in the hospitality trade.
Founder Marco talks about his background and the events that helped create St.Ives Brewery.
“I had been running the Queens Hotel in St.Ives since early 2007. It was a real baptism of fire. My friend and I had come from a design background. We thought that we could do a better job than previous owners by modernizing and updating the food offering. We learned the hard way that the industry was all consuming and quickly ended up working 80 hour weeks for little financial reward.
We tried everything. Bands, sports, food offers and everything in-between. The one thing that stayed constant was that the beer was the biggest part of our sales. We were a St.Austell Brewery pub so were limited to their brands. In the quieter months we kept one beer on at a time and in the summer rotated more of their cask beers.
People loved to try new beers and always asked about the new brands on the bar. It really got me thinking about why there wasn’t a brewery in St.Ives and whether there was a market for one. The pub life took over and after nearly four years I took a leap of faith and started St.Ives Brewery in early 2010.
We dipped our toe in the water by working with other Cornish breweries who had spare capacity. By starting as a cuckoo brewery we managed to get a few beers under our belt while we found our current home. We started to learn what made people tick and which styles would work on our own brew kit. We started with Boilers Golden Ale 4% which was our flagship beer for 10 years. An easy drinking golden session ale that evolved over time. We still brew it from time to time as the style is hugely popular.
The market has seen a huge shift towards smaller independent brands and our customer base has grown year on year since inception. We have seen a rise in the number of smaller craft brands and have watched some of them grow and others fold. Brewing isn’t for the faint hearted as it can be a very physical job with the trade being fiercely competitive.
Covid came knocking in 2020. It gave us some breathing space and a chance to look at our market and customers who had been loyal to us over the years. We rebranded and worked on the recipes as they needed to be modernized. The beer world has evolved very quickly in the last five years and tastes were changing towards more heavily hopped beers. The beers you see today are an evolution of the styles we brewed before. The next chapter will see some big changes. Watch this space. I cant wait to tell you where we are heading.”