Our Story

Luke Herman, our founder, tells us how Crafty started

Our Story

Luke Herman, our founder, tells us how Crafty started

“While I was studying environmental sciences at university, I began brewing beer in a cupboard. This rapidly became a passion. I was particularly interested in the science and history of beer.

I tried all sorts of random ingredients while studying bees, yes that is bees – not beers, in various countries overseas – Ghana, Kenya and Chile. These included fuchsia flowers, fruit, nettles, bread and honey.” 

“When I came back to England and started doing project work for Reading University, I was very popular as I was always brewing. 

Finally, I decided that brewing was my future so I had a stint in a brewery which convinced me that I wanted to have my own.”

“I started in a shed in the grounds of my family farm in the heart of the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Once I became confident in my abilities, I started to place my beers into a few pubs and won our first SIBA Gold award.”

“I and some friends managed to get hold of an old lorry body someone wanted to get rid of and converted that into a nano-brewery.  This housed everything from the brew house, fermenters, the bottling line and ingredients storage. It was quite a squeeze! The only thing we lacked was a cold-store and this was solved by using an old bomb shelter left over from the war.”

“Next, we moved into an old stable block but this, again, became too small and we spilled out into nine separate shipping containers spread out among the trees. We literally became ‘the brewery in the woods’.

We then got an opportunity to to purchase two breweries that were going out of business. This was so exciting and a major step forward as it enabled us to get our hands on some superb equipment.”

“Finally, after obtaining planning permission, we built our new purpose-built, state-of-the-art 5000 square foot brewery that houses everything under one roof, with a capacity of 100,000 litres a month.”

“Our team is now ten strong and we see ourselves as a close family. I still am very much involved on a day to day basis but we now have a Master Brewer, Iain, creating our delicious beers. There are only a small number of Master Brewers in the whole of the U.K. so we consider ourselves very lucky indeed.”

“Being in a wood on a large farm has led to the use of a fox for our logo – although the relations between the foxes and our chickens have always been a little tricky.”

“The rare pigs we keep next door to the brewery enjoy munching their way through the piles of grain, hops and spent yeast the brewing process throws out. Ecology and sustainability has always been on my mind. Perhaps it is my early naturalist training.

Life is wonderful on the farm.

It’s also a very nice place to enjoy a delicious beer at the end of the day.” 

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my ramble through how this all started and I hope will also enjoy the fruits of our labours.

It continues to be so fulfilling to create beers that win awards and delight so many people.

Enjoy our beers! We do!

Cheers!

 Luke

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