ALWAYS LEVELLING UP: Elusive Brewing
It’s no secret that we’re massive fans on Elusive Brewing, and their beers very regularly make an appearance in our product range, be it cask, keg, or in our fridges. With their 6th birthday coming up, we couldn’t resist inviting the folk behind the brewery down for a Tap Takeover and Meet The Brewer on the 18th May. Now, as the date is fast approaching, we thought we’d give you a brief introduction to the brewery and its founder, Andy Parker.
A long-time fan of craft beer, Andy pursued home brewing as a hobby and passion for some time, before entering and winning The Craft Beer Co’s National Home Brewer competition in 2014. As a result, he had his winning recipe produced by Dark Star with national distribution. From there, his sights were set towards realising his goal of opening his own brewery. Through meticulous planning and hard graft, the first Elusive Brewing beer was mashed in at their home in Finchampstead in April of 2016, just opposite Siren Brewery.
To say that Elusive has gone from strength to strength since their inception would be an understatement. With an initial capacity of 30HL, demand for their beers has steadily grown ever since. Now, the demand outweighs the capacity of their own site, so they’ve started cuckoo brewing some of their one-off beers at Double Barrelled - just a hop and a skip away in Reading.
And it’s no wonder they can’t brew enough - over the years, Elusive’s name has effectively become synonymous with quality, as they continue to scoop up awards. Their flagship beer, Oregon Trail, is a wonderful West Coast IPA and a firm favourite of Team Olaf’s. It won the UK gold for its style at the World Beer Awards and went up against some other incredible IPAs for the final global stage.
Like every other brewery, the pandemic presented a series of unique and unprecedented challenges, but with Andy’s strategic thinking and support from the community, the business has managed to survive and continue into what will hopefully become a post-COVID world. With support from Siren and other neighbours Wild Weather, they were able to secure a national courier contract to get their beers into customers’ homes, and had help from now-Operations Director Ruth Mitchell with local deliveries. Initially only packaging into bottles, they pivoted to canning as it transpired they couldn’t package nearly enough with their manual bottling system. This turned out to be a roaring success, with batches selling out quicker than anticipated and proving to be a massive hit with both retailers and customers drinking at home. The brewery ended 2020 with a 24% increase on revenue from the previous year - an incredible feat in such an incredibly challenging period.
Elusive are great at having a strong forward vision yet never forgetting their roots - Level Up, the winning beer from the home brew competition, is still in regular production with a rotation in the hop profile. Through the past six years, the main focus has always been on brewing great beers with a commitment to the traditional styles that got Andy into beer and brewing.
Though he is a fully-fledged brewery owner now, Andy still maintains a powerful connection with the home brewing community - he has authored a blog about brewing at home and the nitty gritty of establishing a brewery, contributed to guides for CAMRA’s education hub, and most recently teamed up with The Malt Miller for International Women’s Day, ensuring that keen home brewers could join in and make the beer at home.
From one guy with a love for the beers he tried when he worked in California, to a four-person operation, Elusive has gone from strength to strength and they’re not showing signs of slowing down. Much like he builds on his beloved recipes, Andy definitely isn’t done levelling up Elusive Brewing.
Don’t miss out on our Elusive Tap Takeover next Wednesday! We’ll be pouring a load of their beers across cask and keg from 7pm.