Start-Up Stories – Flowerhorn Brewery
Flowerhorn Brewery are a new Cardiff based craft brewery, run by two mates: Andrew Traynor and Arran McHugh. In this chapter of Start-Up Stories, Andrew and Arran gave us the lowdown on their brilliant beers and what the future holds for them…
What is Flowerhorn Brewery?
Flowerhorn is a new exciting craft brewery, ran by two friends Andrew Traynor and Arran McHugh. Flowerhorn is going to be the catalyst to help grow the craft beer industry in Cardiff as we are looking to grow demand for our beers and others by putting a focus on Cardiff beer and bringing craft beer fans to the city. We are brewing interesting beers using high quality, fresh ingredients and combining this with surreal, psychedelic branding so that we can evoke big reactions from our drinkers.
“As a company we are going to put a huge focus on keeping ourselves motivated and involve our fans by creating a fun and slightly ridiculous working culture.”
Initially we are going to be cuckoo brewing our recipes at an existing brewery, giving us a chance to minimise our overheads and reduce our risk.
Why did you want to start a brewery?
This has been a dream since leaving university. We feel if there was ever a perfect career choice it would be to own a brewery. You get to spend time drinking beer, meeting with beer people and working out of some of the best pubs around the UK and the world! Our time working in the industry reaffirmed this, it’s such a crazy and ridiculous industry to be in and we know we’ll never be bored at work. Craft Beer is continuing its growth across the UK, how are you going to help put Cardiff on the craft brewing map?
We want to work with local breweries and bars to grow the demand in the city and also get Cardiff beer into venues nationally and internationally. We have already started building relationships with other Cardiff breweries. We have already started thinking about helping host a Cardiff craft beer festival in 2020 with as many local breweries as possible to help build awareness of the small independent breweries in the city. We are also hoping to brew some collaboration beers which would be an amazing opportunity to brew some crazy recipes and exchange ideas with some breweries we’ve admired since we’ve been in the industry.
Your designs are awesome and very unique, how did you guys decide on them?
We have been heavily influenced by surreal illustrations in both the beer world as well as animations. We wanted to portray our fun company culture through our designs and so we had to get to work finding a suitable designer. We’ve been fans of Bristol based clothing line SloClo for many years, run by Will Memotone & Hayley Lowman. We approached them and they agreed to work with us on our design briefs and they have produced some amazing work. They understand perfectly what we are trying to portray. It’s amazing to think that we have two designers working together to produce all of our designs. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
What are your core flavours? Do you have a favourite?
We have three core beers, all packaged into kegs and bottles. These are:
Capo – 5.1% Hazy Pale Ale: Capo our flagship beer is brewed with oats to give a smooth, silky mouthfeel with lots of body. Heavily dry hopped with Citra to give a zesty citrus explosion in your mouth. The end result is a fruity, hazy, low IBU Pale Ale. Grab a seat on the chaise longue and test your mind.
Loops – 5.7% Mango Lactose IPA: Loops has an IPA malt bill with oats and wheat crammed in to give a smooth, creamy texture which is supported by lactose. To balance the recipe, we’ve added Mosaic and Azacca hops for a hoppy mango flavour amplified by bags of mango puree. The combination of malt, lactose and mango puree will help you hallucinate up a bowl of fruity, loopy cereal.
Pharmaceutical Stimulant – 6.3% Coffee Milk Stout: Pharmaceutical Stimulant is brewed with a combination of dark malts with flaked barley, wheat, oats and lactose to create a smooth, complex stout. Coffee and chocolate notes from the malt bill are boosted with additions of coffee beans and cacao nibs. Stop twitching and take a dose.
Andrew: My favourite is Loops by far. This is my idea of a perfect beer style, sweet and fruity IPA which is just about pintable.
Arran: My favourite is Pharmaceutical Stimulant. I’ve always been a dark beer fan, particularly ones with a punchy ABV and lots of additional ingredients such as coffee and cacao nibs!
You worked at Tiny Rebel Brewing Co for over 2 years! How did that experience help you when starting Flowerhorn?
Tiny Rebel showed us how fun the beer industry can be, we met some great people throughout our time there, some of them travelling to see us at the launch party. We also have a fairly good understanding on the craft beer market and built strong relationships with regional wholesalers, bars and bottle shops. We learned how to build pallets, organise events, brainstorm new beers, drink with customers and sell beer.
You’ve recently had your launch party, how was that? Did it go smoothly?
We are very happy with how the event went. We ran our own bar, invited Holy Cheesus to serve street food and had a DJ set from our friend Moussa Clarke. It was a great day, full of friends, family, dogs, industry peers and local craft beer fans!
“We are inspired to host more events going forward and are already brainstorming a craft beer festival, some tap takeovers, a taproom launch party, a pop up bar and a craft beer rave.”
If you could have one celebrity advocate for the brand who would it be? Why?
Trey Parker & Matt Stone of South Park. They’ve got an insane work ethic but also appear to spend all their time at work laughing. They are doing life right and we’d trust them to represent the brand suitably.
Where can people find your delicious drinks?
We’ve just secured our first accounts in Cardiff and Swansea. In Cardiff we are available at Wally’s Liquor Cellar, Pops’n’Hops for takeout, Cathays Beer House, St Canna’s Ale House, Nos Da for drink in and in Swansea we will be available in Beer Riff and N D Johns. We are also going to be working with wholesalers to get our beers in key bars, bottle shops and online stores both locally and nationally over the next few months.
What does the future hold for Flowerhorn Brewery?
The immediate future is to find a small warehouse space to store our beers and put in a few desks, so we have somewhere to work. Then we are looking to grow our awareness and demand so we can expand into our own 10BBL brewery and taproom in Cardiff. We’ll then be looking to hire our first employee to help us keep up with the production. We also want to begin collaborating with other breweries and also local food producers to create some one-off special beers. We are looking at attending as many craft beer festivals as possible and have already started looking at local venues for a one week pop up bar.
Our 5 year plan is to expand again into larger premises with a larger capacity and a purpose-built taproom. This will give us a chance to get our beers in all of the key craft beer regions across the UK and also give us the opportunity to export our beers across the world.