full-time employee so it can get fairly busy, from brewing, racking, conditioning, bottling, delivering, making sure stock levels are ok, etc. It can be a challenge some days. Starting out I just wanted to make good beer in any format, there wasn’t really a plan for growth and I’ve preferred to stay small to have a lot of flexibility.”
We have history Manchester is home to a host of craft beer and specialist pubs and a tradition of doing things differently. Credited with kicking off this most recent regeneration of interest is Port Street Beer House – a cute and cosy bar located in Manchester’s ever-edgy Northern Quarter – though the city also has history. Dating back over a hundred years, Manchester’s Marble Brewery, and eponymous pub, has made cask ales and beer using only organic and vegetarian ingredients; credited with something of a cult following throughout the city and beyond. Beers formerly brewed on-site in copper and hot liquor tanks located at the back of the pub have since moved to a much larger space – and the brewery has rolled out two further establishments, an annual beer festival and a thriving roster of DJs and performers. Is there something special about the city? Jay is inclined to think so. “Manchester is unique in that it’s always been a place for great beer, especially great cask beer, and especially pale and hoppy beer. Manchester has always been a proud, independent city, and the fact that we still have four independent family brewers in
the Greater Manchester region shows this, and has allowed smaller independent producers to thrive. What is undeniable is that Manchester, right now, is one of the best places in the country to drink beer,” he said.
Beer prom Manchester’s annual beer blowout, Indy Man Beer Con, has put the local scene on the map. Held every October in the Grade II listed architectural gem that is Victoria Baths, the event brings together beers from across the country, Europe and America, with The Guardian citing the festival as a ‘joyous event held in the crumbling splendour of the Victoria Baths’. Visitors find cask ales and beer pumps, street food and even a spirit bar, lining the walls of the (now empty) former Victorian swimming baths, with local bands and musicians providing the entertainment. A culture of collaboration within the city pervades – something Quantum Brewing can attest, having teamed up with Marble and others, too. Jay said: “We get on well with all of the Manchester breweries – it is more of an industry-wide support. We’re friends with a lot of micros, and we’ll always help each other out wherever possible. Collaborations come about and they’re a good way of learning new things as everybody brings something different to the table. The more recent Manchester breweries are pretty much all producing great beer.”
From barrel to bottle: Quantum are one of Manchester’s new breed of brewers
The more recent Manchester breweries are pretty much all producing great beer
What next? The future looks bright, with Indy Man Beer Con getting bigger and better every year and local brewers such as Shindigger and Cloudwater trailblazing bold and innovative new recipes (beetroot sour beer anyone?). Krause predicts: “UK hops being more widely used as some exciting varietals are being trialled at the moment; historical recipes using locally sourced ingredients; the comeback of mild ale.” Jay does however, concede, it is a little harder to break into the industry now than it has been before. He said: “There’s been talk recently of ‘a race to the bottom’ in terms of pricing and, I’m not sure if it’s out there as I’ve not felt much effect, but it’s potentially worrying. I think it’s much harder to enter the market today than it was five years ago, but that’s not to say that it can’t happen.” And for Quantum Brewing? “We’re staying steady for now, but who knows. I’m open to all possibilities and opportunities.” Follow Quantum Brewing on Twitter @QuantumBC or get in touch: quantumbrewingcompany.co.uk
The magazine of Manchester Metropolitan University