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Fruits of a new endeavour: Jordan Mower's Unbarred Brewery is the first to make use of co-operative Missing Link's facilities

NEW ENTRANTS: Missing Link Brewery and Unbarred Brewery

A wine-maker from Zimbabwe has teamed up with Irish aristocracy to launch a brewing collective for aspiring commercial brewers in the Sussex countryside.

Missing Link Brewery aims to bridge the gap between hobby brewing and full-scale production by offering members use of a 500-litre Braumeister kit installed at Chiddinglye Farm, country seat of Edmund Pery, 7th Earl of Limerick.

It’s the brainchild of the Earl’s business partner Jeremy Cook, who saw the opportunity to use his experience of co-operative wine-making to help new brewers in the UK get their beers to market.

The first, Jordan Mower, has launched his Unbarred Brewery venture from the site, and is already selling his canned beers in bars and off-licences in London and Sussex.

“We want to give brewers like Jordan, who were brewing out of a home brewery, a chance to go commercial,” explained Cook. “They don’t yet have a market for a 20-barrel plant, but they want to start a business off. A collective of brewers using the same kit can brew one or two days a week and we can market the beer through Missing Link.”

The brewhouse is equipped to produce what he describes as “completely natural beer”, unfined and naturally carbonated in the 15 625-litre pressurised fermenters on site, spending at least three weeks in the tank.

The beers can then be packaged in KeyKeg or in can, with WeCan’s mobile line calling once a week.

“Our beers are hazy and vegan-friendly with a smoother carbonation,” said Cook. “The flavours really come out, and we believe we can target the middle ground between cask drinkers and craft drinkers.”

With two more brewers set to come on board, Missing Link will double its capacity in September, adding more fermenters and expanding into an adjoining farm building. A fully licensed taproom is planned, too.

Six 50-litre Braumeister kits are also being introduced to enable the business to offer training sessions.

Meanwhile, Missing Link has enabled Jordan Mower to give up his job as a brewer for Two Tribes Brewing in Horsham and strike out on his own.

The Unbarred canned range has so far included a pale ale, a New England IPA, orange and mango-infused pale ales and Brighton Strong, an 8% abv Belgian-style beer made with honey that’s already assuming cult status.

“Seven or eight years ago I was living in a flat, saving up to buy a house and drinking a lot of whisky, and I wondered whether there was a way I could make it cheaper,” said Mower. “I wasn’t a beer head then but I did some market research and when I discovered the tropical flavours that came from the hops I became obsessed with it, down to the finest detail.

“So I home-brewed - which turned out be an expensive way of saving money. I spent thousands on it, but I still managed to buy the house and installed a brewery in the summer house in the garden.”

At the time, Mower was brewing weekends and evenings while working as a project manager for the water industry, “which wasn’t my passion but the water chemistry has come in very handy”. Then, after winning the Bev Robbins Award at Camra’s 2015 Sussex Beer Festival, he was offered a job at Two Tribes where he became head brewer.

As Unbarred, he is now planning to collaborate with other local brewers on a Belgian-style witbier and a rhubarb crumble sour. He will also become one of the Missing Link’s trainers once the brewing school there gets off the ground.

Phil Mellows
18th August 2017

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