Loose Cannon Brewery Strikes Gold at SIBA Beer Festival
Since it’s inception in July 2010 – Loose Cannon Brewery, the brainchild of Will Laithwaite has seen steady year on year growth. But until this year had not formally entered a single industry competition to gain wider coverage of it’s ale.
All that changed in October 2013 when Loose Cannon scooped an astonishing 2 Golds and a Bronze for the three ales entered in the SIBA Midlands region annual beer festival held in Nottingham. Their Abingdon Bridge received Gold in the Best Bitters category, Gunners Gold – named in honour of local hero Stan Bradford DFM scored another Gold in the Standard Bitters category and their Bombshell Summer ale netted a very respectable Bronze in the Bottled Gold Beers category.
‘We are, like so many new brewers, justifiably proud of products’ – Will Laithwaite owner and head brewer – but to receive accolades like this from SIBA the society established to represent and support us all in the UK is a fantastic affirmation that we are doing the right thing’.
The secret to Loose Cannon’s steady growth it seems has been their conviction to establish a core range of ales and avoid the temptation of becoming a limited run individual brew company.
‘Avoiding the market of singular ‘one-off’ or rapidly changing monthly brews has meant that we can develop our skills in producing a consistent product with a long market-life’ continued Will – ‘this can be readily seen in the winning of these awards. We can also devote more energy to developing our next ales in more detail and with confidence of their integrity as standalone products’.
Based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, former home of the much missed Morlands Brewery, Loose cannon have developed a fervent following amongst landlords, locals and former brewery employees. Their monthly brewery tours have seen visits from local dignatories, former Morland employees amongst whom the creator of ‘Old Speckled Hen’ now a keen fan of Loose Cannons ‘Abingdon Bridge’ and even the Bishop of Reading who has been kind enough to bless the brewery.
‘The tours have become a hugely enjoyable part of our business’ Will continued ‘in truth we never know who will be visiting and everyone brings an interesting story to our brewery’. Indeed following a visit by a member of the local Bomb Disposal Regiment, 11 EOD based in Didcot, Loose Cannon have rebranded their Bombshell Ale to incorporate the units emblem on the bottle. ‘Being part of our local community means that we also have a role to play in supporting it’. At the recent homecoming parade for troops returning from Afghanistan attended by HRH Princess Anne Commander in Chief of the Royal Logistic Corps, Loose Cannon provided their Bombshell ale for the Soldiers and by all accounts received to date the beer has now converted many Lager drinkers away from their usual tipple. Proving the fact that real ale in this country is growing in popularity once again.
What does the future hold for Loose Cannon?
‘With the ongoing support of SIBA, helping us reach new markets the future is looking bright here at Loose Cannon. We are working on a Boutique beer range to help develop our online sales, again once developed this will be a permanent feature. Our aim is to run 3 permanent ales, 4 seasonal and we will look at developing a further range of ales drawing upon the depth of history of brewing in the UK’s oldest town’.
We are even thinking about buying a Cannon. Which could be a lot of fun.