Pride of Waltham Forest awards
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East London Brewing Company is Lea Bridge’s very own family-run microbrewery. We speak to Director-Founders Claire and Stu about their business and why local customers are so important to them.
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Hi Claire and Stu. Tell us how East London Brewing Company came to be, and when and why did you start the business?
We set up East London Brewing Company in 2011. We’d started thinking about it all seriously as we were expecting our second child; Stu was increasingly disenchanted after 20 years as an industrial chemist and Claire was contemplating several months of maternity leave from her role as a Director at a global Communications Agency. There’s nothing like the sleep-deprived insanity of a new baby to change perspectives and by February 2011, we had made the leap, had no jobs between us, a two-year old, a four-month old, and as if that weren’t enough, an embryonic microbrewery in a small industrial unit in E10.
Now eleven years on, with both of us working full-time at the brewery, the brewery’s expanded into 3 units, we have a team of wonderful people and brew a range of award-winning regular beers, complemented by seasonal specials available throughout the UK and beyond.
What do you think makes East London Brewing Company stand out?
We’ve always felt honoured to be part of a very long tradition of brewing in East London. We’re delighted to continue this tradition, both in brewing classic styles of beer that have been around for 100s of years and in adding new styles of beer that explore up-to-the minute flavours and techniques. We’re very rooted in our community, as can be seen in our branding, which is a celebration of the texture of East London in the form of black and white photos taken by local artists, and in events such as the Walthamstow Green Hop Project, now in its ninth year!
What makes Lea Bridge and the business community here special?
Our local community is central to our existence. When the pubs and bars were closed in March 2020, we lost 75% of our trade customers overnight. Only by delivering beer direct to customers’ homes, were we able to keep the business afloat. Our customers were incredibly supportive and continue to be so. We cannot thank them enough for choosing to support local. I think the pandemic has helped cement an increasing realisation what we need to do to create a strong local economy and the importance of doing so wherever we can.
Why should people support local businesses?
A strong local business community is a kind of social glue. Supporting local is greener, provides jobs, keeps the local community intact and promotes a better quality of life for us all. It’s key that people understand this so that when making a choice about a purchase, they don’t only think in terms of price, but also of cost i.e the real cost of buying a cheaper, imported item vs a locally manufactured one? We use local companies wherever possible.
Where can people find out more about you?
There’s lots about us on our website. Locals are always welcome to come by the brewery to buy beer direct from us or give us a call and request a local delivery. We’re still providing free delivery to all E postcodes for two boxes or more.