A brewery run by a family of Manchester brothers is leading the way in the city’s craft beer industry and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Seven Bro7hers Brewery has gone from strength-to-strength since its founding in 2014, including the creation of an array of unique beers, the opening of a bar in the city and even a partnership with a multinational food manufacturing company.
The brewery is based in Salford and is run by the McAvoy brothers: Guy, Keith, Luke, Dan, Nathan, Kit and Greg.
The brothers are seven of eleven children to Eric and Freda – the four sisters run a gin distillery (Four Sis4ers Gin) on the same Salford industrial estate.
Though the business may have started five years ago, the siblings’ long-standing interest in brewing goes back to their father who was a home brewer.
Alison Watson, Head of Marketing at the brewery, said: “They started off home brewing with their dad and then a few of them carried on with that home brew over the years then Keith went to Oslo for work about six years ago and noticed that the craft beer scene out there was crazy. There were lots of craft beer bars and many had tanks above the bar.
“Although you could see that a little bit in Manchester at the time, it was quite common in Oslo and when Keith came back we did a little bit more research.
“The idea was initially to open a craft beer bar in Manchester like that where it would have a small tank within the bar as well. But because of the history of brewing at home with their dad, the interest to start a brewery first was what came to fruition.”
Each and every one of the brothers has been heavily involved in the workings of the business from day one and each brings their own expertise to the table.
“A lot of them have a teaching or engineering background, electrical engineering and tech background. So, between them they could do a lot of it themselves so we installed a small kit which was a 5 barrel kit and then it grew from there.”
At the start of their journey, the brewers wrote up a five year business plan and in the second year of the plan opened a beerhouse on Blossom Street in Ancoats.
“An opportunity came up and we wanted something that was based in a community. Something that wasn’t just about the beer, it was about an experience, a place where people can kick back and enjoy themselves,” Alison told MM.
The company is set to open another bar in Middlewood Locks in their hometown of Salford and is hoping to replicate its success in Ancoats.
“Again, it’s what we want to go for with our ethos: we will be in a community again.”
This sense of community pumps through the veins of the Salford-born family who are believed to be the largest direct family in the alcohol business in the world.
“We try and hold as many events here at the brewery as we can. So, we have live music on, street food, open mic nights and all sorts of things where we can bring the community and the people who have supported us together to have good time.
“We have just had our own beer festival, too, where we had other people’s beers here which was a very successful day.”
As for the beer itself, it is evident that the brewery strives to have its own identity; one that is enhanced by a blend of market research, knowledge and passion.
“When we first started out we did market research and we found what we termed ‘beer fear’ where people get to the bar and there are that many beers to choose from and they don’t know what to choose, especially going into a craft beer bar in Manchester. Some of the fonts on the kegs, bottles or cans, you couldn’t even tell what style of beer it was.
“We have a very clear message on the front, so you know exactly what you are drinking, the style of beer it is and how it will taste. We have tried to be clear with a block work design – the core range is like this.”
The core range includes the traditional 5% ABV IPA which is the company’s flagship beer and first creation.
However, Seven Bro7hers’ thirst to offer something for everyone gives an opportunity to flex their creative muscles in the form of Watermelon Wheat Beer, Honeycomb Pale Ale and Imperial Stout to name a few.
Alison said: “We do a lot of specials. For example: we brew a traditional style pilsner which not many craft brewers will do because of the tank space and because it needs three weeks in the tank.
“We have a broad spectrum; our demographic is really broad. We have mixture of men and women who buy our products and the age range is big as well.”
The brewers’ ideas to reflect and meet the demands of their wide demographic comes from market research, customer feedback in their bar and brewery tours which constantly gives them feedback from the public.
Perhaps one of the brewery’s most recent beers best exemplifies the creative genius of the brewers themselves.
Their innovative and imaginative use of corn flakes as an ingredient in one particular beer is something that many would not even consider.
Yet the Manchester brewers made it work, so much so that they caught the attention of Kellogg’s.
The multinational food manufacturing company approached Seven Bro7hers which led to the companies collaborating to produce three beers using cereal as a primary ingredient.
More specifically, the three beers use excess, recycled-cereal that doesn’t make it into the packet for general sale because it is overcooked, stuck together or misshapen.
The aptly named Cast Off Pale Ale uses Rice Krispies, Throw Away IPA uses Corn Flakes and Sling It Out Stout uses Coco Pops.
The range has received incredible coverage on a national and international scale and Seven Bro7hers is the only brewer in the UK working with Kellogg’s.
The brewery’s use of the cereal has inspired Kellogg’s to now look for other manufacturers in other industries to use their products in such an inventive way.
The use of the cereal is part of Kellogg’s sustainability programme and is something which Seven Bro7hers believes is an issue manufacturers like themselves take very seriously.
“We need to consider our footprint – we are looking for new ways of brewing and how we can help the global issue,” said Alison.
“We try to make as many things as recyclable as possible even down to the labels.”
Anybody wishing to visit the brewery can attend a tour and tasting at weekends and the brewery is open to anyone wanting to come in and buy directly from them in the brewery’s bar, The Taproom.
As well as this, Seven Bro7hers products can be bought from their website and can be found in Co-op and Booths stores and the brewery is about to launch with Ocado.