JANE: Since we met you, my perception of Sour Beer has really changed overnight. I am not a beer drinker and certainly not a sour beer drinker, but this has turned my head. Mind you, Kir Royale Sour beer at 11.5% would turn anyone’s head!
From university to working in IT and then creating your own sour beer… tell me your story.
STEVE: Yeah, I bummed out of uni in 3rd year having started out in Accountancy and then jumping into Economics. Loads of debt and no degree!
JANE: Excellent, nothing finer.
(Both laugh as Steve drinks a fine looking beverage.)
JANE: Are you drinking Sour Beer?
STEVE: No, it’s an IPA from Other Half in Brooklyn, America. We get some really crazy beers imported in for the team to try so that we keep ahead of the curve.
And seeing as we have a four-day week and its Thursday, this is technically my Friday night.
I am trying to cut down, you should think about it too, I have seen your recycling bins!
JANE: Yes, but there are four of us in the house at the moment, remember…
Back to topic… From the security of an IT job to making Sour Beer. Vault City, formed in your kitchen just under 4 years ago, has a team helping you run it. It is fully independent, no angel investors or family money.
STEVE: Yeah, the kitchen and cellar became my own personal brewery. So much so that we ended up having to redo the kitchen so that I could get eight beer taps installed.
I was dumping so much good beer, because of all the flavours I wanted to explore, it got to the stage where we decided it was time to go professional. It’s not cheap to make!
I had been working on the idea for around 7 years and the job I had in IT was a great education because my main role was to understand how business worked and how technology could help them run. I got to go through the whole gambit of speaking with HR and Sales, marketing and accounts so the mechanics of running of business was being formed during that time.
JANE: You are hugely entrepreneurial, creative, and pioneering. Part of your ‘why’ as a business is simply to deliver a relentless exploration of flavour combinations, and you certainly deliver on that.
STEVE: Yeah and it’s the whole process. Standing over a pot for five hours is quite amazing and then from the day you make it you have three weeks to know if what you’ve made is actually good. That is part of the allure for me.