no. 008 | Polly's Brew Co.
Brewing on a family farm in northern Wales, inside a barn that was once home to a horse, the story of Polly’s Brew Co. is anything but run-of-the mill.
Founded by Sean Wheldon and Arron Fellows, Polly’s arrived into the world in 2018. Having got his start in hospitality, Sean was surrounded by beer from the outset and quickly discovered a passion for cellar management following a stint at Cheshire’s Weetwood Ales. As his passion tipped into the realm of obsession, he made the decision in 2017 to take the plunge into ‘proper brewing’. Ordering a set of steel brewing vessels from China, he began by brewing cask beer before focusing on fresh, hop-forward, modern-style beers. By the following year, Polly’s was born.
Based in Mold, North Wales, Polly’s are proud to be flying the flag for what they feel is still an under-represented country on the craft brewing scene. “Our market is still very much a traditional one”, says Fellows. “things are certainly better than they were four years ago, and the Welsh scene continues to grow, but there’s still a long way to go”.
Working on Sean’s family farm, it's from here that Polly’s gets its name. Having originally launched the brewery as LOKA POLLY, it combined two pieces of family history. LOKA came from Sean’s twin brother’s graphic design studio, Loka Island, whilst Polly was derived from the previous resident of the brewing space: an old family horse of the same name. By fusing the names together, Sean and Arron wanted to a name that wasn’t necessarily tied to a geographical place – something that would make as much sense in Sacndanavia as it would in the US. The shortening of the name to Polly’s was a decision that was made for them, when in early 2019 a Swedish multinational served them with a cease and desist letter for IP infringement!
There’s little that Sean doesn’t have involvement in from hop to can, and this includes the labels themselves. “Sean has always had a keen eye for finding sections of photos that work really well on our labels”, Arron tell us excitedly. “He continues to produce the artwork for every Polly’s label to this day”. We’re sure you’ll agree that the results are superb.
As we continue our conversation, we ask Arron if being a younger brewery presents any challenges.
"We find it’s an even more congested marketplace, and it wasn't a quiet one when we joined back in 2018. Investing time and money into our branding and the layout of our cans has been absolutely paramount in helping us get to where we are today and I wouldn’t want to be a new brewery starting out in 2022 with so many incredible breweries already established!".
That extra run-up has also helped Sean and Arron cement the structure of their beer range. They have their core range of beers, which includes Floret and Little Nada – two of the five beers we're showcasing this month – and, like many other breweries, they also have a frequently changing selection of beers. This is what the Polly's team refer to as their Augment range:
"This is the side of the brewery that has carried us from our second year up until now", says Arron, "and long may it continue!".
Tiger Bliss New Zealand Pale Ale, Spur IPA and B-Side Spur Black IPA are all beers from the Augment collection. Here for a good time, not a long time, Polly's will replace them with other small-run beers in the coming weeks, so be sure to savour them.