no. 011 | Merakai Brewing Co.
In Greek philosophy, MERA means to put your all into something, and the Japanese word Ikigai refers to your life purpose. When the two collide, you get Merakai, our latest feature brewery.
Whilst Merakai were only founded in 2020, the idea of opening a craft brewery had been fermenting between founders Emma and Olly for a decade. “Olly has always had a talent for brewing beer”, says Emma, “and it was actually during the pandemic that it became apparent we were going to do this, so here we are!”.
East Sussex, or more specifically, Framfield, is home to Merakai’s brewery. The decision to base themselves here was made because it’s also where Emma and Olly live. Husband and wife, they’re also the only two team members at Merakai, with Olly covering the brewing and logistics, and Emma handling everything else. When things get a little too busy for 2 sets of hands, they call in Olly’s parents, who assist with box packing.
Accessibility and inclusiveness are fundamental to Merakai’s ethos. In the brewing process, that materialises in making beers for people’s enjoyment. This sounds simple, but in an industry that’s filled with as much style as it is substance, making quality beers that emphasise quality and consistency is a laudable objective. Their belief is that craft beer drinks should be a broad church, and they want to welcome more people into the world of great quality beer.
But Merakai’s emphasis on inclusivity extends beyond their approach to beer. They’re also big advocates for change in the beer industry and are actively taking steps to create a safe, non-discriminatory space for all within it. To this end, they’re 1 of only 9 UK breweries to have brewed a beer with Brave Noise, an initiative that aims to raise awareness of and funds for more equitable working environments across the board.
When it comes to working together as a couple, it’s all upside for Merakai. "We work really well together and the brewery is an extension of our relationship. We understand how each other works and what we each bring to the brewery, which makes for a really collaborative environment”.