no. 017 | Newbarns
It’s taken us almost a year and a half to get there, but we’re delighted to kick-off a new year with our first Scottish brewery, Newbarns.
Newbarns Brewery opened its doors in the port district of Leith, Edinburgh, in 2020 and is an amalgamation of incredible brewing and brewery experience. Gordon McKenzie, his partner Emma McIntosh, Jonny Hamilton and Fred Bjerkseth – the founding members of the brewery – spent a decade gaining experience in some of the UK’s best breweries before finally embarking on Newbarns together.
Coming from an engineering background, Gordon began his brewing life at Siren Craft Brew in Reading. With no prior experience, the exacting and precise nature of his previous profession stood him in good stead when it came to concocting consistently delicious beer. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Emma was working at Craft Beer Co. – one of London’s more progressive craft-focused pubs in the early 2010s – before becoming a brewer at iconic The Kernel.
Gordon was eventually brought into the fold at the Bermondsey stalwart, whilst the two kept close contact with Fredrik, who Emma met during her time at the pubs. Since then, he had moved to Beavertown to become the first ever salesperson at what was then still a new and fledgling brewery. Fredrik struck up a friendship with Beavertown brewer Jonny and, through the years, the quartet talked more and more seriously about setting up a brewery together.
Things took a turn for the serious when Gordon was perusing an industrial auction site one evening and his eyes landed on some 1970s brew kit. Devoid of almost any automated components, most modern brewers would have scrolled past it, but the manual, more traditional equipment spoke to the engineer in Gordon and is what every Newbarns beer has been brewed on since.
This traditional approach is a fundamental part of the brewery’s DNA. “You will not see a NEIPA coming from our brewery, or any triple IPAs”, says Fredrik. “Our approach to making beer is ‘does this work as a pint?’. We all love going to the pub and want to drink pints, so we’re trying to make drinkable, clean beers that aren’t overly hopped”. That inspiration runs right through to their logo and aesthetic, which is based on old beer mats and other paraphernalia fro old pubs like mirrors and tap badges.
With an ambition to establish and grow themselves in the UK market organically, the team are representing a city steeped in brewing heritage, and whose craft beer scene is changing fast. Newbarns are undoubtedly leading that charge and we hope you enjoy our selections.