OUR FIRST COLLABORATION
At Wily Fox HQ, we always try and develop our skills to better ourselves and the idea beer collaboration was the latest instalment. Last month we had a phone call from Carmelo, the head brewer at Northern Whisper over in Rawtenstall to discuss a potential collaboration of a brew. Dave, our head brewer first met Carmelo from Northern Whisper at their Annual summer beer festival and forged a friendship over a beer or 2 and much discussion of all matters beery. Jump forward to November and Carmelo got in touch to discuss the idea for a collaboration of some kind. As he put it, “All the trendy big city breweries do it so why not us”
So why not indeed, Anything that they can do we can do better, and show them that 2 breweries from traditional Lancashire towns can produce new, exciting and cutting edge beers as well.
We knew we wanted to create a different kind of brew, something out there, something exciting! So one of the first ingredients discussed to be used in the collaboration was the use of different yeasts, we decided on a blend of Champagne and French Saison yeast to give a funky fruity flavour profile, and give us a great selling and marketing point.
After more discussion we came up with the final recipe which ramped up the rich golden malt base with the addition of Ekuanot and Cascade hops to really pack the beer with juicy grapefruit and citrus hop character.
Once the recipe was finalised we decided on a brew day, Carmelo came over to Wily Fox to help chip in with the brewing and the beer was brought to life.
So the first part went really well with no drama’s, the brew went according to plan with a textbook fermentation but we still had no name for the beer. A few ideas for names pump clip designs were bounced around the office and with a deadline fast approaching for the print date of the pump clips we still weren’t happy with the name and design intent. Everyone had different beer names and ideas for the beer but nothing was a clear cut winner. Then Alex, our trainee brewer and newest member to the Wily Fox crew came up with “Corker” a simple but great name that summed up the beer.
It was top of everyone’s list short, catchy and a great shout for a bar call. The pump clip developed next and evolved from a varied mix of ideas including champagne bottles, dancing foxes, corks and glasses. Then again a simple idea emerged, just use the top of the champagne cork with the branding of Corker, Wily Fox and Northern Whisper burnt onto the image. A really effective and eye-catching clip we think, and due to the design, we were able to go for a new shaped clip and material that feels cork-like.
SPLITTING THE BREW
We split the brew equally with Northern Whisper which meant that we were able to get the beer into outlets right across the whole of Lancashire and Manchester. A great way to highlight our name and get Wily Fox beer into new venues and locations
Overall this has been a really positive and rewarding experience for us, it’s been great to work with the Northern Whisper team and a really fun thing to do. But it isn’t the end of the Corker story yet, we filled one of Carmelo’s wooden rum casks so that he can mature it for this year’s Northern Whisper beer festival. That’s definitely one to try if you can get it before it goes.