Siren is releasing a beer with a deep chocolatey twist
After producing its first unfiltered batch eight years ago Siren is now renowned for its imaginative flavours, quality ingredients and prolific brewing schedule – 100 beers last year. Tropical, fruity Lumina is currently its most popular, but Siren’s range with six flagship ones making up the core, has been developed specifically to suit all tastes. “They are adventurous but drinkable and designed to be accessible, lure newcomers into craft beer, yet flavourful enough for seasoned beer fans to return time and again,” explains Darron Anley, founder director with his wife Jo, of the award-winning family business in Finchampstead, Berkshire.
“Staying independent keeps the focus on authenticity and the beer itself. Today’s customers want to broaden their taste palette,” he explains.
The company, whose beers are listed in Waitrose and Morrisons and throughout the smaller retail sector, exports to 18 countries and forecasts a £7 million turnover this year.
It brewed five million pints in 2019, but last year lockdown inevitably hit sales to its independent pub and restaurant clientele.
“So we changed our route to market, improving the website and aiming our releases at online sales which has been the lifeline,” says Anley.
“This allows craft beer enthusiasts and new customers to handpick the beers that most appeal to them for speedy home delivery and for us to introduce other alternatives, such as packs for corporate tastings and gifts.
“With pubs at risk we had to take drastic measures. Our tap room was developed to enable customers to be close to the source. Now we expanded the team there to do web order fulfilment and with the help of the furlough scheme have retained our 40 staff.”
Craft king Darron Anley says ‘beers are adventurous but drinkable’
Sales increased 1,200 per cent last summer as 9,000 new customers came on board.
A £1.2million crowdfunding raise in 2018 enabled Siren to move into cans, more sustainable as easier to transport, and introduce nitro brewing, a bubble-based technique creating creamier beers.
While Siren takes inspiration from all over the world, “we don’t use many British hops, which tend to give earthy or floral aromas, just occasionally for bittering” says Anley.
“Our pale beers tend to be American style hop-forward and as such we tend to go more for the piney, resinous, fruit forward characteristics of New World hop varieties.
“Now though as there is a growing desire for UK producers to take their plants down this route. British variety Jester is considered one of the best so far and we’re planning on trying it out this year against the big- hitting US hops.”
Siren’s sales increased 1,200 per cent last summer
A leader in barrel ageing, transparency about provenance and collaborations with other UK businesses to get majestic flavour profiles from additional ingredients remain at the heart of Siren’s operation.
On the malt front it works with world-leading supplier Simpsons, a stainless steel fabricator in Somerset provides quad tanks and processors and oak barrels come courtesy of Scotch whisky distilleries.
Roaster Climpson & Sons in London is its partner for coffee infusions. “We also showcase various indie roasters every year in our project Barista,” adds Anley who is now exploring the potential of grape pomace with a British natural wine producer.
This year Siren plans to invest £250,000 of new capital into improving quality, capacity and sustainability.
A water project tracking consumption and recovery, development of its container yard for Covid secure service and setting up a new malt silo are all part of the latest upgrade.
Siren is a leader in barrel ageing
Siren plans to invest £250,000 of new capital into improving the company
It has a commitment too to delve into the impacts of wood in beer and beer in wood during the brewing process.
And when hospitality returns Siren will be right there with two new bars that it has scheduled for opening in the next couple of years.
Unctuous Shattered Dream makes its Valentine’s debut with cacao from famed producer Willie’s in Devon. Husks, often a discarded element in chocolate production, are preserved and spun into Shattered’s brew, adding a milky cream dimension.
Next up in spring a honey lemon cheesecake flavour will be heading for Morrisons’ shelves.
As Anley says: “Siren has a beer for everyone.”