A Heriot-Watt brewing graduate and Diploma Master Brewer, Rod was a founder member of Golden Hill Brewery (now Exmoor Ales) when Exmoor Ale was adjudged 'Best Bitter Of The Year' at CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival, London 1980, some 13 weeks after commencing brewing and the first microbrewery to achieve such an award.
After a spell at T & R Theakston's Carlisle brewery, he moved on to regional brewer Hall & Woodhouse where he was part of the brewing team winning the country's other top accolade, the Brewers Cup for the original Tanglefoot at the Brewing Industry International Awards in 1987 (best in cask and overall champion) and was involved in the early development for brewing Hofbräu Lager under licence in the UK.
Rod has helped establish and develop a number of breweries for entrepreneurs in most corners of the country. Aside from over 30 years of brewing experience, Rod is also a Microsoft certified programmer.
Hugely inspirational was Bill Urquhart of the former Litchborough Brewery in Northamptonshire, the 'father of microbrewing'. Back in '79, there were no suppliers in the brewery trade who specialised in micro brewing equipment or raw materials. With the exception of a handful of kegs (made into mash and hop filter plates and a cask washer) and some cellar tanks (a remnant from the big group brewing days when road tankers pumped beer into pub cellars), everthing had to be made from scratch. You couldn't buy dried yeast or anything less than 75kg pockets of hops. You couldn't even buy crushed malt, so a malt mill was made from two CO2 bottles for rollers and a washing machine motor!
Rod did some early practical training at Litchborough as a rookie brewer, only to break a saccharometer. Bill disappeared into his house which was adjacent to the brewery. The young brewer, fearing the worst and expecting to have to pay for the damage, watched Bill re-emerge carrying something under his arm. "Here, you'll need these". It was a gift of a box of saccharometers!
Back in 1980 at Wooton Bassett, Rod would meet another inspirational brewer, Peter Austin of Ringwood Brewery. A score or so of small brewers' had gathered to hear what the Brewers' Society, a technical group representing the UK's big 6 brewers, had to offer the micros. When the meeting was going nowhere, Peter stood up and initiated The Society of Independent Brewers (now SIBA).
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