We believe in ethical garment production and quality workmanship, which is why we choose to use local suppliers and manufacturers to create our goods.
We proudly manufacture and print our garments here in Manchester, the city where the Industrial Revolution began. The city once nicknamed Cottonopolis, home of Britain's cotton industry. A city renowned for its creativity and innovation.
We've decided to feature a few different projects from around Manchester; visionaries who are cultivating their own innovative enterprises; artists and designers creating inventive new visuals; musicians driving the heartbeat of the city. We're passionate about local people embracing and excelling in their own forms of craft, launching initiatives which have a wider impact for good, and choosing to pursue positivity in their work to inspire others.
We followed the unmistakable yeasty scent of brewing beer down one of Manchester's backstreets to an unassuming railway arch, home to Marble Brewery.
Made In Manchester Series - Part 3 - Marble Brewery
"We've grown out of one of the older pubs in Manchester. The Marble Arch Inn is nearly 130 years old, it's a pretty unique place." Jon, one of the chaps at the brewery explained, showing us round. The ornate, Victorian pub on Rochdale Road is one of those hidden gems in Manchester. It's a bit off the beaten track, (a short walk North of the Northern Quarter), so you'd be forgiven for not knowing about it. A pretty unique place it definitely is though, standing out as it does surrounded by bland, modern apartment blocks and car parks. Its beautiful tiled interior is perfectly preserved, and it really has such character, selling independent beers from its own brewery which started out twenty years ago in a back room in the pub.
"The story goes that it was a debate between having a karaoke room and a brewery. And you know, twenty years later, we're pretty happy with that decision on the whole." Jon explained. But their success meant Marble Brewery needed more space, so the beer is now brewed just a few streets behind the inn, "We moved down here to this railway arch in around 2010 and upscaled at that point."
Whilst the beer brewed here in Manchester, the hops themselves are mostly sourced from the USA and New Zealand. Jon explained that they need a lot of sunlight to grow, and let's face it, Manchester is not known for its sunny climate. The American hops are better suited to modern, fruitier beer, pale ale and IPA. "In Britain, hops are mostly grown in places like Kent. Traditional British varieties suit different styles of beer than we are mostly brewing at the moment. The flavours we get from British hops are a little bit more earthy, a little bit more kind of herbal and spicy. Current tastes of the beer drinking public are really into big bold citrus tropical fruit flavours that you get from New World hops."
And apparently the current tastes of the beer drinking public are propelling what Jon described as a "massive explosion worldwide in creative brewing", where independent breweries like Marble Brewery are pushing boundaries and are pursuing inventive new ideas. "There are loads of breweries that want to do exciting stuff. Linked into that there are people within hop-growing programs that are constantly breeding new varieties of hops and are realy expanding these incredible flavours you can get which just aren't something that people liked 20, 30, or 40 years ago."
What's great is that there seems to be a real sense of community amongst these smaller, creative, and independent brewers. Last week was Manchester Beer Week, and amongst their various events, Marble Brewery have been supporting and joining forces with not only other breweries but also local food producers, "We're part of collaborative projects with other local folk, so we did an event on Sunday at Runaway Brewery, that was with local food producers. We did a collaboration with some ladies that make some seafood street food snacks, they call themselves Holy Crab. We brewed a beer with them, a style called a Gose which is a sort of salted sour wheat beer, and we actually brewed that with langoustines and pineapple in it so that's pretty cool. I guess it's all about breaking down boundaries between different areas of food and drink"
The Langoustine-infused Gose beer, "LanGOSEtine" (pictured in cans below) is just one of many quirky and creatively named products in the Marble Brewery range. And collaborative beers like this one are quite a common thing in the industry, "it's a nice way of networking and having fun with friends, either working out a concept or a mashup of your two brand names; it's quite a fun way to come up with a name for a beer." Jon explained.
Often the team will create a series of beers by taking inspiration from something personal to them. "One of our well-loved classic beers is called the "Lagonda IPA", which is named after a classic car which the father of our owner and director had. Just earlier in the year we did a series called The Marble Metal Series, because our Head Brewer, JK, is a massive fan of heavy metal music. We do a lot of beers named after favourite bands/favourite songs. We've done a range called The Marble Gothic Series which is a bunch of different stronger, barrel-aged beers, old ales and stouts; quite intensely flavoursome beers, named after characters from Gothic stories by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Ann Radcliffe. We take these themes and run with them a little bit."
We asked Jon if he thought Manchester beer has its own taste. "Obviously Manchester as a city, has always been very creative and unafraid to push boundaries and do exciting stuff," Jon noted, not a native Mancunian himself, "I think one of the things about this city that I really enjoy is that it's a fun, exciting city that people who come into it from outside can feel like they're welcome, and that they can a be part of something exciting." He pointed out that a lot of the smaller, independent breweries in Manchester like Marble Brewery are embracing the exciting and fun elements of contemporary beer production, and pushing creative boundaries. "Not everybody that brews beer here is from Manchester but a lot of the drinking public are, so you're still tapping into a feeling of people wanting to drink good quality interesting, locally brewed stuff, not just the same old same old. The beer scene here is really healthy. Better than pretty much anywhere else in the UK, I think."
Maybe for this Mancunian beer, it's not so much the taste of Manchester, but the spirit, that they're bottling here. From their humble beginnings in a back room of the historical Marble Arch Inn, there's a real sense of that entrepreneurial spirit Manchester is known for; that same creative force that launched the industrial revolution. There's also a certain ethos of fearlessness and determination here too from the legacy of a 130-year-old pub which has held on so tenaciously to its character, its tradition, and its identity, defying decades of bulldozing and modernisation. Not to mention the incredible sense of community spirit, so evident in the network of people behind an array of independent food and drink ventures, working together with such camaraderie and really supporting and celebrating eachothers' businesses. And finally, that creative spark; the inventive, clever, witty imagination that is poured into concocting each new flavour.
We'll drink to that.