Brewing ‘with attitude’ is reaping rewards – and awards – for specialist alcohol-free craft brewer, The Drop Bear Beer Co., with recent weeks seeing no fewer than five major plaudits and its first export orders.
Swansea-based Drop Bear Beer, burst on to the scene in 2019 promising to ‘disrupt’ the traditional view of the non-alcoholic beer market.
Founded by newbie brewers Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena, the company lives by the mantra ‘Dropping the alcohol, perfecting the craft’.
Their award-winning streak began in July with a gold award for their Tropical IPA at the inaugural ‘Imbibe No & Low Taste Awards 2020’ – where the beer also took the title of ‘Best No & Low IPA’.
This success has been swiftly followed by international recognition at the World Beer Awards, where Drop Bear’s Yuzu Pale Ale took bronze, and a Great Taste award just last month for its Tropical IPA.
Says Joelle, “To have our beers acknowledged – and enjoyed – by some of the best judges on the UK and international scene so soon in our brewing career is beyond all our expectations.”
The outdoors-loving millennial pair epitomise the healthy lifestyle conscious market they want to capture and are intent on making waves in the traditionally male-dominated brewing world.
“Sarah and I started brewing because we wanted to prove that real beer doesn’t need alcohol to have fun. We aren’t scared to push boundaries to show you can get a real kick and excitement from alcohol-free craft beer.”
Joelle and Sarah’s business acumen has been highlighted too, with the Welsh-Australian pair being named Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year (Wales) at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
Hot on its heels has come the 2020 Wales Start-Up Awards – which were announced last night (1/10/20).
Drop Bear took the award for the Food /Drink Start-up of the Year, and will now be listed across the Celtic Group’s premises, including the Celtic Manor Resort.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be recognised as a business, as well as for the taste and quality of our beer.
“Before launching Drop Bear, neither of us had run our own business – I was a French and Italian translator, and Sarah was a local government project manager.
“It’s only just over a year since we started on our brewing journey, so to have received such a variety of awards in that time has been amazing.”
Drop Bear’s 100 per cent natural beers with punchy, exciting flavour profiles have gained a growing legion of fans. While below 0.5% ABV, the beer’s vegan, gluten-free, and low-calorie credentials have captured the zeitgeist of the drinks market.
They are hoping to expand their fan-base even further, having secured their first export orders.
Says Joelle, “We’ve started exporting to Germany and Spain, and in Canada, we’ve just been listed with the country’s only online alcohol-free retailer, Sober Dry.
“Other countries are in our sights too, and we’re looking to break into the Australian market next year.”
Meanwhile, Drop Bear has successfully adapted its sales approach to a UK market and drinks sector that’s had to respond to Covid-19.
“We’ve expanded our UK online trade presence, and that’s going very well. With usual promotional activities curtailed by coronavirus, we’ve switched the focus of our marketing to social media.
“We enjoy meeting and interacting with people, so we do miss that social aspect. However, connecting with people through social media has given us some fantastic feedback from an even broader audience – and we are loving hearing about their Drop Bear beer experiences.
“We’re super excited about the coming weeks too, as we’re due to launch our fourth Drop Bear beer very soon!”