Passionate brewer Alexis Jones has been cooking up a great 2016 for his company, Mad Dog Brewing.
The Goytre company is currently brewing the official beer for the National Eisteddfod 2016 which will be staged in nearby Abergavenny. Europe’s biggest cultural festival is expected to welcome 160,000 visitors between July 29 and August 6.
He’s also poised to take on his first two staff, both experienced brewers, and to expand into a nearby unit as his business grows. He also has plans to open a family venue in Abergavenny.
The company’s beers can now be bought across South Wales. Mad Dog Brewing supplies Wetherspoon’s pubs from Llanelli in the west to the English border in Monmouthshire.
It’s a DIY success story born from home-brewing in his kitchen after watching a number of videos on YouTube. After learning his trade, qualifying in microbiology for brewing, and working for a brewery in Caerphilly, he started his own company just two years ago.
Now, he’s begun his eight brews of the Eisteddfod beer Iechyd Da, a red ale which tastes of oranges and chocolate and has a spicy finish on the tongue.
“It’s clean and crisp and is 4.1%,” he says.
The beer has a lower AVB than some other craft ales because it is designed to be a refreshing drink for the Eisteddfod maes, where Mad Dog will have a bar. It will also be sold in bars in South Wales.
The brewery is making 160 casks for the festival, along with 1,000 500ml bottles.
Iechyd Da will be launched at The Bridge in Llanfoist on June 4 – and Alexis will also be showing off one of his most popular beers, Bohemian Hipster.
“I was asked to brew the beer by Monmouthshire Council. When I first got the email, I thought it was a wind-up, but I went to a meeting two days later and found out it was serious,” Alexis says.
“As well as having a bar on the Eisteddfod field, we’ll be staging a brewing demonstration on the first Saturday of the festival.”
The event will provide a huge audience for Mad Dog’s beers – and a massive boost to the company’s profile.
The secret to Mad Dog’s success is the fact Alexis is a perfectionist who uses unusual and local produce, like juniper berries and granola, as part of the brewing process to create unusual and delicious tastes.
The brewery carries out a pilot brew on its ales as they perfect the recipes, ensuring all its beers meet Alexis’s exacting standards. Even its used mash doesn’t go to waste – it becomes cattle feed for a nearby beef farm.
The brewery is planning its own beer festival with guest ales from around the UK in September at its site in Goytre, to raise funds for mental health charity MIND.
In July, Mad Dog will also be involved in a ‘tap takeover’ at Cardiff’s Urban Tap House, and Alexis is in the process of planning a Christmas event too.
“Our two new brewers start work in the next few months, which will help us meet the growing demand for our beers,” Alexis says.
He can’t reveal more details about his plan for an Abergavenny venue as yet – watch this space!
For more details about Mad Dog’s beers go to http://maddogbrew.co.uk/
Maria Williams is a copywriter, professional blogger, and PR for small business: www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk