The UK beer scene has taken a rollercoaster ride over the last 10 years, and there is no better illustration of that than looking at the size, scale and reputation of the breweries that launched the Rainbow Project back in 2012. Back then our scene here was bubbling under, with small breweries finding traction and growing their reputations on home shores and in their local markets primarily. We looked elsewhere for inspiration, influenced by the worlds best breweries based around the globe but primarily in the US. There was a very definite perception that if beer was foreign it was better. I have always felt that the Rainbow Project was the beginning of the turning of the tide, with small UK breweries reaching out to world class international partners, building relationships, learning lessons and creating a presence on the world scene. Looking at the UK scene today is hardly recognisable to the one that existed back then and it’s hard to believe that it’s only 6 years that have passed. We have a burgeoning scene, highly respected the world over with new, full of potential breweries opening every week. The Rainbow Project helped shape that development, and created a wave that every brewery since has ridden upon.
When I met Darron from Siren at London Craft Beer Festival last month we spoke about the impact the project has had into the scene over the years it’s been in existence. We also spoke about how it was a shame that something with such gravity and impact, and something that has been genuinely innovative was going to cease to be. He also mentioned that during another conversation that same day someone had mentioned the opportunity to perhaps pass the project on to a new generation of young breweries. To allow them the opportunity to reach out to the wider world and continue on the presence and platform on the world stage that the Rainbow Project has created. The conversations that followed have led to Sirens blog post today, and to this blog post I am writing now.
We at LHG are massively honoured to have been passed such a brightly burning torch by Darron at Siren, but also by the teams at Magic Rock, Buxton, Partizan, Wild Beer, Hawkshead and Beavertown. Huge thanks also has to go to Ryan Witter-Merithew, the man who conceived the project and whose skill, reputation and contacts created the gravity that helped propel the project to international fame.
We aim to pull together a group of breweries all around our age (3 years) or younger. It is our intention we will manage the project with the 6 breweries we choose for the next 3 years, before passing it on to the next generation of young breweries. It is the hope of ourselves and of the Rainbow Projects founding breweries that we can create a constantly rotating field of young UK breweries, allowing the best new breweries of their generation a platform to reach out to the world scene.
Siren have done such a stellar job of managing and growing the project throughout the last 6 years that it is a massively intimidating job to take the reigns, and begin to pull together the class of 2019 through 2021. I hope that we can repay the belief and faith that Darron has shown by passing the project to us, by living up to the standards that they themselves have set. It is my hope that we, and the breweries who join us, can have even a fraction of the impact the Rainbow Project’s founding breweries have had into the UK scene in the coming years.
We’ll be announcing our UK partner breweries in the coming weeks, and our international partner breweries in the next months. Keep your eyes on our social media for announcements, we look forward to sharing the progress of the project with you!
Bruce and Team LHG.