The Gainford Beer Cooperative is formed from fun, friendship and a love of beer.
Having spent many years on the wrong side of a keg conducting "in-depth market research" i happened up beer brewing.
One of my team (i worked for a large corporation) was, on the quiet, an avid home brewer producing outstanding beers. He very kindly took me under his wing and showed me the basics of the "chuck it in a bucket" method of brewing.
He showed me that beer was a mixture of science and art. He taught me that there are few fundamentals you must get right to succeed and myriad nuances you must learn to understand as you dance the dance of beer making.
I quickly learned that beer making is a forgiving process and that making an acceptable beer is relatively easy , but that making the beer you want is hard.
I would like to point out however that it is a rewarding experience. I found that making beer was a way to escape a work - it forces you to slow down and enjoy a bit of breathing space as you make a batch.
Trial and effort
For the next 6+ years i spent time experimenting. Whilst beer only has 4 core constituent parts:-
the permutations of output is mind-blowing - given that there are volume of hop varieties available, their discrete flavour profiles and subsequent recipe combinations would take many lifetimes to create even before one considers beer styles, yeast and the myriad different grains.
I am fortunate enough to live in Gainford, in Teesdale, its beautiful soft country with excellent water (front he mighty Tees) and is in an area known for barley growing.
It is here i started brewing beers, i have a top secret "sanctuary" where i have a small pilot plant which allows for the development of trial recipes.
Frankly some of the early attempts were more than a little rubbish. I of course imposed my creations on my friends, who kindly gave me constructive feedback, whilst taking tentative sips and providing a polite explanation as to why they couldn't finish it.
Beer making, like friends, is thankfully forgiving and within no time at all (to my recollection anyway) quality beer was pouring forth.
6 to 7 seven years of development continued, as i became increasingly popular with friends and dog walkers - who seemed increasingly to pop in when i was brewing and walk away with some samples.
In 2013 i was offered the opportunity to "escape the corporate rat race" via the medium of redundancy and i decided to take the plunge.
The - GBC was born
So what a cooperative ? Well its simple really, non of this would have happened without the input, support and cooperation of a team of people.
My long suffering wife, and friends whom have to listen on extensive lectures on yeast.
Oscar, Amber & Roxy whom are required to keep me company when i am brewing test recipes.
The Spent Mash Disposal `Squad whom are invaluable as part of our zero waste process.
The Dave's (there are many) whom work on label design, web design and general Dave based advice (if you don't have a Dave in your life then you need at least 1, preferably a minimum of 3)
Linda, my editor (i do a little bit of journalism and beer writing) for