28th May 2015
Interview: Byrne The Cake – The Levenshulme Brewer
In March 2015, Dave Foulger introduced his vision for a Levenshulme based microbrewery in front of a large, thirsty crowd of funding voters. Since his success in bidding for the Levy Market fund, we catch up with the ‘Byrne the Cake’ brewer to find out how he plans to make his dreams become beer.
Tell us a little about yourself? What’s your background and what brings you to Levy?
Well I am a chef by trade and have just recently bought a house in the area. I was drawn to the area through friends moving here and hearing about the community feel of Levenshulme. I have been totally blown away by the support I have already received in my new venture.
What the eck does ‘Byrne the Cake’ mean?
Byrne the Cake was a nickname of my late grandfather who is someone I’m massively inspired by. It was during time spent with him in the summer and Christmas holidays when younger that I was first introduced to the art of brewing ale and wine so it seemed fitting to name it after him.
The art of a good brew is not an easy task so how did you get started in the brewing game and what have you learned so far?
I always liked the idea of being self sufficient in some way, shape or form whether it was growing veg or perhaps brewing beer so my initial intention was to brew beer meaning I wouldn’t have to buy it. I find the process of brewing very much like following a recipe at work and the final outcome just as rewarding and just like a recipe, the slightest tweak or introduction of a different ingredient can completely change the dynamic of the end product.
How is the process of making your own brewing house on a budget working out?
I think to start off with simple kit on a budget will help in my development as a brewer and I think when the time comes to expand it will certainly help me to appreciate where the business started off in a humbling kind of way.
Why do you think Levenshulme needs it own beer?
Why not? I think Levenshulme already has a good tradition of quality artisan products being made in the area, but great ale is not one of them.
What are your favourite craft beers on the local circuit and are there any models near or far that inspire you?
I think Greater Manchester and Salford has probably the greatest collection of craft brewers in the country right now. Big statement I know but the beer scene is booming up here. You’ve obviously got the recently opened Cloudwater who exploded onto the map a few months back who seem to be doing really well at such an early stage. You’ve also got people like Blackjack, Marble, First Chop, Squawk, Chorlton, Tickety Brew doing great things consistently which is what I aspire to be doing.
Through visiting Copenhagen a couple of times I got to sample the delights of Mikkeller. I’d imagine these guys are the inspiration to a lot of brewers/breweries as they are constantly evolving and never seem to be resting on their laurels. They too started brewing to save themselves money at first but realised that they could brew beer that tasted so much better than the stuff you could buy down the supermarket and for a fraction of the cost. They are now world renowned and brewing in several different countries and are always collaborating with other great brewers.
What can we look forward to from our very own brewing aficionado in the months to come?
Well the plan is to be selling my wares on Levenshulme Market as soon as possible so at the moment I am working on three beers which, once I’m happy with them, will be the three that I launch my stall with. I obviously have ideas about expanding the business in the future but for now I am concentrating on creating a product that I am happy with and one that people will buy and hopefully keep coming back for. I’m also working on some beer related food items which I’m really excited about and can’t wait for people to taste.
Lastly, what three words sum up Levenshulme for you?
Community, Independent, Welcoming.
Thanks to Dave Foulger at Byrne the Cake for taking the time to share your story with Love Levenshulme. Cheers!