Luckie Ales brewery insight
I talked to Martin Doherty (M) from Luckie Ales brewery to find out more about his beers and what inspires him to brew Luckie Ales.
D:How did you get into brewing?
M: Despite being a fan of real ale for many years, I hadn’t considered brewing since a disastrous attempt as a student using a kit bought from Boots. Then, in 2011 I tried a homebrewed beer at a barbeque and was so impressed by the quality I decided to give home brewing another go. Since then I have completed a Masters in Brewing and Distilling and learned my trade at Knops Beer Company for just over a year before taking over Luckie Ales.
D:Why do you brew traditional ales?
M: Mostly down to personal taste - I like to brew beers that I enjoy drinking. Scotland, the UK and Europe have a fantastic brewing heritage and whilst the US influence has revolutionised the beer market in the past 10 years or so, I am always drawn back to more local, traditional styles.
D: Which are your favourite beers from your own portfolio?
M: I would have to say Extra Pale Ale
and Eighty Shilling
. Extra Pale Ale because it was the first of my own recipes that I introduced when I took over Luckie Ales. It was a recipe that I’d been developing for a while and I’m really pleased with the feedback I’ve been getting. Eighty Shilling because it is a style that I love (I used to drink McEwans Export and 80/- in my early drinking years). It is also a challenging beer to brew well due to the dependence on yeast character.
D: Apart from your own, which beers (Scottish, or foreign) do you enjoy the most and why?
M: Definitely the hardest question to answer, as there are so many excellent beers and breweries out there. As a result I’m going to stick to Scotland. In terms of innovation, I love what Pilot are doing with their range (Blond, Mocchacino Stout) as well as their marketing. For something a bit more traditional I really enjoy Knops Musselburgh Broke and Black Cork. Orkney Dark Island has also been a favourite of mine over many years.
D: What's the most challenging part of the job?
M: As a one-man operation, juggling the complexities of running a business alongside the demands of producing beer is a real challenge. It’s also difficult to switch off from thinking about the brewery when I’m supposed to be relaxing!
D: What's the most rewarding part of the job?
M: I really enjoy Farmers Markets, Craft Fairs and Beer Fairs where I get the chance to chat to customers and get feedback on the beers. I particularly enjoy converting those who don’t consider themselves ale-drinkers to the joys of an Extra Pale Ale, Eighty Shilling or Porter.
D: Where do you see Luckie Ales brewery in a couple of years?
M: Definitely still brewing a wide range of traditional beers. I’d like to expand production capacity a little to enable me to keep up with demand, but that’s going to be a gradual process. I’d also like to have my cask beers available more regularly in pubs.