Craft brewers are the type of businesses that love to collaborate. Working with like-minded breweries on seasonal beers not only helps boost creativity and innovation, but it also introduces them to new customers and markets. But what about when two companies from completely different industries form a partnership? Indeed, what happens when beer meets tech?
That’s something that the Rising Sons Brewery in Cork sought to discover following an approach by Voxpro – powered by TELUS International back in 2015, asking them to produce a speciality beer that staff could enjoy at company events. It wasn’t your average ask, but it was something that Rising Sons General Manager Judy Wilkins was keen to take on.
“For us, Voxpro was a great, young, dynamic company that treated their workforce really well,” says Wilkins when I meet her in the Rising Sons brewpub on Cornmarket Street. “That’s important when you look at a company with which you are going to pair. They had a good ethos and we have that too.”
Voxpro went about establishing a committee and met with Wilkins and the brewery staff regularly to decide on how best to proceed with the project. The result was the production of a traditional Irish lager called ‘The Crafty Chameleon’.
“Obviously, you’re going to have a lot of different taste ranges so the best thing to brew is something that appeals to most people,” explains Wilkins. “That’s not going to be anything huge in ABV or something that contains any ingredients that are going to be ‘offensive’. What we decided we would do is brew a lager.”
Voxpro provided its new beer on draught at a number of events that year including at its distinctive summer party where, that evening, tech and beer formed a formidable partnership.
Wilkins reflects favourably on the collaboration and the opportunities it presented. “What was great for us at the time was that it was allowing us to get our beer to that market in Voxpro,” she says. “These were people that maybe didn’t live in town, who didn’t know about the Rising Sons so it really allowed us to get in there and that was fantastic.
“We were two different companies but there were great similarities in us,” she adds. “There was a lot of positivity coming out of Voxpro. You heard about it a lot and it was always in a positive light. We weren’t long open ourselves and were looking for that same positivity. I think Voxpro had that. I liked the cut of their jib!”
From Strength to Strength
As for the Rising Sons, the brewery, which shares the same site as its café and bar, has been going from strength to strength in recent years. Having only been in existence since 2014, it already has a string of accolades to its name. Its most recent achievements came at the 2018 World Beer Awards in London where it bagged gold medals in six different categories. The brewery won the top award for its Mi Daza Stout, Sunbeam Pilsner, Grainiú Ale Belgian Style Wheat Ale, Steeple American Amber Ale, Ostara Berliner-Style Sour Wheat Ale and Changeling Session Pale Ale, which gives you some idea about the range of beers being produced there.
Dubbed the big beer with small batches, production at the Rising Sons is almost at capacity. With a selection of its beers now available in over 25 pubs, the demand for more production is certainly there, and the company which currently employs 26 staff will need to consider further expansion.
Meanwhile, Wilkins is not ruling out another foray into the world of tech in the near future. However, any such move will be put on hold while the Rising Sons works on its other collaborations. At present, the brewery is partnering with another craft brewer called YellowBelly on its Grand Parade Session IPA, which is available in selected off-licences, while it is also collaborating with Soma Coffee Company to produce a coffee flavoured stout.
“For us, we absolutely love doing specials and collaborations, it’s our passion!” says Wilkins. “The Voxpro partnership was short-lived but was really good fun. We made a good fit so it’s not something we’d rule out doing again.”
Voxpro and the Rising Sons made quite a fit. If you think you’d be a good fit for us, check out our career openings here. For more information on the Rising Sons Brewery and its selection of beers visit here.