MCR Union Lager
Not content with being the marketing whizz at Skiddle and running excellent events like Highest Point Festival, Jamie founded Manchester Union Brewery with pal Will Evans in 2018. We caught up to chat all things beer and Exhibition…
How did you guys get involved at Exhibition?
“After hearing that a new bar was opening just off Peter Street and was looking for a local lager served in tanks, we were interested straight away. This was something we’d never done before, but the more we learnt about the plans for the kitchens we knew we had to find a way to make it happen – our lager is perfect for food pairings. We had our initial meetings with the team and completely bought into their ethos and vision. We were all mega excited to see this project come to fruition.”
Tell us a bit about the beer..
“Our lager is unique as we use a decoction method of brewing (we’re only one of a handful of breweries in the UK can do this). This is the European style of brewing, giving the lager its’ full flavour. We’re Manchester’s only craft lager brewery, we don’t brew anything else. You could say lager is in our blood… and well, we drink enough so it probably is!”
Why are the tanks such a big deal?
“Once we brew our beer, and it spends time lagering in our tanks – the clock is basically ticking from the moment it goes into keg. We generally do pretty well with this as we only deliver our beer in Manchester, meaning that our pilsner is generally delivered 1-10 days after kegging. Compare this to larger lager brands – they produce stock all day long, keg it into their holding stock, push it to their supply chain, and then move it to a wholesaler’s holding stock where they might stay for a while before finally moving to bars at around a few months old. By this time, hop character depletes and often off-flavours form. The quicker we can get beer into bars the better!
There’s a number of upsides to our pilsner served in tanks. Instead of kegging 10 kegs at a time, we transfer via one 500L tank, decreasing the number of touch points that we use. Every time a tank is delivered, our logistical partners clean & test the beer lines ensuring the cleanest possible delivery of the beer. The lager is drawn from our tanks in the brewery and delivered direct to Exhibition within 30 minutes! If you happen to be in Exhibition on the day a delivery has been made, you’re drinking our beer less than one day old. That’s pretty special – none of the big lagers can do this, not one.”
What excites you the most about Exhibition?
“For us the most exciting part of this partnership is the focus on locality. The kitchens have a focus on locality, the arts and entertainment schedule has a focus on locality, and championing a local lager instead of another import shows a focus on locality. We’re proud to be a Manchester brand and hugely proud of Manchester, it has a spirit all of its’ own. Visitors want a taste of the local, and if that taste is fresher and better than your generic lager, then we all win.
The venue is amazing. As well as the tank beer, there are some great beers and other drinks available. The food offering gets us equally excited… some very, very good independent kitchens in one place is a real attraction and unique for Manchester.”