“2011 is going to be a big year for us at Thornbridge,” says Simon Webster, director of the brewery, “and as we expanded the brew team it was key that we brought in the correct people.” Thornbridge have recently added Rob Lovatt, previously from Meantime, and Coalan Vaughan, previously from Little Creatures in Australia, and now they’ve added another name... Dominic Driscoll from Marble Brewery.
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“I've loved being a Marble brewer, and have never been unhappy in all the 5 years I've worked there,” says Dominic. “It seemed a monumental decision at the time but in the past week I've realised it's an unbelievable opportunity to work at a seriously impressive brewery.” He adds: “You'd have to be a fairly stupid brewer not to want to work at Thornbridge, as it's probably the most innovative and creative brewery the UK has seen.”
“Because brewing is hard work and we're a small team [at Marble], we've spent far too much time in the same room and have thus become a bit like Morecambe and Wise in the breakfast scene. We've had an amazing time together, built a new brewery, made it a success, expanded production, started exporting, and of course made some great beer.”
Dominic’s favourite achievements at Marble include “smashing sales targets, 'meet the brewer' at Cask, brewing Vuur & Vlam and showcasing at the De Molen festival,” but the best moments “were always the beer tastings we did every week. This helped us improve every aspect of our beer-making and tweaked ordinary beers into something of which we could be proud.”
There’s lots of things he’ll miss from Marble, including the Marble Arch, Colin Stronge his fellow brewer, Jan Rogers, owner of the brewery, and there’s also some exciting projects in the pipeline which he would like to have brewed. As for the beer, what was the best he brewed at Marble? “Probably the Special 2009,” a 10.5% barley wine. “I didn't sleep properly for a week whilst it was fermenting. If you have a waxed top bottle, you should bloody keep hold of it!”
It’s a big change for two of the highest regarded breweries in the UK. “We have a great relationship with Marble,” explains Simon Webster, “and I was very keen that it shouldn't be affected so we said to Dom to take as long as they needed him before coming over to us.”
Dominic will join Thornbridge in the New Year. “I can't wait to start work at Thornbridge and be part of their plans for the future, and whilst it'll be hard graft, I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. The next few years will be amazing!”
Marble Brewery have built up a great range of quality beers and I’m sure they will continue to brew fantastic pints, grow and get even better. As for Thornbridge, I think Simon says it perfectly: “I can honestly say that if we would have had a free pick of any of the upcoming brewers in the country Dom would have been top of list!”
Best of luck to Dominic. He’s a great guy and will do great things at Thornbridge, just like he did at Marble.
Imagine Wayne Rooney left Manchester United and joined Chelsea... This is big news, right?