With a striking name that will not leave your mind even after downing a couple of their well-crafted beers, the Blue Monkey Brewery is celebrating their fifteenth birthday this year. We spoke to Laura Beavon-Lee, sales manager at the brewery, about the brand’s legacy, future aspirations and some of their most memorable moments over the years…
Congratulations on ten years! Could you take us through the story of how Blue Monkey Brewery came to be?
We are a Nottinghamshire brewery and we have been brewing our popular beers since August 2008. We started out in Ilkeston and due to high demand, we soon had to move to larger premises in Giltbrook back in 2010 to allow for us to increase our brewing capacity. To add a new dimension to the brewery, we have introduced a selection of exceptional craft cans to our ever-growing range of products.
How did you come up with the name ‘Blue Monkey’ for the brewery?
Blue Monkey Brewery is a family-owned business, and our name originates from a childhood memory of seeing the blue flames from the chimneys of Stanton Ironworks that was fondly nicknamed ‘the blue monkeys’, which later on became our name.
The Blue Monkey pubs are each called The Organ Grinder. It’s a curious name - is there a story behind that?
Our well-known name was given to each of our pubs in relation to the phrase ‘Speak to the grinder, not the monkey.’
With fifteen years of successful business, what would you consider to be your biggest achievement?
Our biggest achievement would be owning four of our own pubs located in Nottingham, Loughborough, Newark, and Arnold, showcasing all our products. We are proud of the multiple awards that we have won over the years for both our ales and spirit range, and we have also formed a strong relationship with Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) over the years and have been one of the main sponsors for the annual Nottingham Beer Festival where we usually put up a brewery bar. So, look out for us this year!
What has been the best-selling drink on the menu in the last fifteen years?
Our best selling and most-loved drink is our multi-award winning BGsips which is a four percent pale ale and intensely hoppy beer. The Brewers Gold hops that we use in our recipe impart enticing, tropical fruit aromas and a lovely thirst-quenching bitterness to the brew.
Our name originates from a childhood memory of seeing the blue flames from the chimneys of Stanton Ironworks that was fondly nicknamed ‘the blue monkeys’
Can you recollect any particularly memorable moments you cherish from over the years?
Several of our most memorable moments over the years are from attending beer festivals where we enjoy meeting our existing supporters as well as making new Blue Monkey followers. We have also joined hands with fellow breweries over the years to create some exciting collaboration brews, which we plan on doing more of in the future.
Have you got anything special planned to celebrate your birthday?
We will be getting together to have a celebratory drink as a team and reflect on the memories from over the years!
Finally, what is your vision for the next fifteen years? Are there any plans for further expansion, such as introducing new drinks to the menu or opening pubs in new venues?
Due to the increase in production, we purchased an additional unit in Ilkeston last year to use as storage. This allowed us to make way for our in-house canning line that we are constantly using to produce new cans. So, keep an eye on this space for more specials appearing soon! As for new pubs, we are looking at taking on a new one in the near future. Our goal for the next ten to fifteen years is to keep making irresistible craft beers and spirits!
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