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Ex-Purity brewer joins Woodforde’s

Norfolk-based brewery Woodforde’s has announced the appointment of Aaron Taubman, formerly of Warwickshire’s Purity, as its new head brewer. 

Taubman spent 10 years at Purity, where he was brewery manager, before leaving the company in November last year – in early January it was announced that the brewery had been acquired by Breal (now rebranded as Keystone Brewing Group).

While several long-standing figures have departed breweries shortly after they were bought by the group, Taubman told the drinks business that the acquisition was not a factor in his decision to make the move to East Anglia from the Midlands: “I wasn’t looking for a new job at the time – but seeing this position at a brewery with a history as rich as Woodforde’s was an opportunity that really excited me, especially considering its ambitious growth plans.”

Woodforde’s began as a commercial operation in 1981 when keen home brewers Ray Ashworth and Dr. David Crease founded the original site in the village of Drayton, close to the Norfolk Broads, with the first batch of Woodforde’s Wherry brewed shortly afterwards. In 1988, having previously relocated to larger site in 1983, Woodforde’s would move to its current home in Woodbastwick.

“I’ve known about the brewery [Woodforde’s] for a long time and having visited the brewery previously, I’ve always been impressed by the beer and kit they have, making the opportunity to work here so appealing,” he continued. “What really excited me was the passion and the ambition that was shown by Woodforde’s, there are some really exciting projects coming up and there is strong growth here with investment for further growth planned, that was a major factor in the decision to join the Woodforde’s team.”

Prior to his time at Purity, Taubman also worked on the other side of the Atlantic at Miller Coors.

“My work there revolved around the quality side of things, and it taught me so much more about the importance of quality and working to the highest standards to make the best product,” he explained. “It was the best ‘higher education’ that you can possibly get in the beer industry. At Miller we talked about quality being ‘unyielding and uncompromising’, and I truly believe in that.”

Among the first projects he will be working on at Woodforde’s is the launch of the new Brewer Signature range. Explaining what the range is, Taubman said: “We asked each team member what they would like to brew and worked with them to create their perfect beer with a brand-new recipe brewed every month. The pump clip for each beer is signed by the brewer who developed the recipe and will include a QR code to a video from the brewer explaining their creations.”

He also expressed a belief that the Brewer Signature range would help to more closely engage consumers with cask ale.

“The way to really give cask a boost is offering drinkers even more exciting styles and I think the Signature range really adds something different to the market and gives customers an insight into the behind the scenes of Woodforde’s. Offering a refreshing twist on what is currently available and really helping to drive the future of cask – something we are keen on doing.”

For the February Brewer Signature offering, Taubman is contributing his own Hopstar, a 3.4% ABV session IPA that he claims tastes “like a 4.5% beer”: “I’ve utilised dextrin and oats to boost up the body and done some tricks in the brewhouse. The beer has been extensively dry hopped with Cryo hops to give it the essential ‘American’ citrussy and dank hop flavour that I love. Other than that, we have used our English kit, house yeast and open fermenters to make the beer. It is very pale in colour and has an excellent frothy head.”

Beyond the new range, Taubman has some big plans for the brewery.

“We’ve got some brilliant brands – with the likes of Wherry, Volt and Nelson’s Revenge to name a few – and we will always work hard to ensure these beers are brewed to the same exacting standards our customers expect. We also have plans for new beers, to look at really driving the brand forward and achieve those ambitious growth plans. There is a real energy in the business and already some new and exciting ranges coming through, but this is just the start, so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for what else Woodforde’s has to offer in the future.”

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