THE TEMPEST STORY
FROM A GARAGE IN NEW ZEALAND...
“We were making beer in New Zealand and my friends would come over from Scotland and ask why they couldn’t buy beer like this back home,”
Gavin and Annika Meiklejohn met in a brewpub in Canada before travelling the world together and finally settling down in New Zealand. It was there, while working as a chef, that Gavin began home brewing in their garage in Christchurch.
That was all the motivation needed to move back to Scotland and make beers that could match the quality of Gavin’s culinary creations.
Then, In April 2010 they set up a ten barrel brewery in a disused dairy and the Tempest story begins.
THE BEER IS POURING
Things started to quickly fall into place and the Tempest brand began to emerge...
"We wanted to incorporate a brand identity for the brewery that highlighted the creativity of the brewing process. The name Tempest suited the way I approach making beer; it enables us to brand the brewery and then release different beers under the Tempest umbrella and, most importantly, it enables me to have a monster on the pump clip"
I’m not a ‘comfort’ brewer in that I’m not interested in creating a beer and sitting back and thinking: that is all the hard work done"
As a cult following began to assemble, so too did the brewing philosophy.
The importance of challenging your own ideas and constantly innovating became cornerstones for this fledgling brewery. Putting the emphasis on brewing with the biggest flavour possible became the touchstone... Dry hopping, specialist malts and sourcing expensive New Zealand and American hop varieties. This was purely about making the best beer we could imagine.
BIG IN JAPAN (WELL... ROMANIA, SERBIA AND SINGAPORE)
Gavin may have hung up his chef's whites, but his respect for ingredients and knowledge of flavour combinations would begin to influence the beers we were making, smokey beers, chilli beers, fruit beers... nothing was off limits.
The line between creativity and gimmickry is a fine one but we made beers then, like now, simply because we wanted to drink them. And as luck would have it, other people wanted to drink them too and orders started to come in from random outposts across Europe and even Asia. It almost became easier to pick up a bottle of Long White Cloud in Bucharest than it was in Glasgow.
Our reputation for making big beers started to precede us and we were pushing our Kelso brewery to the absolute limits trying to keep up with demand. It became undeniable that we had to move the operation to somewhere bigger and quickly at that. We knew we weren't going to move far, because the water in the borders was exceptionally good and soft (and the idea of carting all our brewery equipment across the country didn't particularly excite us) and in late 2014 we signed the lease for a new 30HL brewery in Tweedbank with more space for more brewing and a new bottling line.
From our new brewhouse came new beers (a lot of them) and new branding.
Having struggled with the limitations of the old dairy farm, this felt like a real turning point for the brewery and the right time to begin carving out our own territory in what was fast becoming an extremely crowded space. New for 2015 was an oyster stout made with 200 fresh Lindisfarne oysters - that should do it.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO...
We know it's crass to talk about the awards you've won but 2016 was a year when we seemed to be picking up an award every other week. There's nothing like a bit of industry recognition to make you appreciate how far you've come. Equally there's nothing like a bit of industry recognition to give way to complacency.
And just as we started to believe our own bullshit, we remembered why we started to do this in the first place... to make the beer we want to drink right now, not what we think a judging panel wants us to make.
In 2017 we threw open the brewery doors, put a marquee up in the estate and hosted the inaugural Springfest and Oktoberfest festivals. Would anyone come? Unsurprisingly people will flock to an industrial estate in the name of good beer, good beer, good music and good vibes. Our festivals have grown every year since and now both Springfest and Oktoberfest have become mainstays in the craft beer calendar.
A small brewery from the Scottish Borders is named in RateBeer's 100 best breweries in the world.
BREWING FOR GOOD
In 2019 we became the first brewery in the UK to join 1% for the planet and donate 1% of our sales through a mix of monetary, in-kind and approved promotional support to environmental non-profits. This means getting involved in various projects to offset our carbon footprint and connecting with local environmental causes.*
*We don't like to talk about our charity work either.