Alumni Open Craft Brewery in Reading

Luci Clayton Jones and husband, Mike

Mike & Luci Clayton-Jones (nee Drake), Cartmel college alumni, have opened their own brewery, Double-Barrelled Brewery Ltd, producing over 16,000 pints a month, selling beer across the country to pubs & bars, from a 15BBL brewery based in Reading. 

Mike (who studied Philosophy from 2005-2008) and Luci (who studied Marketing Management from 2006-2010) met at the bar in Cartmel college, and have been together ever since.

"After university, we followed very un-beer related career paths with Mike joining the graduate scheme with DHL focusing on logistics and Luci entering the graduate scheme at 3M focusing on Brand Management.

The whole concept of Double-Barrelled began from our wedding back in 2015, when Mike, a keen homebrewer at the time, and I, decided to gift a beer as our wedding favour. We called it Double-Barrelled as a nod to Mike’s double-barrelled surname and we brewed it, labelled it and packaged it and loved the whole process. Working together with our very different skill sets was an advantage and there was something great about creating your own product with passion. 

We reached a point in our careers that we realised we could take the plunge at doing something different and still have built up a career history. At the time, Luci was working as a Brand Manager for a food and drink FMCG company & Mike was a consultant for an global consultancy firm, so it felt like less of a risk career wise.

We decided use the time to do in depth research into breweries, gaining inspiration from the beer industries in different countries and speaking to hundreds of brewers about their set up, best practices and so on. We then started on a small commercial scale, selling about 3 kegs at a time, working in a small 150L brewery based in our garage, all whilst working at the same time.

These first tests really helped us understand the commercial viability of our recipes, and allowed us to exhibit at a big trade and consumer beer show in London, where we got some great feedback on our beers, giving us the push we needed to go bigger.

We now operate out of a 6,600sqft warehouse, on 24hl kit with 4 fermenters and employ a team of 4 people to help with everything from brewing to selling, as well as help with our on site taproom.

We have been on this site for just over an year and so far things to be going well! Incredibly we won a Pride of Reading Award for Entrepreneur of the Year and our beers have already been sold across the country and to a number of European countries. We have been helped by a lot of Lancaster alumni along the way too, who have helped us from selling, accountancy, packaging and of course a lot of taste quality control!

Of course there has been heaps of hard work and ridiculously long days, but starting a manufacturing business from scratch was never going to be easy.

We produce a wide range of beers from more conventional stouts and pales ales, to fruited sours and highly hopped double-IPAs. Pretty much every week we are busy releasing new beers, creating new recipes and developing our skill set.

Our plans are to keep continue producing great beers and increase our sales so that we can stay in business during these turbulent times. We have just started working with a distributor who covers the Lancashire area, so hopefully we’ll be able to start seeing our beers in pubs and bars in Lancaster soon. Perhaps one day we’ll see our beer on Cartmel College bar, to take us back to where we first met! "

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