Have you ever wondered what all the hype is about craft beer? Do you want to know what defines craft beer? Check out this exclusive interview with Luke Yardley, co-founder of one of HK’s most well-known craft breweries. Yardley Brothers Craft Brewery
What is craft beer and what is the scene like in HK?
It can be described simply as ‘a craft’, something just like “arts and crafts”, something that you create and something that is not mass produced, it would be more specialized, unique, and individual.
The scene has grown massively over the last eight years in HK to the point that the city's breweries have started winning multiple international awards. It’s really great to see the response of local businesses and people's continued increasing support. It was amazing to see customers support Yardley Brothers by continuing to purchase orders during the lockdown parts of COVID and while 2020 was tough, 2021 has seen some major increases to the market reopening with live music starting again and general relaxations to restrictions.
Yardley Brothers were exporting to Singapore with a little bit to Australia and Macau, but things have been put on hold during COVID. Big plans to hopefully be in Malaysia next month with Japan, Mainland China, and Taiwan in their crosshairs for new emerging markets.
There is a craft beer association where members get together monthly to plan events together, work on public initiatives, as well as create collaborations with other local brewers. Through the association, there has been interactions with the Government on industrialization grants to promote bigger factories to employ locals, even recycling initiatives and bottle tax conversations.
What was the inspiration behind Yardley Brothers?
It was founded by Luke and his brother who first started homebrewing in their living room and is now run by a lot of ‘brothers from another mother’ also known as some of his best friends. It started out as just something they would do on weekends, selling beers out of a local restaurant on Lamma Island to bring in a bit of extra cash. It got to the point where it made more sense to fully focus on brewing beer for a living and open a full-scale craft brewery.
What makes Yardley Brothers unique?
What you're tasting is exactly what Luke makes, he is still the one to create all the recipes from scratch. Yardley Brothers beers are a reflection of his creativity and he is certainly one to push boundaries while not compromising on quality.
One such creation is the popular Thai Chilli Getaway Chilli Basil Sour, packed with fresh basil and chilli aromas and a perfect balance of spicy and sour flavours.
They have one of the largest barrel-aging programs in Hong Kong with a variety of barrels from French Burgundy, Sauterne, and Chardonnay wines, to cognac, bourbon, port, and even maple syrup. They are currently able to fit in about 12,000 litres of production per month and planning to increase that significantly.
They are challenging the concept that beer is simple and cheap. They recently had an eight-course pairing menu in collaboration with Michelin-starred restaurant Roganic.
In collaboration with Double Haven Brewing, they have created a green initiative where anybody can go pick up some trash on a beach, take a selfie and claim the first round of beers as a reward. Check out more info at the link.
How can we get our hands on a nice cold beer?
Direct at their web shop - delivers throughout HK. Also, their very own bar “The Beer Shack” on Lamma Island as well as many bars around HK, including The Roundhouse, The Globe, Once You Go Craft, and even City’super supermarket.
Do you have your own brewery? Can we visit?
Located in Kwai Hing, they have brewery tours open to the public at the end of each month. Book on their website ASAP because they sell out fast. There are only a few spots left for September. At only $300 a ticket, you are in for a real crafty treat and guaranteed a fun time, with unlimited tastings, history, production notes, and an all-access tour of the brewery.