They say that you shouldn’t believe everything you see in the movies. It isn’t because our lives don’t have all the twists and turns of a Universal Studios rollercoaster, and it isn’t because we don’t have tales of love gained and love lost worthy of an Oscar. We believe it’s because the movie version of events very often can’t hold a candle to the real thing. Sometimes, and we love it when this happens, life truly is stranger than fiction.
Buy a Ticket, pick up a Brew (and maybe some popcorn) and get comfortable – Stalybridge-based TicketyBrew are an infusion of theatrics, a little bit of romance and beer that’s good enough to have a Hollywood film made about it – *crunch*.
The plot begins with founders Duncan and Keri Barton. Allow us to set the scene. They wanted a flexible and creative way of living whilst raising their kids, and both were feeling increasingly dissatisfied with their careers. With a young family and a bright future, they wanted to make sure the best part of their lives was spent doing something that inspired them. So, like all those wouldbe brewers dream of doing, they bit the proverbial beer-soaked bullet and called it quits on their everyday jobs. For Duncan, he was about to leave a completely different world behind.
“Duncan had been an actor from an early age, but he had decided it wasn’t for him anymore,” explains Keri, encouraging us to check him out in Agent Z and the Penguins from Mars on YouTube – a cult classic to kids of a certain generation. “I wasn’t enjoying my career and also wanted to see my kids more.
“One of our great loves has always been beer and, after brainstorming all our options, we believed starting a brewery would allow us to have a job that we enjoyed, while giving us the flexibility we craved.”
The name TicketyBrew is a gentle nod to the acting career of Duncan’s which spanned appearances across a host of kids shows and films; the ‘phoenix-from-the-flames’ of a closed chapter in their lives. Their branding, design and message follows this and acts as a cinema-infused mash-up of great beer and great passions. And what fairy tale storyline wouldn’t be complete without that passion and maybe a little romance? Well, this blockbuster doesn’t disappoint.
“We started TicketyBrew on 14 February 2013. The brewery was built during the day and then the first brew took place throughout the night. It was a very romantic Valentine’s, as you can imagine,” laughs Keri.
“We started from a love of Belgian beer, our greatest love is Belgian yeast and we use it in most of our beers. We find that the spicy phenols of our house yeast make our beers taste really special but, to do this, we have to make a really well-balanced beer. With IPAs, we have to use a tad less hops than some breweries to create a hoppy beer that isn’t fighting, so to speak, with our yeast.”
As with all good love stories, the setting also has a special place in the heart of our two starry-eyed lovers. This love of Belgian yeast and beer may be the origin story of their crafty creations but their home of Stalybridge makes for iconic setting, and acts as the namesake of their stunning new beer range.
“The Staly Series has launched this year and is going down a storm,” explains Keri. “We have a lovely IPA called Viva La Stalyvegas, a West Coast pale called Yanks for the Memories, a double hop pale – Gertcha! – that changes each month, a golden bitter called Plug Riot and an East India porter called Cotton Panic. And they are all named from fun facts about Stalybridge.”
That’s right. This new range is named in homage to everything from a rumoured Chaz and Dave commercial shoot in a local pub (Gertcha!) to the town’s old nickname (Viva La StalyVegas), to the fact that the 1979 Richard Gere movie Yanks was filmed there (Yanks for the Memories). It’s a creative way to incorporate their love of their hometown into their marketing and is a subtle sub-plot, toasting the inspiration behind what they do.
In this month’s TicketyBrew takeover, expect a broad cross section of Belgian inspired beers, some reinterpretations of classic styles and beers that are delightfully creative, and utterly original. As Keri says: “Basically, don’t expect a box of standard IPAs and pale ales – albeit, we’ve dropped a few in for good measure.”
It’s beer made with hardworking, painstaking love.
A romantic love story where everything really is TicketyBrew, where the end product is a convergence and celebration of the different strands and storylines that make up the lives of those behind the brewery. Love, history and home. Believe us. This story has it all.
Luckily for beer fans, the TicketyBrew tale is far from reaching its dramatic climax. Keri says: “At the moment, we are just trying to manage all new orders, and concentrate on quality and consistency. We have a fab plan in place for 2018, full of wonderful beers to keep us occupied with, as well as a wonderful range of core beer that keep us busy.”
For now, it’s very much to be continued…