Tarka Four providing tasty support for Exeter Beats

Spring in Devon and this May Bank Holiday comes with a tasty twist. Back for its 16th year and spread out in the heart of the city, the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is a massive showcase for the very best that our region has to offer – both edible and drinkable.

Once again we’re sponsoring Exeter Beats which this year features 3 headline DJ sets. Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones) kicks off Friday night, Radio 1’s Scott Mills takes care of Saturday and fellow jockey Nick Grimshaw wraps up Sunday night. Tarka Four will be ably assisting and providing all the necessary support (….. dancing juice).

All your favourite Otters will be on the bar throughout the weekend waiting to refresh all the parts that need refreshing. As well as the beer, Mum and Dad have chosen the festival to launch New Moon, our first foray into the world of gin. Retirement just somehow seemed to pass them by and they’ve switched brewing for distilling in the middle barn. Come and along and try a little of the ‘Spirit of Otter’ – it’s a zesty little number and a tonic for tired feet.

Check out www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk for all the details. 

Exeter Uni Women’s Rugby set their sights on Twickenham

We’re very proud of our long-standing relationship with the Exeter Chiefs (….. currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premiership) but we also love to get involved at all levels of local rugby.

One of our latest partnerships is with Exeter University Women’s Rugby Club (EUWRFC). In this our second season with them as kit sponsor, we’ve watched their season go from strength to strength in the ‘British Universities and Colleges Sport’ Rugby Union League.

Undefeated all season and current defending champions, after a great run of form, by mid-March it was into the quarter finals against Loughborough. After a convincing demolition job (67-5), a semi-final with Cardiff was on the cards. Another win. Then came the dreamed-of final against Durham at Twickenham – the spiritual home of English rugby.

After some enthralling end-to-end stuff, a closely fought match eventually saw our ladies come out on top (30-26). Cue the celebrations for the back-to-back champions of Britain followed by some well deserved R&R (….. bottles of Otter Bright) on the journey home.

With Twickenham fast becoming a second home for Exeter rugby we’re delighted to be supporting all our local boys and girls – the future’s certainly looking ‘bright’.

Otter Amber takes Gold for the South West

Otter Amber has just won Gold to be named ‘Best Cask British Bitter (up to 4.4%)’ in the South West – not a bad way to celebrate 10 delicious years as top dog in the Otter stable.

The awards, run by the Society of Independent Brewers, took place at the famous Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival in downtown Newton Abbot – a dark and aromatic beer drinker’s nirvana. Already a firm favourite on the South West beer scene, our zesty mid-gravity beer also went on to win Bronze in the ‘Overall Champion of the Cask’ competition from the 263 different cask beers judged this year….. a smooth operator if ever we saw one.

Word on the river bank is that there’s never been a better time to explore the world of Otter – lager or ale, keg or cask, cider or spirit – as a tight-knit team we’re very proud of the brewing heritage that we have. Following on from Tarka Four’s big win in February (….. now officially the ‘UK’s Best Session Lager’) it’s another big well done to our Head Brewer Keith Bennett and his yeastie boys.

Tarka Four voted UK’s ‘Best Session Lager’

Tarka Four has just been named the UK’s ‘Best Regional Session Lager’ at SIBA’s (Society of Independent Brewers) 2019 National Independent Beer Awards.

24 hours later it then won the national ‘Gold Award for Session Lagers & Pilsners up to 4.4%’ – an amazing double that officially makes it the best session lager in the UK!

Following last year’s success at the same awards when Tarka Pure (4.8%) was named best in the UK after winning Gold in the ‘Premium Lager and Pilsners’ class, this takes Devon lager and all our dreams to a different level.

Tarka Four launched at the beginning of March 2018 and has already gained a lot of traction on bars across the South West. It’s been specifically designed for local pubs, clubs, hotels and music venues who want to offer a local alternative to the global beer brands and means that drinkers can now enjoy a couple of pints that have been made right here in Devon.

Working with Cambridge Folk Festival 2019

The beautiful Cherry Hinton Hall site has hosted the Cambridge Folk Festival since 1965 – this is now our fourth consecutive year of supplying beer (and on-site support) to them.

Otter Amber, Ale, Bitter and Bright will all be making the journey upstream for the famous 4-day event which attracts a host of national and international musicians and a sell-out crowd of some 14,000.

With our beers now well established on the busy UK festival circuit we already provide the cask ale infrastructure for the festival bars at Reading, Download, Bestival and Beautiful Days. Sophie Channon, Development Manager for Cambridge Live commented: “To this day the Festival shares much of the same philosophy from the early days, though it has never stopped moving forward and developing, incorporating new ideas and features. Otter with their impressive eco credentials, community spirit and superb beers were the natural fit for us. Here’s to a great festival and plenty of contented revellers.”

We’re very happy to be on board with this beer and music lovers paradise again and can’t wait for the summer to roll around.

Buy ticketes here: https://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/folk-festival/tickets

Brewery joins Exeter Chiefs Foundation XV

The brewery is pleased to announce that we’re one of this season’s 2018/19 Exeter Chiefs Foundation XV members.

Lining up with 15 other prominent Exeter-based businesses including South West Comms, Lympstone Manor, Mercure Southgate, Barratt Homes and Astley Media, for us it’s a natural progression of the long-standing relationship that we enjoy with the rugby club.

As part of our commitment we will be donating £150 from every home game which will go to help assist the work done by the Exeter Chiefs Foundation and all the affiliated charities, local organisations and projects that it supports. To date Foundation XV members have raised in excess of £130,000, £40,000 of this in the last season alone.

It’s great to be a part of such an ongoing success story as we share so many of the same values as the 2017 Premiership Champions. Sandy Park is also a home-from-home for us most weekends as Derek Otter helps to keep fans entertained at half-time.

For more information on the Foundation click here

Proud to be supporting the 2018 Poppy Appeal

Otter is proud to again be at the forefront of raising money for the Poppy Appeal as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

In this our 9th year of supporting The Royal British Legion, we’re encouraging real ale fans across the region to raise a glass for the charity – every little drop will raise cash for those wonderful beneficiaries that the Poppy Appeal looks after.

We have a long-standing tradition of donating 5p from every pint of Poppy Otter sold in pubs throughout Devon, Dorset and Somerset during November and December. This has so far raised more than £12,000.

Carole Arnold, Community Fund Raiser for The Royal British Legion: “This Poppy Appeal, The Royal British Legion is leading the Nation in saying ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation who served, sacrificed and changed our world. On behalf of Devon Poppy Appeal, I would like to thank Otter Brewery for once again choosing to help support us. The money they raise will make it possible for us to provide much-needed help and support to the many thousands of Serving and ex-Service men and women who call on us in their hour of need.”

The Otter Eco Cellar – Celebrating 10 years

Beer is definitely in the blood and there’s a history of brewing going back at least five generations on Mum’s side of the family. But we’re also a forward thinking business with innovation a key driver. Somehow it’s now been ten years since we dug down and the UK’s first eco cellar went up.

With a design that was both respectful to the environment around it and transformative to the backs of our workers, now that we’ve really bonded….. through deep snow, torrential rain and a couple of endless summers, it’s striking how future-proof the cellar still feels today.

Constructed over two years, half of it cleverly sits half underground and is built from honeycomb clay blocks more commonly used in the Alps. From concept to completion, by trapping the sun’s light and heat and building down rather than up, its construction is a testament to intelligent eco design in the 21st century – in the summer months the living sedum roof looks like a Swiss hillside!

With an almost cathedral-like quality it can comfortably hold over 5,000 casks and has all the properties of an ice store in the middle ages. Crowning the upper level is a living sedum roof which recycles rain water without us even knowing it. By going underground we can cleverly use the earth’s core temperature to naturally cool the lower level area to 12°C – the ideal storage temperature for cask ale. A set of inner and outer airtight doors ensures this is maintained throughout the year and really ratchets up its eco credentials.

This infrastructure replaces the need to have 8 chillers and compressors, running 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year – this saves over £27,000 (or around 6½ tonnes of CO2 emissions) per year and helped it win ‘Eco Building of the Year’ at the South West’s 2010 Commercial Property Awards.

Sure, we cannot single handedly save the plant, but we can set an example to others and demonstrate how processes can be managed ecologically and sustainably – the cellar is just one of a long list of green initiatives that you’ll see across our brewery.

Flaming Ale for 2018 Ottery Tar Barrels

The Brewery is proud to once again be a main sponsor of Ottery’s Tar Barrels as the town gets ready to put on another huge visual spectacle.

Every year on November 5th the world famous ‘Flaming Tar Barrels’ are carried through the streets of Ottery St Mary to the delight of thousands of townsfolk and visitors. Much of the behind-the-scenes work in organising everything is overseen by Mike and Jacqui Down, Landlords of The Volunteer Inn and two of the town’s ‘rolling’ veterans.

This year’s event has been the most challenging yet to organise. To cover all the necessary insurance, security, toilet hire and car park lighting, a minimum of £30,000 has to be raised. This is done entirely by the local community throughout the year via communal activities and individual endeavours. Several new developments for 2018 will see the addition of two official outside bars – one at the main bonfire site and one at the Catholic Church – to streamline how refreshments are sold. A reusable cup is also being introduced for the first time to help reduce waste and make the event safer.

Mike explains: “Even though the Tar Barrels has become its own entity and draws in thousands of visitors, every year the paperwork increases and it becomes more difficult to pull off. The town has really gone above and beyond again to help with the fundraising – from sponsored bike rides and long-distance runs to special themed nights in the various pubs. With our position on the committee, Jacqui and I try to help the event move with the times. This year we’ve introduced reusable plastic glasses which will massively reduce litter, reduce trip hazards and save money. Crowd safety is paramount. We also want to safeguard this event for future generations – we both ‘barrel roll’ as do our two sons. The new outside bars that are being run under the umbrella of Ottery Carnival will really help the money generated on the night to stay in the town and then help with the following year.”

This tradition is hundreds of years old and the village of Ottery St Mary is right on our doorstep. As part of our work to help support the local community and its pubs we’re proud to be on board once again this year – we think events like this should be preserved. We’ve also brewed an official beer for the event – Flaming Ale – that will be available in local pubs.

Tarka Four – Toasting a great summer

After 25 years of producing our range of traditional cask ales we wanted to set ourselves a new challenge – to develop and launch Devon’s first premium lager.

That was back in 2013. The success of Tarka Lager (4.8%) following its launch in 2015 proved that Devon drinkers would be receptive to a locally made, premium lager that had provenance and integrity. Earlier this year, it was named best in the UK after winning Gold in the ‘Premium Lager and Pilsners’ class at SIBA’s National Independent Beer Awards. What a night that was! Now 3 years on, we find ourselves with a new 4% ‘session’ lager in the Otter stable.

After 18 months in development, Tarka Four launched to the trade at the beginning of March. It’s specifically been designed for local pubs, clubs, hotels and music venues and extends our commitment to supporting landlords by offering them something a bit different that is also rich in provenance.

This summer was definitely lager weather and so far the reception from local drinkers has exceeded all our expectations. England’s run at the World Cup coupled with Tarka Four being on the bar at Beautiful Days, Chagstock, Port Eliot, Exeter Beats, Smoked & Uncut and Sidmouth Folk Festival all undoubtedly helped it win over even more fans along the way.

So thanks for all the support so far – we’re glad you love it as much as we do.

The Landlord’s take: 

“Who’d have thought it? A local lager that’s so good it’s loved by everyone. Tarka Four has put Devon on the lager map and now outsells our major brands. It’s full flavoured – a massive hit with the holidaymakers and a must-have for our regulars. As Landlords, having a Devon lager on tap means we’re able to offer something different and also something that has a real provenance and quality behind it.”

Dave & Debbie Beechey, Two Mile Oak Inn near Newton Abbot, Devon.