Film ID:
NEFA 9657

COMMERCIAL BREAK: HADRIAN BREWERY

c.1988

Visitor Tabs

Description

A filmed sequence from the Tyne Tees Television programme Commercial Break about beer brewing in the north east. The film follows Trevor and Angie Smith and their company Hardrian’s Brewery and shows Trevor brewing a new batch of his beer Gladiator from his small factory unit  in Byker in Newcastle. They talk about the problems they have faced starting a new brewery especially with competition from the larger breweries of Scottish and Newcastle and the Federation Brewery.

The film opens on a Scottish and Newcastle lorry loaded with barrels leaving the Tyne Brewery in Newcastle.

General view of the exterior of the Federation Brewery at Gateshead. The female presenter says that 10 million pints of the nation’s favourite alcoholic drinks are produced in the north east each week using the latest brewing technology.

A man, possibly a Brew Master, closes the lid of a copper that is inside a large factory unit.

The film cuts to a white Ford Transit van parking outside a small factory unit on a small industrial estate in Byker, Newcastle. The driver, Trevor Smith, gets out and walks towards his unit; Hadrian’s Brewery. 

Inside the factory Trevor wearing a white overall and Wellington boots pours a sack of malted barley into the mash tub. Trevor is interviewed and says that he quit his last job in security as he didn’t see any future in it.  He started as a home brewer as a hobby and decided he wanted to make his hobby into business.

As Trevor stirs the mash and hot water is poured over the mash. Trevor says that he works a 70 hour week which consists of deliveries and sales on Monday and Tuesday, brewing on Wednesday and Thursday, extra deliveries on Friday and cleaning and preparing for the next week on Saturday and Sunday.

Trevor climbs into a mash tub and uses a scrubbing brush to clear the inside. The presenter says that modern brewing uses chemical additives to reduce costs for production, but Trevor uses old fashioned methods.

The film cuts to Trevor who says that this operation is not like a normal brew kit as he uses his own recipe using properly malted barley.

Trevor pulls handfuls of hops from a sack and places them into a silver bucket. The hops are then added to the wort in the copper. Trevor continues by saying a lot of big breweries use processed malts and hops but he prefers to use traditional ingredients in the traditional manner.   

Trevor pulls out a thermometer and reads the temperature. In the past, Trevor continues, CAMRA [Campaign for Real Ale] has given real ale a bad image for ordinary drinkers. However, they are changing this image now to show that real ale is for the average drinker and the beer produced by big companies is artificial.

Trevor cleans a rubber tube attached to a cylinder of compressed gas. He placed the tube into a tank marked ‘Fermenter 1’.

The film cuts to Trevor holding a tube and pouring a sample of beer into a silver bucket. He then transfers the tube to a metal barrel on the ground and begins filling it.

The presenter says that Trevor produces 300 gallons of beer a week that only creates a small profit margin meaning he can’t make any mistakes in production.

Trevor pours a glass of his beer, known as Gladiator, into a glass and takes a sip for testing. He uses a rubber hammer to hammer in a rubber plug into the barrel.

The film cuts to Angie Smith sitting at a desk writing figures into a ledger. She keeps a close eye on the book work and after 4 months of production they are only just up and running. She writes downs a figure on a calculator into the ledger. Hadrian’s turnover is about £1000 per week of which she and Trevor take home about £80.

In the brewery Trevor rolls a barrel across the concrete floor. Trevor says that the first 3 months were very unpredictable as they are breaking a new market. It is often up and down.

Interview with Trevor who says if things continue and production keeps increasing he will look to take someone on, possibly from a YTS [Youth Training Scheme] scheme with the possibility of making them permanent.

Outside the ‘Cumberland Arms’ public house Trevor unloads a barrel from the back of the van. A second man carries another barrel towards the van and places it on the ground. Trevor’s hope for the future is that he will become established with two or three of his own pubs to guarantee that he can keep brewing.

In the cellar of a pub the man seen previously carrying a barrel to the van fills a half-pint class of beer from a barrel and holds it up to the light. The film ends with the man hammering out the tap in the barrel and rolling it out of the room.