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Photo for: AxelJack Brewery Triumphs: Bronze Winners at the London Beer Competition


AxelJack Brewery Triumphs: Bronze Winners at the London Beer Competition

AxelJack Brewery's Success at the London Beer Competition: A Journey of Passion and Innovation in Craft Beer

Based in South Wales, AxelJack Brewery was awarded a bronze medal for their Welsh Golden Ale at this year’s London Beer Competition.

An interview was arranged with the owners of the brewery to gain their feedback and valuable insights about the competition.

What was their inspiration to start brewing beer?

The concept for AxelJack Brewery was born from a shared passion for craft beer by the founding directors Ian Axelsen and Craig Jackson. With complementary backgrounds from the hospitality marketing and brewing industries, providing a good foundation of knowledge and experience. From which to start a new microbrewery based in South Wales.

Image: (L-R) Ian Axelsen and Craig Jackson

“The idea was to produce heritage style, traditional beers with modern hop-forward, flavour profiles, using sustainable production processes and local suppliers.

“Initially, the business start-up costs were based on the creation of a new brewery, until we found a working brewery in Maesteg for sale (Fairy Glen Brewery Limited). 

“The brewery had been very well equipped over the years and included production processes that we had not expected to find i.e. a chilled carbonization tank and a small canning line.”

Image: Axeljack Brewery Setup

What were the founders’ aims and objectives?

“We wanted to create a core range of craft beers, based on two lagers (Welsh Craft Lager and Welsh Premium Pilsner) and two pale ales (Welsh Golden Ale and Welsh Pale Ale), which in addition to being positioned in terms of flavour profiles, toward the traditional beer drinker, would also be below 5% ABV and therefore suitable for dispensing on draught.”

Around the core range, the owners wanted to be more adventurous and produce modern craft beer styles for the burgeoning craft beer market in the UK. Some of which, they explained, would be seasonal, some limited editions and the more popular beers would be repeated.

Their target market is craft beer drinkers who will become aware of the brand via various routes to market, including craft bars and bottle shops, craft food halls, delicatessens, and hospitality venues, along with direct consumer sales from their website.

In terms of geography, their primary market is Wales, because of the culture and logistics, although the owners are prepared to seek customers throughout England, especially in cities with a high number of target customer outlets.

Whilst the owners want to expand, they want to remain loyal to their founding principles: “We are a craft beer microbrewery and want the business to grow, but only within the context of the craft beer market. We are not setting out to emulate macro beer producers.”

Sustainability is important to the company and they are committed to the environment; they avoid GM crops and prefer to source organic ingredients. Their packaging materials are either completely recyclable (PET kegs and steel cans, or biodegradable and compostable packaging.

Image: Axeljack Brewery Packaging - Can, 5L Mini Keg and 30L Keg.

What was their awareness of the London Beer Competition?

“We were aware of the competition prior to entering because Craig our brewer had previously entered and achieved gold medals for a couple of beers.” 

What were their reasons for entering this year?

“The attraction for us was that the competition attracts entries from breweries across Europe and further afield, unlike other competitions that only take entries from UK breweries, and we wanted to benchmark our beer within a broader range of entries.

“In addition, and if [we were] successful we wanted the acknowledgment and prestige associated with an award from an international competition.”

What has been the impact of winning the bronze medal?

“In the short amount of time that we have been brewing and marketing the AxelJack brand, our Welsh Golden Ale has become one of our leading products in retail and on trade terms. 

The bronze medal award from the London Beer Competition supports and enhances the beer's growing popularity among craft beer drinkers and strengthens the product market positioning. 

“Enabling additional routes to market based on evidential criteria, and a reduction of risk for first-time purchasers.”

How have you communicated the award?

“Since winning the award we have used social media, newsletters, and our website to communicate with existing and prospective retail and trade customers and consumers and will continue to promote the winning of the award, throughout the rest of the year.’

What is your perception of other competitions?

“Although there are other respected competitions that we could enter, as previously mentioned, we value the international element of this competition and consequently the high number of participants.”


What markets are you focusing on?

“We remain focused on the continually growing craft beer market in the UK and the trend for bottle shops/bars as a primary route to market. 

“We are also strengthening our presence in other niche markets sectors such as delicatessens, farm shops, and garden center food halls where our brand ID and more heritage/traditional flavour profiles combine to move product quickly through these outlets.

“In time our product and market development will undoubtedly encompass more adventurous and stronger beers, providing access to other areas of the craft beer market and we continue to promote direct consumer sales from our website.”

Call for domestic and international submission is now open for London Beer Competition. Enter your beer before 31 August 2024 to get super early bird pricing. Register now and ship later to save.

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