The vanguards of the low-abv space | Big Drop Brewing Co

The vanguards of the low-abv space

Big Drop Brewing Co. is dedicated exclusively to making the finest 0.5% ABV beer.

Big Drop was launched in October 2016 by the-then City lawyer Rob Fink, along with his school-friend/band-mate, designer and kindred spirit, James Kindred.

The idea for a brewing business that only made alcohol-free beer was conceived by their own lifestyle changes (eg fatherhood) and born out of the frustration of there being no decent tasting low alcohol craft beer available to quench their thirst.

Along with renowned experimental brewer, Johnny Clayton (formerly of Wild Beer), they’ve perfected techniques to make alcohol-free craft beer without the need for artificial removal of alcohol. The result doesn’t compromise on taste and yet is no more than 0.5% ABV.

Big Drop doesn’t just use barley. It uses barley, rye, wheat and oats. And it doesn’t use just one type of each. Across its beers, it uses over 20 speciality grains. And then it uses lactose which boosts the mouthfeel and avoids the watery texture that blights many alcohol-free beers. Its range of seven beers, which it contract brews in batches through a panel of expert brewing partners, includes: Stout, Lager, Pale Ale, Citra IPA, Brown Ale, Winter Ale and a Sour.

Awards

World Beer Awards 2019

  • The Brown Ale won World’s Best in the Dark Beer Low Strength category.
  • The Citra won UK Bronze for full-strength Session IPA.
  • The Pale Ale won UK Bronze for Pale Beer Low Strength.

International Beer Challenge 2019

  • The Brown Ale won Silver in the Lo/No category.
  • The Stout won Bronze in the No/Lo category.

US Open Beer Championship 2019

  • The Stout won Gold in the Non-alcoholic Stout category
  • The Citra won Silver in the Non-alcoholic IPA category.

The International Brewing and Cider Awards 2019

  • The Citra won the overall Champion’s trophy for the No and Low Alcohol Beer category.
  • The Stout won Silver in the No and Low Alcohol category.

Casual Dining Show 2019

  • The Citra was crowned ‘King of Craft’ at the show, which was dominated by full-strength beers.

BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018

  • Big Drop was named one of three ‘Best Drinks Producers’.

World Beer Awards 2017

  • The Pale Ale was named World’s Best Pale Beer (low strength)
  • The Stout won UK Silver for flavoured Stout when judged against full-strength stouts and porters

International Beer Challenge 2017

  • The Stout won a Gold Medal

The Society of Independent Brewers

  • Big Drop Brewing received the Best Business Innovation award

History

April 2016

City lawyer and new father, Rob Fink, takes a break from booze – and identifies a lack of choice in low/no alcohol beers. Further research reveals a gap in the market for a craft brewery dedicated solely to great quality, full-flavoured low/no alcohol beer.

August 2016

Rob establishes Big Drop Brewing Co, along with old school friend and acclaimed designer – James Kindred.

September 2016

Johnny Clayton, former of Wild Beer and one of the finest experimental brewers in the business, embraces the Big Drop challenge of making 0.5% ABV beers without artificially extracting alcohol.

November 2016

A 0.5% ABV Milk Stout is released to rave reviews.

The most impressive no/low alcohol beer I have ever tried; no argument, it just is.” Melissa Cole, British Guild of Beer Writers.

“Hard to believe this is a non-alcoholic beer” – Morning Advertiser.

March 2017

A Pale Ale is the hit follow up to the stout. It too draws parallels with full-strength beers.

May 2017

Holding down two jobs, about to move house and with twins due any day, Rob resigns from his law firm to focus entirely on Big Drop.

June 2017

Two more beers – a Lager and a seasonal Spiced Ale – are released. Working with local illustrator, Helen Maxfield, a new range of label designs are launched depicting the Suffolk countryside.

August 2017

Big Drop’s Pale Ale is named the World’s Best Pale Beer (>2.8% ABV) at the World Beer Awards 2017. Its Stout wins a Gold Medal at the International Beer Challenge and a UK Silver Medal at the World Beer Awards, when judged against full-strength stouts and porters.

October 2017

Big Drop’s export journey begins when the Stout is launched in Sweden via Systembolaget which, as the country’s monopoly alcohol retailer, is one of the world’s largest purchasers of beer.

January 2018

Premium listings are obtained at Hakkasan, Fortnum & Mason, The Ivy Group and Barworks Pub Group.

March 2018

Big Drop is announced as one of three ‘Best Drinks Producers’ in the BBC Food & Farming Awards and wins the Dragons’ Pantry award at the Farm Shop & Deli Show.

April 2018

Albert Heijn, the largest supermarket chain in The Netherlands starts stocking Big Drop.

May 2018

New on-trade listings include: Draft House, Mithcells & Butlers’ All Bar One and The Castles Groups – while the next seasonal beer, a Sour, is launched at an event at the Commercial Tavern in London.

September 2018

Big Drop gains listings with Ocado and Tesco Extra stores.

December 2018

A £500k seed funding round is closed.

January 2019

Big Drop goes on draft for the first time – across the Barworks group.

February 2019

Big Drop’s latest range addition – a Citra IPA – is crowned ‘King of Craft’ at the Casual Dining show, which was dominated by full-strength beers.

March 2019

Big Drop wins the Business Innovation category at the Society of Independent Brewers Awards. The Citra IPA and Stout win Gold and Silver respectively at the International Brewing Awards.

April 2019

Morrisons is the latest supermarket chain to stock Big Drop.

June 2019

Holland & Barrett list our new format 330ml cans, which includes gluten-free Pale Ale and Stout, plus a vegan friendly Lager.

October 2019

The LCBO launch the Pale Ale and Stout in stores across Ontario, Canada

Curated by Melissa Cole, Big Drop launch the first World Collab Series pack with the UK’s leading full-strength craft brewers.