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How Sambrook’s met the challenges of building a brewery before craft beer hit the UK

  • Episode 5 - 01hr 04mins
  • June 29, 2017

Duncan Sambrook, founder of Sambrook's Brewery, joins Andy Thorburn to discuss the story of how Sambrook's was founded, the importance of nurturing talent, and how London's beer scene has changed since 2008.

When Duncan Sambrook decided to quit his job in the City and open a brewery, he wasn’t trying to reproduce the flavours of an american IPA, with imported hops. Nor was he trying to recreate the styles from europe. He wasn’t trying jump aboard the bandwagon that became the craft beer revolution, because in 2008 there wasn’t one. When Duncan founded Sambrook’s brewery, he did it because he wanted to create something that would contribute to enjoyment and community, and to do that through the most british of beers, the best bitter. HIs knack for meticulous planning and his business acumen gained whilst working in the city proved vital assets as he became one of just 5 brewers in London during an incredibly tough financial climate. His plan to focus on brewing just one beer for the first year of production is something of a rarity in the current beer climate, but we’re now 9 years after the fact and Sambrook’s has seen many changes and produced a range of beers that stick to that quality.

Key insights

  • Don’t be a cowboy, entering a market at any stage requires meticulous planning and consideration. Especially now with so many competitors.

  • The best team is built from within. Beer is an industry that inspires passion, if your team is passionate about your business, find out their personal goals and nurture them to achieve. You’ll end up with a stronger team, who care more about your business.

  • Build your business on strong values, and stick to them. Having fun, building the Community and britishness are sambrook’s, and they live them in everything they do.

Massive thanks to Duncan for joining me on this week’s episode, don’t forget that their birthday party, Beer on the Common is on 9th September, and has a reputation for being a great festival. Find out more

If you have anything to add, join the conversation on social using the #CraftworkPod. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, why not subscribe or leave a review, and let us know who you want to listen to on the show in the comments section below.


Ubrew [7:61]

Heriot-Watt University [9:37]

Sambrook's Quarterly party [15:50]

Young's brewery closing [16:34]

"A challenge for any brewery at the moment is getting access to market" [18:47]

Craft Beer Co. [22:64]

Drafthouse [22:65]

Drafthouse Westbridge [24:30]

We brought beer [43:20]

There's a beer for that [45:70]

Beer by the River [46:72]

Liberty Cheese steak [48:50]

Pizza Rova [48:52]

South East Bottling [56:55]

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Duncan Sambrook Guest Image

Duncan Sambrook

Duncan left a job as an accountant in the City back in 2008 to found Sambrook's Brewery in Wandsworth. His enormous passion for British cask ale pairs brilliantly with his business acumen and has lead to Sambrook's being one of London's leading brewers. 


About the Show

Stories, insights and lessons from the incredible people behind the UK's craft beer industry. Andy Thorburn hosts a series of deep-dive interviews with various guests from the craft beer community. New episodes fortnightly.

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