Search
  • Haydn Williams

Japan, America, London, Lagos, Eko: An interview with Anthony Adedipe



This coming Saturday we’ll be raising a few bottles of Eko Gold and Eko Black as we ride out toward Walton on Thames riverside on the next Tour de Hops Cycle Club ride.


Our brewery this week is the fantastic Eko Brewery. Eko produce a selection of unique beers that are inspired by African tradition. Through striking branding, a strong social presence and some top quality beers, they’re starting to get noticed.


As journeys go, it’s still early days for Eko Brewery who are currently contract brewing across London. And while 2020 was supposed to be the year they signed a lease on their first brewery, it’s encouraging to see them go from strength to strength. Eko Brewery are definitely one to watch over the coming years.


Ahead of Saturday’s ride we interviewed Founder and Head Brewer Anthony Adedipe to discuss Eko’s journey so far. Anthony talks us through the culture and heritage that inspires their beers, how they’re building a community during lockdown and what the future may hold – including an IPA that is brewed with Congolese inspired ingredients (yum).



Q: Your beer journey seems to have taken you all over the world including Japan and the US, can you tell us more about how Eko came to be?


A: I’ve always been a beer lover, but the interest in the whole beer making process grew when visiting the Sapporo beer factory in Japan.


It wasn’t until I went to live in America that Helena and I really got into the microbrewery scene though. I lived there for a year, Helena visited several times and we would go try different craft beers together.


As you know, America can still be segregated even in public settings, but the microbrewery scene brought people from different walks of life together, regardless of race or beliefs.


That sense of community and of course the great tasting beers inspired us to start our own brewery.


My ethnic background is Nigerian and my family come from Lagos – in the essence of going back to my roots, I went back to the history of Lagos and the name Eko stuck.

Q: Your name, Eko, comes from the native name for Lagos, can you tell us a bit more about this influence on your beers?


A: When we were thinking of a concept for our beers, we really wanted the brewery to reflect our culture and heritage, so the idea of African inspired beers was always very prominent.


My ethnic background is Nigerian and my family come from Lagos – in the essence of going back to my roots, I went back to the history of Lagos and the name Eko stuck.


Q: You've recently brought out a beer and glass bundle where a portion of the proceeds go to charities and organisations fighting racial inequality, can you tell us a bit more about this initiative?


A: With the current spotlight on racial inequalities and given inclusion and diversity is something we are passionate about, there was no way we could not get involved and stand for what is right in our capacity as a new business.


Many breweries did their part by brewing beers for the cause, but this was difficult for us to do short term as we don’t have our own facilities yet.


Coincidently, the spotlight on these issues overlapped with the release of our new merchandise, but we didn’t want to shift the focus away from what we are hoping will lead to positive changes.



So donating a percentage of profits from the sale of the bundles felt like the right thing to do at that stage. The bundles were limited, and the profits from the bundles will be going to the Racial Justice Network.


Q: How can our readers help support this cause?


A: In terms of support, even though the bundles are no longer available, we will continue this initiative by giving a percentage of the profits from sales of our glasses to these organisations and they are currently available on our website for people to purchase.


We would also really encourage people to recommend other organisations and charities doing similar work for us to add to our list of charities.


You can help support Eko and the Racial Justice Network by buying their glasses here.


Alternatively, we encourage you to donate and support charities like the Racial Justice Network to ensure we continue this very important conversation.


Q: Covid has affected the brewery industry in many ways, how have you had to react to the closing of pubs and loss of on-trade business?


A: As we don’t have our own site, a lot of our beer is sold by pubs and other on trade businesses which had to close, so we were very worried that this would affect us in a negative way.


However, we have never been more grateful for technology and online trade as some of the establishments which sell our beers were able to continue operating online.


This has helped us in a big way during the lockdown and we also launched our own online store during that time.



Q: Microbreweries often have close connections with local communities, as a contract brewer without a set home yet, how do you engage and build that community?


A: That’s definitely something we’re working on building, especially as we are relatively new.


Right now we are making our connections through our online presence, relying mostly on social media and the review platform Untappd.


Before the lockdown we had a tap takeover at the Rake and, as it was for International Women’s day, we partnered up with Mothership and Wildcard. We were hoping for more tap takeovers, collaborations and attending festivals to build those connections.


Q: Someone from our cycle club is trying Eko for the first time, what beer do you recommend?



A: If this was a few weeks ago, we would hands down recommend the Eko Gold.


It’s a craft lager that is perfect and refreshing on a summer’s day and was very popular at the height of the sunny days we were blessed with during the lockdown.


The recent rainy days call for a smooth and smoked porter, so we recommend our Eko Black.


Q: And finally, a tough question in the current climate, but what does the future hold for Eko Brewery?


In the long term, we plan to open our own site. We did hope it would be later this year or early next year, but Covid has made things more uncertain. This is still the main plan in the pipeline for us.


We also want to work on expanding our range of beers, we’re thinking of brewing an IPA next and we want to pay homage to other countries in Africa. One half of Eko Brewery has a Congolese background, so we would want to pay homage to that heritage as well with the right ingredients.


We would love to do some collabs and have a few breweries in mind that we plan to speak to soonish

Short term, we would love to do some collabs and have a few breweries in mind that we plan to speak to soonish.

Thanks for the interview Anthony, we’re really looking forward to trying your beers on our ride on Saturday. We also can't wait to visit the brewery once your set up and running next year. For now, we recommend our readers get online and order from Eko's online shop.


Here at Tour de Hops we run small group cycles to independent London breweries and post about it every other week. Each write-up includes ride highlights, beer reviews and snippets from an interview with each brewery.


We spoke to Anthony ahead of our Tour de Hops cycle club ride on Saturday 25th July 2020. Keep an eye on the blog later this week for the full write up..


If you want more content like this, please subscribe here to get our regular newsletter and to be the first to hear about our next brewery rides.

67 views
 

©2020 by Tour de Hops. Proudly created with Wix.com