All Articles
All Articles

Interview: Ben Gravy of Quaffing Gravy


Interview: Ben Gravy of Quaffing Gravy

The founder of UK's new craft beer talks about turning an idea into an easy-drinking pale ale

by Gavin Lucas
on 25 June 2013

With a logo drawn by a tattoo artist and screen-printed directly onto its bottles, new UK beer brand Quaffing Gravy is guaranteed to stand out in the UK's burgeoning craft beer scene. The company's first beer—an easy drinking pale ale—is just about to launch and we caught up with QG's head honcho, who goes by Ben Gravy, who explained to CH why creating a beautiful bottle was just as important as the drink inside.

Tell us about Quaffing Gravy and how the company formed.

It all started with an idea I had to create an easy-drinking—quaffable—great tasting beer with a great name and an even greater bottle. The name comes from how we regularly describe a good drink as “good gravy” and the easy-drinking nature of the beers we want to create. Once I'd developed my ideas a bit I mentioned it to a friend, Narra, and he agreed to combine forces with me to make it happen. Just over a year later, a lot of trial brews, heated discussions and late nights and we're ready to launch our pale ale on 1 July.

You're not beer-makers by trade?

No, I'm an art director and creative and Narra is from the glamorous world of insurance. We had a really clear idea of what we wanted, but didn't want it to be an amateur production so we worked with an awesome local brewery called Naylor's. We wanted to work with a brewer who would work to our recipe and vision for the beer—who would really listen to us, take on our ideas and really understand us and our plan. It was vital that we developed our own unique recipe, our very own beer. Naylor's has been a dream to work with.

What beers have inspired your first Quaffing Gravy brew?

Before developing QG, our beers of choice tended to be Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn beers—that kind of super-tasty, but easy-drinking beer. We really enjoy a good pilsner too, and it feels like the art of creating good lagers is making a comeback at the moment. But we felt that we wanted to create our own Pale Ale, but create something that would be just as good at a bar or at the dinner table. So far QG is getting a great reaction from people who like an easy-drinking beer and those who like a little more hoppy flavour in their lives—which is exactly what we wanted to do; strike that perfect balance between rich flavour and quaffability.

Tell us about your distinctive logo. Did you design it yourselves?

I designed the logo, wrote all the copy and designed the graphics for the brand. The logo itself was then hand-drawn—under my art direction—by a tattoo artist friend of ours, Mark Yates of Snakes'n'Daggers.

And it's screen-printed directly on to the beer bottles, that's quite unusual.

Yes, that's right. We were actually advised against this approach to begin with, as it's a tricky process and it's far easier and cheaper to print onto a label, but we were determined to go down the screen-printed route as that was always the plan. In the end we worked with Seaways Services in Burnley and we went through a number of rounds of tests over a few months before we got the perfect print. We really wanted to get the look of the bottle right, as it's what our beer deserved. It would have been far easier to print a see-through label, but that wouldn't have had the same impact and the same feeling of craft.

Where will people be able to get a taste of QG when it launches?

We're starting with local stockists and building distribution gradually. Pre-launch we've got some cool bars taking us on in Leeds, York and surrounding area. Our plan is to then spread further afield to Manchester, London, New York even. But we're quite realistic. There are only two of us and we're doing everything ourselves—including delivering to stockists.

As well as beer, you're hoping to create goodies for fans. What else is in the making?

We've created a line of T-shirts that we'll also launch with the Pale Ale. They'll be packaged with extra secret goodies—they're being printed at the moment. We'll also have some hand-drawn beer bottles, Notes of Awesomeness (one-off, hand-drawn notepads) and some beer bags too. We've also got a blog called Vat Of Awesomeness where we'll post things that inspire us. We want to do as much as we can to keep the brand fun—and the more we grow, the more we can do.

Images courtesy of Quaffing Gravy

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring
Loading More...