A New Leaf in Brewing History

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A New Leaf in Brewing History

In a very natural evolution for us, Innis & Gunn are delighted to announce that we’re taking oak ageing to the next level by maturing our beer in live trees.

We made our name maturing our beers in oak barrels, and our innovative Oakerators®, but now our Master Brewer is teaming up with Mother Nature for the ultimate in maturation techniques; in-situ ageing. Using trees across Britain, we’re lovingly carving out ancient oaks (Quercus robur) and pouring our beers into the natural barrel of the trunk to create the freshest beer around. After all, if you want that invigorating taste it doesn’t come much fresher than when the wood’s still in the ground.

The idea evolved from a bit of experimentation in the Innis & Gunn HQ gardens, and once our founder Dougal Sharp tasted the resulting beer we knew we had discovered something special.

"At Innis & Gunn, we not only have a thirst for creating ground-breaking beers, but innovative new ways to brew and store them. Last year we planted several large oaks behind the office in preparation for our Real Oak Bottle production and when things didn’t pan out there, we didn’t let that discourage us. We got straight back to work finding a new use for the trees and they were soon given a new lease of life as the prototypes for our in-situ oak ageing experiments, to some truly remarkable results.”

What started as just a few trees has rapidly expanded to something much larger, and we intend to purchase a number of acres of Knapdale Forest. From there we plan to go on to commandeer trees wherever and whenever we can find them all over the country; in fact, we probably already have plans to use a few in a park near you.

Commenting on the environmental impact, Dougal said: “No trees are harmed in the making of our natural barrels – our pioneering wood boring method leaves the life and structural integrity of the trees virtually untouched, all whilst creating the most organic beer around. This is also another positive step in lowering our carbon footprint. Now we can take electricity out of our brewing altogether and can cut right back on road haulage and shipping by using local trees.”

This new brewing technique has been so successful, we’re now looking to our fans to help us find more trees by volunteering some near them. Anything from a standard garden tree to a whopping 35-foot circumference beauty is a possibility. If you want to volunteer an oak tree near you, take a photo of it and upload it to Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter with the hashtag #naturesbarrels and we’ll visit to confirm if it’s suitable or not.

“This beer is some of the most delicious that we’ve ever brewed, taking on a completely unique flavour from the live oak that barrels just can’t top,” said Dougal, “We’re very excited to share our latest discovery with our drinkers, and we hope they’ll help us with our new venture by sharing the location of some of the country’s choicest oaks with us.”

Find out more about how we’re becoming tree huggers at http://bit.ly/naturesbarrels

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