This year, we're championing Full Circle Brew Co as one of our Future Four - Four UK breweries that we believe have the potential to be the best in the game. Full Circle Brew Co, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, have been operating out of their brewery in Byker since 2020. However, their story starts years before that in Durham. We spoke to Full Circle about who they are and their journey so far.


In 2018, future FCBC founder Ben Cleary was running The Pip Stop, his bottle shop and e-commerce business selling fine wines, spirits and beers where he met future Full Circle Head Brewer Alex Redpath. Alex used to drop into the shop on a weekly basis to provide samples of his latest home brews and chat to Ben about the brewing industry. Alex had recently found he had quite the knack for brewing after entering the homebrew competitions at BrewDog Newcastle and placing 1st and 3rd in his first entry and coming 1st every single time he entered after that.

Alex was given the opportunity every home brewer dreams of, the chance to head up the production of a brand new brewery. While it wasn’t immediately glamorous, Alex was provided with a little old warehouse in Stanley, Durham with a 140L 1 barrel brewing kit where he got to work on what would become the FCBC core range.  As soon as Alex started brewing, Ben was selling the beers through The Pip Stop and gaining feedback on what their clientele did and did not like about their beers. They used this research to develop the range further and eventually settled on 3 recipes they were proud to market as the core range: Repeater Session IPA, Hoop American Pale Ale and Looper IPA.


Once they had gone through the painstaking process of perfecting the core range,  Alex and Ben decided to upgrade in the biggest way possible, taking it from their 1 barrel 140L kit straight to an 18.5 barrel 3000L kit from SSV. Understanding the risk of investing in this kit, they opted for a kit they could grow into and never struggle with demand issues, truly believing in the grand plans they had in mind for the brewery and where they wanted it to go.


After the plans were laid, they found themselves in the hunt for the perfect venue to house their dream project. After over a year of searching high and low in Durham and Newcastle they found a venue so ideal, it may as well have been custom built for their requirements. An old train workshop in the heart of Byker caught their eye and the plans fell into place instantaneously. Come March 2020 the brewery was ready and Ben and Alex couldn’t wait to share their vision and work with the world.


As with all great plans, there would always be obstacles to overcome. The inception of the brewery synchronised perfectly with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when all the dreams and plans they had of hitting the ground at full speed were promptly dashed. Luckily, a route direct to Europe was established and the brewery was given a lifeline, via a healthy amount of export into 8 different countries throughout Europe. Come the end of the pandemic they were established in Europe but not a known brand within their own city, so turned their focus to local, which admittedly is as close to doing things in reverse as you possibly could.


Once year 1 was over, the accolades began to rack up. Being named as Beer52’s newcomer of the year and one of RateBeer’s top 10 new breweries in the world was enough for Full Circle to feel as though they were doing everything right. In 2022 FCBC were awarded the community engagement award for their work involving Women’s Street Watch Newcastle, International Women’s Day Brew with Pink Boots, North East Revival Tour and the Golden Dooper Giveaway. This was a massive step in the right direction for Ben and Alex, as proof of their growing presence in the local area.


Looking forward, the big goal for Full Circle Brew Co is to become a leader in energy efficiency in the UK brewing industry by decreasing their carbon emissions to net zero by 2033. The future looks very bright for Full Circle with hopes of continuing their community engagement program by becoming a hub for running, cycling and rowing clubs, really promoting the aspect of incorporating fitness into the lifestyle of beer lovers. By the end of 2023 FCBC are hoping to become a household name in the craft beer industry with their beers pouring in every major town and city across the UK.

  By Ashley De La Haye