Holloway brewery putting Islington on the craft beer map
10:00 08 June 2014
Insurance analyst trades in desk to revive a family tradition
Most men only dream of opening their own brewery.
But a Canonbury man is living his fantasy as pints of his craft beers are now being supped all over the borough.
Disillusioned with life working as a business analyst for an insurance company, Lee Hammerton, 34, woke up in October 2012 and decided he wanted a change.
“I woke up one morning and thought – I like beer, why not start a brewery,” said Mr Hammerton, of Canonbury Square.
“I was a bit fed up of what I was doing at work – I didn’t want to be stuck in the office for the rest of my life.
“I always have ideas flying about in my head, but this was the first one I had a real passion about. I drew up a business plan, and a year and a half later the first pint was served.”
Despite countless micro breweries in Hackney and the nationwide success of the Camden Town brand, Islington has been lacking in the home made brew department, something Mr Hammerton is looking to change.
The Hammerton’s products are distinctly born of the borough, taking the name of two of its beers from right on its doorstep in Roman Way, Holloway.
The brewery’s first three nectars – the N7, a pale ale, The Islington, a filtered lager and the Pentonville, a distinctive oyster stout – look set to put it on the map.
“I’ve lived in Islington for 10 years, and I love the borough,” said Mr Hammerton.
“There are a few bars in the area that brew their own beer but that’s only on a small scale, so there’s a real gap in the market.
“We’ve had a brilliant response to our first brew in April, lots of people have been to visit us and we’ve had quite a few local pubs and restaurants stocking us.”
Despite the early success Mr Hammerton is still working his day job in the city, taking one day a week to help make beer at the brewery with the help of his head brewer, Sam Dickinson who he met at a Brewer’s Alliance social in December.
The team is completed by Mr Hammerton’s partner Karina Benavente, the brewery’s commercial manager.
“I take one day off every week and then I’m here in the evening helping with the brew.
“Karina is here full time helping with the day to day.
“Manic is an understatement at the moment but we’ve just started to cover out costs so hopefully I’ll be doing it full time in the near future.”
You can try the Hammerton Brewery’s beer for yourself at the Tap Rooms in Upper Street, The Lexington in Pentonville Road and several other bars and restaurants across the borough.