Submitted by: Aaron Smith
There’s an independent brewery based in Walthamstow’s very own Ravenswood Industrial Estate. The Wild Card Brewery is the creation of childhood friends, Andrew Birkby and William John Harris. They released their first beer, Jack of Clubs, in January 2013, followed since by the Queen of Diamonds – both recognisable by the beautifully illustrated playing cards on the bottle.
Wild Card’s Ravenswood space is both a working brewery and a bar, set in an industrial space dotted with seemingly lost and found tables and chairs and a bar, itself produced at the Blackhorse workshop down the road.
With the founders financing the growth of the business using their personal credit cards meant, the brewery need an affordable location. Living in the area, Walthamstow was a practical choice for Andrew and William but it was big risk; would people be willing to join them for a drink on an industrial estate?
So far the answer seems to be ‘yes’ and a car park in E17 can now be regarded a weekend destination. Andrew puts this down to getting the important bits right: “Consistently good beer, staff that are passionate about what they do – and how open we are. The brewery and our stock are visible to everyone and we’re happy to talk about our plans with anyone.”
Wild Card may be a lean start up business, boasting only a single toilet and a sound system supplied by a laptop and speakers but it’s also increasingly established independent brand making appearances at independent fashion store, Othershop, and Walthamstow Garden Party. Their recent Cubana festival featured a member of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club.
Since the brewery and ‘wonderland of creativity’, Gods Own Junkyard took up residency in the estate in February this year, other new businesses have followed including ‘one woman sloe gin outfit’, Mother’s Ruin and Aura Rosa’s bespoke cakes and patisserie, covering all of your weekend dietary needs.
Wild Card invite a revolving line up of (mostly) local food vendors to sell to their drinkers. So far that has included Route 66, Mama’s Jerk and Chips with Dips. Woodfords’ Choi Boys are soon to join this ever expanding line up, bringing the Korean concept of Pojangmacha to Walthamstow: surely worth a visit for the autocorrect opportunities alone.
So, all cards on the table, the Wild Card Brewery continues to prove itself an ace in Walthamstow’s social deck.