With his Jamaican roots lending him a love of rum and cigars, to meeting the love of his life in a busy London courtroom, Peter found himself where he always wanted to be… running his own craft beer brewery in Barcelona. Get to know our charismatic, beer fanatic head honcho at BeerCat.
When the Panama Canal opened in 1914, my grandfather, Uriah Davis, was in Cuba. He had spent three years as a construction worker on the canal and was to spend the next two years in Cuba working on the cane plantations before returning to his native Jamaica. These experiences led him to a life-long interest in the Spanish language, and a love for Cuban cigars and above all rum! I am clearly a throwback finding myself all these years later living in Spain and developing alcoholic beverages.
My parents left Jamaica for the UK amongst the Windrush generation in the 50s with a rudimentary education and a fierce determination to make the best of their opportunities. If they could move thousands of miles in search of a better future then why couldn’t I make the skip and a jump to Spain to start my own craft beer brewery in Barcelona? I even had an O´Level in Spanish for God´s sake!!
What could possibly go wrong?…
I spent the first two years of our Spanish odyssey commuting between London and Catalonia as I wound up my solicitors’ practice in which I had specialized in child protection work for the previous 20 years and of course, where I had met my future wife and partner in crime, Martina.
BeerCat was a dream of mine ever since I attended a brewing course in 2007. Determined not to leave anything to chance we employed a consultant to guide us through the planning process. In short, he proved to be a total disaster. And we began to worry that maybe there were a few things that could go wrong! Dreaming of and actually owning your own craft beer brewery in Barcelona are two very different things, as I found out!
Fortune followed calamity however in the form of James Campbell who had recently left the Marble Brewery in Manchester and was doing a bit of consulting. He spent the best part of a year with us working intensively on recipes, procedures, and processes. His dedication and attention to detail were impressive and I would like to think that I have set myself the same high standards.
As a small brewery, we have had to do absolutely everything ourselves from insulting cold water tanks to learning how to wire a 3 phase plug. In the early days, exhausted after a long days brewing, we would even have to fill the van with dripping sacks of hops and spent grain and drive around looking for empty vegetable recycling bins in which to dump the stuff. We now have the luxury of a local farmer who comes to collect it at the end of a brew day for feeding to her sheep and goats. As a thank you, she recently gave me and my Argentinian assistant Oscar (there´s that Latin American link again!) a couple of freshly slaughtered kids (goats not children!); cooked slowly in the oven with a few herbs and plenty of garlic….mmmmm! Now, this is what I had in mind when I dreamt of starting my own craft beer brewery in Barcelona!
But I digress. We brewed our first beer in late 2013. We called it Barcelona Blonde. Although not technically speaking a blonde beer it is hoppy and zesty, not too bitter and has proved to be our most popular. Since then we have developed a full range of different beers and our Penedès Series of seasonal beers in which we use local fruits as they become available.
James went on to co-found the Cloudwater brewery in Manchester where he is doing amazing things. We are still in close contact and his advice and assistance remain invaluable.
One could be forgiven for thinking that a head-brewers job consists of making beer. If only! As part of a small team, I have to do a bit of everything from buying ingredients, book-keeping, and sales to brewery visits, beer festivals and deliveries – a very busy and varied life. We are fortunate to have the BeerCat bar attached to our brewery and it is when the bar is full on a Friday night with people drinking Barcelona Blonde and enjoying our gourmet burgers that all of the hard work seems worthwhile.
And so just like my partner in crime, Martina, together, through all of the challenges, we did indeed do it! We made the jump and built our own craft beer brewery in Barcelona!
If you would like to enjoy some of our Barcelona Blonde and delicious gourmet burgers, why not pay us a visit! With its 10 meters vaulted roof, stone walls and quirky décor, the BeerCat craft beer bar and restaurant in Barcelona is a great place to try our beers on tap, gourmet burgers, local charcuterie and cheeses & home-made desserts. We hope to see you there, Salut!