Dancing Duck brewery was founded by Rachel Matthews who came to appreciate real ale rather later in life than perhaps most brewers do. Having being rather underwhelmed by the odd half pint of Bank’s bitter and mild in her formulative drinking years Rachel spent most of her 20’s sticking to reassuring expensive lager, lots of wine and other strange alchopop style mixes that were around at the time.
One fateful afternoon’s drinking session in a Derby hostelry when the lager needed changing, this procedure took rather longer than it should have done and so thirsty and impatient Rachel reluctantly settled for a pint of pale ale instead, she was immediately blown away by how flavours had moved on from the traditional style of bitters that she had tried back in her late teens and so Rachel set about a thorough examination of all the ales on offer in the pub that afternoon and subsequent evening.
Rachel was incredibly fortunate to get a job at Blue Monkey Brewery just six months after they opened. Their founder John Hickling was incredibly supportive and the hands on experience and help she gained there was invaluable.
So finally after 3 years of market research, planning, test brewing, business plan writing, capital raising, premises finding, kit designing and waiting for kit to be built Dancing Duck’s inaugural brew happened in December 2010. Ian (her beer loving other half) was there to lend a hand on that first brew day but after that for the first 6 months it was just Rachel, some shiny stainless steel vessels, a few casks, Lizzie the dog, an old van, a fairly sparse industrial unit and an awful lot of hard work.
Dancing Duck launched with 3 beers Ay Up, 22 and Gold they hit the pubs just in time for Christmas and were all well received, over the next year Rachel developed more recipes Nice Weather 4 Ducks, Abduction and our famous Dark Drake which has won “Best stout in Britain” in both CAMRA and SIBA competition as well as taking overall bronze medal in the Champion beer of Britain at GBBF
Since Dancing Duck has slowly grown to where we are today, lots more beers, lots more awards, a great team of 9 people brewing 6 days a week producing almost a million pints a year!