We've decided to get to know some of our local business partners a bit better - and today we speak to Milan Cater of Old Tree Brewing... 

Photo of Milan Cater and a bottle of Old Tree kombucha in Brighton

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into your current role

My name is Milan and I am the Sales & Marketing Officer for Old Tree. I'm by trade a filmmaker and I began working with Old Tree when they commissioned a video from me for their crowdfunder in 2019, which was really successful. I also helped to coordinate the overall campaign, and when the dust settled joined the team officially!

  • Tell us about your business and what you offer to visitors coming to Brighton.

Old Tree Brewery is Brighton's only local kombucha producer. We make seasonal botanical drinks including kombucha, seasonal wines, and seasonal cordials. Visitors coming to Brighton can definitely expect to get a taste of Sussex from our products: many of our ingredients are Sussex foraged such as our Elderflower Sparkling Wine, one of our most popular summer drinks.

  • What inspired you to set up Old Tree?

Old Tree started out as a happy coincidence when two strangers, Tom and Nick, met on a train and had a passionate conversation about seasonal food production and the effects of mass production on the environment.  They went out to a forest and decided to experiment with fermenting some of the delicious natural ingredients nature provided. Then it became a passion project, to try to find a way to make a sustainable, ethical business where choices are determined by nature rather than profit. We started out with growing a Drink Forest Garden-- a farm with edible hedgerows, to a sustainable cafe, and in our final form a brewery in central Brighton. Old Tree was started to provide a local, short supply and seasonal botanical drink offer that doesn't cost the earth but actually gives back to it, and is an alternative to unhealthy sugary mass produced drinks.

  • Can you tell us about the process of making your products and your ethos?

The ethos of Old Tree is and has always been to work for nature not against it. So the process of making our drinks starts way before our head brewer Harry ever steps foot in the brewery. First we see what nature is giving us and when, and then we go into a process of trial and error. Experimenting is two thirds of the production process for us! We are always trying new weird and wonderful combinations. A lot of these experiments don't filter down into what we put in bottles in shops, but you can try them if you pop into our brewery to say hi. Our experiments are always on tap for interested folk to come in and try and give feedback. One experiment we're working on is a Rosemary and Pink Salt Kombucha...Salt! In Kombucha!

  • What’s the best thing about your work?

The best thing about our work is that we get to drink lots and lots of kombucha!! All our staff has got really healthy guts. But on a more serious note, the best thing about our work is probably that we get to feel connected to both the city and to nature. Old Tree has a really strong community of supporters who not only buy our drinks but engage with the community building activities like our educational weekly trips to Rock Farm, or the Compost Club, or other activities around environmental activism.

  • What’s your average day like, or is it ever average??

Absolutely never average! There's always something going on at the brewery. As a very small business we're always fighting fires and trying to find ways of overcoming new challenges. On an average day for me, I make regular calls to check in on our clients, I edit and design labels, I do tastings of new flavours, I spend some hours moving and unpacking 1000s of bottles, I film our How-to videos, write blog posts, send newsletters and invoices, prep crates of booch for delivery...literally all sorts of things!

  • We’ve seen that you’re offering some great home delivery products at the moment, can you tell us about these?

Yes! Coronavirus may have cancelled the summer event schedule but it has brought together the small fermenters of Brighton. We pulled together to create an Artisan Fermented Foods Box. This includes fermented food products by Time For Kimchi, Roisin's Water Kefir, Barnaby's Sauerkraut, and Naturally Naked and of course ourselves. You can get a box delivered to your home, small or large, every Thursday. And of course we are also doing a home delivery for all of our kombucha products on our website as well!

  • How are you thinking of developing the business for the future?

We hope to first expand our kombucha flavour range, give our part time staff more hours, and get as close to being a zero waste brewery as possible. We're saving to invest in new equipment which will allow us to replace our plastic caps with aluminum ones, as well as a bigger production space that can hold this equipment. We want to get our bottle washing station up and running, as well as be able to have two delivery days each week instead of one...oh so many things are in store for Old Tree!

  • What do you like most about Brighton and what’s the best thing you like to do in the city?

I love Brighton for the people. I moved here without knowing a soul, and after just 2 years now I can say I've truly made some wonderful lifelong friends here. Nowadays, my favorite things to do is to go on a walk up to the hill fort on Hollingdean Golf Course.

  • What would you like to be doing as an alternative career?

As an alternative career, I would be a documentary filmmaker. My background is actually in filmmaking (that's how I got to know Old Tree when I worked on a short film for our crowdfunder in 2019) and I still work on projects here and there. 

Related

Old Tree Brewery
Food/Drink Producer
Old Tree Brewery

Old Tree Brewery is a social enterprise micro-fermentery. Our Kombucha is a delicious live drink made from Sencha Green tea. Old Tree products are inspired by natural botanicals and the transformative power of fermentation.

1 Comments

Comments

  1. Momeen
    Very interesting and entrepreneurial set of young people who cares about the environment.

Leave a Reply