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The Kernel Origin Story

The brewery was established by Evin O’Riordain in September 2009 in a small arch on Druid Street, Bermondsey. Evin had begun home brewing a couple of years previously after an inspirational trip to New York - where he’d been sent by Neal’s Yard Dairy to help set up Whole Foods’ cheese department - and where he’d come across a world of beer and beer connoisseurship that he felt was missing in London.  


We shared the Druid Street arch with a cheesemaker (Kappacasein) and - our current neighbours - an importer of Italian hams and cheeses. It started with a 6.5 hectolitre kit and three employees; all the bottling and labelling was done by hand. The first Christmas we were open Neal’s Yard Dairy bought some cases from us and sent a couple of bottles to their favourite customers, many of whom are still buying from us today.  


We began selling our bottled beer to take away or to drink on the curbside along Maltby Street on Saturday mornings. In 2010 we moved to our current space, a few hundred yards further east and beneath the same railway line. We expanded to 32 hectolitres and added a bottling line, and over time we have accrued more fermenters, a mill and more staff.  


Our core range includes fresh, hop-forward pale beers (table beer, pale ale and IPA). using for the most part American hops, and dark beers (porters and stouts), many of which are based on recipes from 19th-century London breweries. In 2012 our first Burgundy barrels arrived and we began an ageing programme. We also have two foeders, and have added Biere de Saison, sours, fruit beers and foeder beers to our output.  


We brew 3000 litres a day, five days a week. A different person brews each day, on rotation, and uses the hops of their choice. As such it is a batch process and each of our pale beers is different and depends on, among other things, the brewer, the hop variety and the hop harvest.  


Alongside our neighbours, a likeminded community of food and drink producers, we opened up our arch on Saturdays as a bottle shop and taproom. We were limited by the space however, and didn’t feel that we were able to provide a comfortable experience for the number of people that wanted to join us, and so we closed up and in 2019 opened a dedicated taproom a couple of doors down. This too is due to shut this summer (2024) and we’re in the process of putting together another space for people to drink in one of the new units in Spa Terminus.  


Today we make 8120 hectolitres a year and our staff has expanded but we have no further plans to get bigger. Our efforts instead continue to focus on the quality of the beer we produce.   

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