27. JUBEL

A challenger brand disrupting the drinks industry by combining the refreshment of a fruit cider with the sessionability of a crisp lager.

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Founder: Jesse Wilson

Year founded: 2018
Website: jubelbeer.com

“Me, lager. Finchy, lager. Gareth, lager, sometimes cider.” David Brent knew all too well that there were different drinks for different needs. But JUBEL’s line of fruit-infused beers might have thrown his well-calibrated pub round wide open.

JUBEL, founded by Jesse Wilson in 2018, is tearing up the recipe book for the traditional beer market. It all began with a game-changing taste of what could be during a uni ski trip in France.

“I was at a raucous après-ski bar called Folie Douce, when a guy next to me ordered a beer pêche,” Wilson tells us. “My French was poor but I knew pêche was peach and I thought it sounded quite nice.” 

I thought it was the most delicious beer I’d ever tasted. It was insanely refreshing and easy to drink, whilst not being too sweet

We’ve all had a foreign tipple we wished we could take home with us. But for Wilson, the taste was a lightning bolt of inspiration. 

“Two things struck me. Firstly, I thought it was the most delicious beer I’d ever tasted. It was insanely refreshing and easy to drink, whilst not being too sweet ,” Wilson enthuses.

“Secondly, my group of friends were a mix of guys and girls, and they all loved it. My guy friends loved it in spite of the fruit taste, and my girl friends loved it because of the fruit taste. We drank it all week.” 

Wilson set himself off on a personal quest to create a UK beer brand that combined the best of fruit cider's refreshing taste and lager's dry finish. 

“There was nothing like beer pêche back in the UK, and I knew I had to do something about it, because I had never seen a reaction to a product like it,” Wilson explains. “I thought this could be an entirely new drinks category and become a national brand.”

I thought this could be an entirely new drinks category and become a national brand

Trying to get a foothold in an extraordinarily competitive industry, Wilson visited 20 pubs per day to try to get them stocking JUBEL in bottles. He spent his evenings and weekends training up the bar staff and doing sampling sessions, with the goal to become the best selling bottle in the fridge, then the best on tap. 

These efforts have been rewarded. JUBEL has become the best-selling craft beer on tap in over 400 pubs, as well as the best-selling craft beer in Sainsbury's within three years, with outstanding presence on supermarket shelves and even on EasyJet flights.

Partnering with Sainsbury's through their “Future Brands” initiative, JUBEL has now secured C&C Group, a major drinks distributor, as an investor. And, to the delight of Wilson, JUBEL won “Drinks Brand of the Year” at the Grocer Gold Awards, an environment where industry heavyweights have typically taken home the winnings. 

Wilson’s observations back at that après-ski were astute: JUBEL’s inclusive flavour-set resonates with buyers. The brand attracts a 50% female consumer base, standing out in a market where 83% of consumers are male.

Even the health credentials for the drink are surprisingly good. JUBEL beer claims 70% less sugar than traditional ciders, and it’s vegan-friendly and gluten-free, too.

We do not supply any of the national pub chains yet, and have turned down two national supermarkets who didn’t fit our brand strategy

This spirit of inclusivity translates through to the company culture at JUBEL, also. When rival UK craft brands such as BrewDog find themselves making headlines for all the wrong reasons, Wilson stands proud of the values-based business he’s spearheaded. “Our team and culture help us stand out from our rivals. We are a team of 25 people, and we have never had a regrettable leaver from the business.”

JUBEL envisions itself growing to become a £100 million national brand. “We still feel like we are only scratching the surface of our industry,” Wilson tells us. “We do not supply any of the national pub chains yet, and have turned down two national supermarkets who didn’t fit our brand strategy.”

With core values at the heart of its operations, plus canny marketing and an appeal to a far wider market than many traditional beer brands are tapping into, there’s a sense that JUBEL is only just getting started.

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