We specialize in post-production, design, and beer. Yes, you read that correctly. It is the brainchild of Kevin Brooks. He brings with him over 25 years of experience in the tv / film / design business, and an additional decade working in craft beer. Early in 2020, with his time as a beer importer coming to an end, the question was: what to do next? Oasthouse was the answer.
OASTHOUSE CREATIVE combines Kevin’s two worlds and passions – media and beer. It enables him to produce and edit your movie, show, commercial or web content, design and build your website, aid in the import / export / distribution of alcoholic products or represent and build your beverage brand. And if the stars align, why not all of them?
In “The Oxford Companion to Beer,” author Pete Brown describes as oasthouse as:
“…a building designed for drying hops before they are compressed, baled or pelletized, packaged, and sold to brewers. Despite a recent fashion for ‘fresh hop’ or ‘harvest’ beers, almost all hops are dried before use. The hop flower contains plenty of moisture, and like most flowers it will turn brown or rot if not properly dried.”
“The tall cones of the buildings were designed to create a good draught for the fire, and the cowl and vane enabled the roof to turn into the wind…”
The “Creative” part of the company’s name is the easy part. Growing up, I was always drawing or playing on a musical instrument. At seventeen, I figured out what I wanted to do for a living. I didn’t have all the specifics down, but I knew that I wanted to make stuff that people wanted to watch – and I have been lucky enough to work in that business for parts of four decades
But why the name Oasthouse? What does that have to do with anything? Yes, the company will also focus on the alcohol business, with a specialization in beer. However, it’s a little more complicated than that, because I guess you could say it’s in my blood or it’s a company almost 450 years in the making.
Beer runs in my veins. Imported lager was readily available to me in my formative years. Then, while on a trip to England in my teens (back in the 80s), I fell in love with cask ale, and I’ve never looked back. My adoration for hops and barley continued to grow as I got older, followed shortly by the advent of the craft beer movement.
The history of the beer industry always fascinated me, and I learned that it was part of my history too. I discovered that there had been a brewery named after my mother’s family in the small town in southern Germany where they came from. A little closer to home during the years leading up to prohibition, my maternal grandmother grew up in a Harlem saloon run her father. Next to his name in the New York City directory, it just says “Beer.” About ninety years later, my education in beer as well as my career in television and film would hit their strides in New York
The links continued, this time back to 16th century England. Part of my father’s family came to America from Kent long before the American Revolution. The area had been home to England’s hop industry for centuries, and oasthouses litter the Kentish countryside. In the first treatise on hops published in the English language in 1576, A Perfite Platforme of a Hoppe Garden, author Reynolde Scot states that the “Oste” is what the hop growers dry their hops upon.
That book was actually dedicated to one of my direct ancestors, Sgt. William Lovelace. He lived minutes away from where oasthouses still stand today. The church he added to, has stained glass windows featuring hops and oasthouses. You can check out a painting of Lovelace in London’s Dulwich Gallery. Right about now, I expect author / historian James Burke to walk on screen to tell us more unlikely truths, as he used to in the show Connections.