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Sun 29th Jun 2014 - Breaking News - Draft House invests in ‘underground lab’
Draft House invests £100,000 in ‘underground lab’ – eyes sixth site: Draft House, the five-strong craft beer operator led by Charlie McVeigh and backed by Luke Johnson, is investing £100,000 in the development of the Bump Caves in almost 1,000 square feet of under-utilised lower ground space, including vaults, at its Tower Bridge site. The company has installed a ‘Rotary Evaporator’ that will infuse grain alcohol with a variety of unique flavours, which will also be distributed to other Draft House sites. Draft House has a £5m run-rate turnover – and the Bump Caves are expected to add another £500,000 to turnover at the Tower Bridge site. McVeigh said: “Bumps are spirits, liquors, vermouths and infusions that we have made using various pieces of pharmaceutical and kitchen equipment right here in the Bump Caves. Using the equipment we can capture pretty much any flavour or combination of flavours in spirit form. We have been playing around with fun stuff like “Tequila Slammer” in Bump form or even The Monster Dog Bump, infused with essence of Draft House’s bacon chilli-cheese hot dog. We’re very inspired by the late-60s psychedelic movement. The Bump Caves takes its lead from the “Happening” – an underground party that was also an assault on the senses. I am a little bored of the Speakeasy - I promise you will not need to drink a cocktail out of a teapot.” Meanwhile, Draft House is at an advanced stage on a sixth site. McVeigh told Propel: “Much to mine and Luke’s frustration sites have fallen away that were under offer. We’ve been mounting up cash, which is good and the site at Tower Bridge has a lot of space that is under-used. We thought we’d do something crazy and fun. Draft House has not been very good at spirits. We’re not going to be distilling, we’re going to be ‘rectifying’ – infusing grain alcohol with flavours and creating house spirits we’re going to distribute throughout the group.” The Bump Caves open on 10 July. McVeigh added: “I first fell in love with spirits and beer while working as a barman in Aspen, Colorado, aged 21. Later on, with the nightclub Woody’s, I worked with London cocktail legend Ben Reed and we brought good drinks to W9 for the first time. Since then it has been all craft beer mania with the build-out of the Draft House across five locations in London. But now, with the launch of Bump Caves, I am reconnecting with the aetherial world of spirits. Max Chater, who will be ‘Bump Chemist, Distiller and Rectifier’, came to me a year ago me with the idea for Bump and creating our own mind-blowing spirits using the Rotary Evaporator and other bits of pharmaceutical equipment. I told him to get lost and sell some more good beer. But he is persistent and passionate - and has an incredible nose and palate. While being the boss at our Charlotte Street pub he invented the Beer and A Bump (contrasting beer and spirit pairings) and blew many happy customers’ minds with outrageous flavour combinations. The Bump Caves is an extension of that beautiful thing.”
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