From a humble home-brew to a modern production facility. From an original IPA to a range of barrel-aged beauties… Read our story and follow our journey through beer.
After living in Chamonix for a few years, Jack Geldard and Matt Livingstone were longing for the taste of their favourite craft brews. Hoppy beers weren’t available in Chamonix so the pair bought a 100 litre Powell brewing home-brew set up and started making their own. Countless brews over the next few years saw recipes, techniques and water profiles refined. The pair honed their brewing skills and developed their own style and - after a lot of work - what would become the first Big Mountain beers were born; a Simcoe heavy IPA and a Chinook Pale Ale. These beers are still in the core range today.
After overwhelming demand for the home brew, Big Mountain went commercial, with Matt and Jack brewing beer out of a small garage unit in Les Praz and selling to the bars and restaurants of Chamonix. They scaled up from a 100 litre home kit to a simple but effective 10HL manual brew house with 3 x 10HL second-hand fermenters.
Immediately after opening, Big Mountain was always running out of beer, and had to add two more fermenters to the brewery to keep up with an increasing demand. After a few months of very intensive brewing Matt decided that he preferred drinking beer to brewing it, so he left the business in the hands of Jack.
At the end of 2018 Jack took on the first full-time Head Brewer at Big Mountain, Daniel Juett. Whilst Daniel continued production of the then three core beers, Jack set about finding a much bigger premises for the much-needed brewery expansion.
Big Mountain moved 15 minutes down the valley to Passy, in to a new 600m2 industrial unit. At the same time Jack secured a premises on the high street of Chamonix and Big Mountain’s first bar was opened. Daniel implemented the first set of barrel-aged beers as well as adding more beers to the core-range.
By the end of 2019 the brewery capacity had tripled in size again and new bottling and kegging machines were installed. The company had nine employees and beer sales were increasing month on month.
In October 2020 the fermentation size was more than doubled again - giving 35,000L of capacity - mainly in 30HL tanks but with some 10HL to continue small batch experimental brews. The core range had expanded to 9 beers, from Stout to Blonde with a whole load of hops in-between.
After a summer of back-to-back double brew days, Jack made yet another huge expansion, this time moving up from the original 10HL brew kit from 2018 to a modern and energy efficient 30HL steam-fired kit, with much more control, and triple the brewing capacity. Matt Davies joined as the new Head Brewer, coming from the Danish craft power-house of ToOl, and bringing with him loads of experience and enthusiasm to take Big Mountain to the next level. Beer-wise a 1.2% Micro IPA was added to the core range to meet the demand of thirsty mountain lovers in Chamonix and has become a firm favourite. Big Mountain opened a second bar venue in Chamonix, called Big Mountain Basecamp... and the growth continues!
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