OVERTONE entered the thriving local craft beer market in 2018 after brewer Dan Miller and founder Bowei Wang opened in Yoker on the western edge of the city.
In a bold move, they have no core range, preferring instead to continually release brand new beers, interacting with customers to create a self-perpetuating culture of flavour innovation.
The distinctive cans feature colourful, abstract pattern designs that are related to the characteristics of the craft beer while also connecting to the local electronic music scene that adopted Overtone from day one.
Dan comes from New Hampshire in the United States, and the brewery’s house style is the New England IPA, a dominant trend in craft beer with more tropical, hazy brews.
A defining moment for the brewery came during lockdown when they were granted a licence to sell direct to customers.
Its Lost in Translation series of beers was dispatched across Glasgow and beyond, including Weegie, Yaldi and a formidable 10% triple IPA called Big Yin.
On its website right now, there is a full-bodied beer with huge citrus flavours called Ooft. You can try Opuntia, a summery, exotic fruit sour with prickly pear, raspberry and guava. Edge of Darkness is their sweet, sessionable stout.
James Kidd, from Overtone, says: “We started off focusing on hop forward IPAs, recently we have started brewing great, heavily fruited sour beers and big stouts.”
“The design of the cans links to music and signifies movement and we’ve adopted a strategy where we want to have new products all the time and try out different fruit combinations to keep moving forward.”
Overtone beers will be part of the roster of brews available at the Glasgow Craft Beer Festival at July 8 and 9.
It was the mix of creative crowds within our city that encouraged organiser Greg Wells to bring a craft beer festival to SWG3.
Art and music overlaps with the independent food and drink community among the warehouse performance spaces, studios and start-up business units by the Clyde.
“We have always loved Glasgow as a city,” Greg says, “you have the events infrastructure, a thriving beer scene, the arts scene is bubbling away, incredible food and a cool, creative vibe that connects with what’s happening with craft beer in Scotland.”
“Craft beer takes hold in creative cities with a good community spirit and Glasgow is perfect for that.”
While the majority of the pubs in Glasgow are tied to the big breweries, customers are increasingly craft beer curious, which opens new opportunities for a presence in local venues for small independents. James says this is the key challenge as Glasgow’s craft breweries attempt to grow.
“There’s a market for the beers we make with the level of ingredients involved but if I walk into a pub and tell them my prices then they will often recoil, they will start telling me about the return and the rates on some of your standard pints.
“I think there’s definitely a following now for craft beers and we have permanent lines all over Glasgow. Around 40% of our business would be in pubs.
“If people go to Shilling Brewing Co on West George Street there will be two Overtone beers there all the time. If you are a craft beer fan in the Southside you can go into Phillies of Shawlands or The Bell Jar.
“The challenge is really explaining what we do. When I speak to potential customers they often don’t understand that the raw ingredients we work with are expensive, that’s reflected in what you pick up in a can shop or order at the bar.
“The Doublet in the West End has had a permanent line for our beer for well over a year now, the same with Inn Deep on Great Western Road nearby.
“There’s a certain customer that goes into The Doublet and buys our beer, knows every couple of weeks it will change to a new one.
“Inn Deep tend to take some of our more funky stuff. At The Doublet, they’ve also got a couple of cask ales and they pour a great pint of Guinness. It’s not necessarily somewhere you would associate with craft beer but there’s this wee pool of folk who buy our stuff and that’s what we need.”
With craft brewing, the story behind the beer can often resonate with customers as much as the design of the can or the taste of what’s in it.
Overtone will be part of beer festivals this summer as a way of continuing face-to-face conversations and tastings – alongside the SWG3 event there’s the Eaglesham Beer Festival on July 9, with a festival in Giffnock and at Whitecraigs in August.
Overtone has nine export markets, so they will also be representing Glasgow at Mout Bierfestival in the Netherlands at the end of July.
Collaborations will play a bigger part in Overtone’s output.
“We have worked with local musicians and that will continue, we are also talking to local shops and bars about creating individually tailored beer styles, that’s a little plan we’re working on for the future,” explains Greg.