Grand designs win top award for local brewery

TOP TEAM Malcolm Irving of Portsmouth's Irving Brewery (right) and graphic designer Ian Gregory
TOP TEAM Malcolm Irving of Portsmouth's Irving Brewery (right) and graphic designer Ian Gregory
Yachts taking part in last years Clipper Round the World Race			             	  Picture: onEdition

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With brews called Frigate, Invincible, Type 42 and Admiral, Malcolm Irving is clearly proud of Portsmouth and its naval connections.

But the owner of city-based Irving Brewery wanted to make his ales even more distinctive – so decided to redesign the pump clips that are so visible on pub bars.

With four regular ales and several seasonal and festival brews, he and graphic designer Ian Gregory have spent the past year working on new images for all of them.

Now the clips have won a national award for Best Range of Pump Clips from the Society of Independent Brewers.

With the business only just over four years old, Malcolm can’t believe the designs have received national attention.

The 39-year-old explains: ‘The original pumps I designed myself. Whilst they were reasonable for setting up the business they really needed re-designing. They definitely needed a better-looking style.

‘I went to several companies and they didn’t come up with anything better than I could do – and I’m not even a designer, so it didn’t say a lot.’

It was then that Malcolm came across Ian, who had a regular blog about anything and everything, although he occasionally reviewed ales. He also happened to be a graphic designer.

Malcolm says: ‘He actually requested one of the images of my original pump clips for the website. I gave it to him and then looked at some of his other designs and thought he was the perfect person to do it. His designs were so distinctive.’

Winning the award for the Best Range of Pump Clips couldn’t have been better for the pair.

With growing credibility in the industry, the recognition Malcolm will receive for the award has left him delighted.

He says: ‘I’m very, very excited. It’s a national award and there are lots of breweries out there so it’s amazing to have recognition for what we’ve done.

‘It’s a real pat on the back for what Ian’s done as well. It’s what we’ve been working towards finishing for a year.’

He adds: ‘We did them one by one over a long period of time, so we came to think of them individually.

‘The pump clips were so new, so we entered the awards just to see if we would get anything.’

After studying for an honours degree in brewing and distilling at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Malcolm started working at Gales Brewery in Horndean, where he stayed for 11-and-a-half years before the company was taken over and the brewery shut down. In 2007 he decided to start up on his own.

With ideas already in place, it was a case of working together with Ian to create distinctive Portsmouth-based imagery for the pump clips.

He says: ‘I think they’re fantastic. They conform to the brief I set out. They are visible from five metres away and still distinctive which is important, so we can recognise them from a distance.

‘Close-up they are almost quirky, just a little different to the norm.’

Ian has been a graphic designer since 1986 and his love for ale means he couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with Malcolm and his brewery.

With Irving ale in pubs across the city, including The Dolphin in Old Portsmouth and The Lawrence Arms in Southsea, it’s now hard to miss these striking designs.