Duration Brewing is the lovechild of an exciting couple: Miranda Hudson, a Londoner, and Derek Bates, a North Carolinian. Founded in April 2017, Duration is a modern farmhouse brewery located inside a 16th Century, Grade II listed barn in West Norfolk that makes ‘beers that belong’. After two years of collaborative and nomadic releases, Duration released their first Norfolk brewed beers in December 2019.
With Bates focusing on beer and Hudson on everything else, Duration landed on the UK craft beer market with a unique offering: an impressive collection of fresh, innovative beers and blended farmhouse-style ales, alongside sleek design, and an energetic and personable social media presence.
During these difficult times, the people at Duration are focusing on direct-to-consumer sales of packaged beer through their online store, as well as running beer competitions, brewery tours, and meet-the-brewer events, all of them virtually. They are also participating in the ‘Buy the NHS a pint’ scheme.
Shiptheory sits between our warehouse inventory system of saleable products and our online shop and our ordering system to book in the correct transport required on our behalf. Having integrated automated systems in place means less human error which means happier customers and a happier team able to focus on well brewing the beers.
Miranda Hudson - Co-Owner
Q: Tell us about your story so far, and what makes Duration different from other breweries?
A: Duration is a modern farmhouse brewery making beers that belong in rural Norfolk. We opened 6 months ago (this Friday) in a historic stone barn at West Acre Priory though we were nomadic brewing since 2017. Our beers offer a real farmhouse connection to them and we work with what comes out the ground to reconnect beer back to its agricultural roots using our regions rich bounty to pour nature into each glass. Our range offers everyday, agricultural, slow and spontaneous beers. Wild ales and fresh beers brewed from nature with purpose. We hope in time to celebrate modern beer in a traditional context with a designation site that is educational, pioneering and expands the UK offering.
Q: How did you come up with the name 'Duration'?
A: The name Duration was chosen for 3 key reasons - it relates to tempo and time - musically speaking it’s the distance between two beat. Creatively to us it carries meaning too. Henry Bergson’s Elon Vital pertained that all living things strive to reinvent themselves in order to remain relevant. It’s kind of like yeast - evolution - progress. With beer that carries special weigh to us. Last and third is it’s just a word, one that is understood in many languages and can be heard over the bar that means different things to different people - they can bring their meaning to it.
Q: Why did you choose a Grade II listed barn in Norfolk as the home of Duration?
A: We want to tell beers story and for it to be fun and educational having a great destination just adds to that. Our historic building is a back drop and a pretty good access point to brewing's agricultural history. We actually picked the land first - brewing farmhouse ales means working with native cultures present to inoculate the wort spontaneously. For good bacterium and yeast to be present we wanted a place with a strong and biodiverse ecosystem - birds, bees, bats, established fruit and hardwoods, running water, farmland and woodland. The barn was just an added bonus - even if it was a bit of a hurdle to convert.
Q: Your first ever beer was a collaboration with Manchester's Cloudwater Brew Co. named 'Fool for You'. Why starting with a saison, which admittedly is not the most popular type of beer?
A: Being farmhouse focused we want to revive not traditional but also just lesser known styles to dispel the myth that there should be a dominant beer style. Sure, pales and IPA’s are popular right now but the landscape is always changing. We’re here to showcase and revive some of the beers we enjoy - Lambic style ales, porters, wit beers and saisons. Don’t get me wrong I love a pale and a pilsner as much as the next beer loving woman but I love the complexity and nuance that to me shines best in saisons and spon beers. That’s just my palate - but that’s the beauty of a product that has so much diversity it can be horses for courses not mob rule!
Q: On a similar note, what's the process of creating a new beer?
A: We first decide on the style and what we want to showcase to build the receipt around it - be that in the grist, hops, malt or yeast, often it’s a combination of them at play together. While it’s in tank we work on a name and give the name to our artist to design the label. As it develops through to dry hop we share the tasting notes to assist in finalising the design. Then we pack and send it out in the world!
Q: What's been Duration's most significant achievement to this point?
A: Post opening I would have said getting here, post COVID I would have said opening new routes to market, post the recent and ongoing race riots I would have said as a mixed-race business owner - keeping focus when I want to do is tear up the law book and rewrite it reduce discrimination.
Q: How does Shiptheory help you with managing your online orders?
A: When we set up we wanted an automated system to make the manual entry less cumbersome. We ultimately want our time to focus on making beer not selling it. We sell at wholesale, trade and retail level so we need tight inventory, we also need to book pallet and courier collections based on weight and postcode. Shiptheory sits between our warehouse inventory system of saleable products and our online shop and our ordering system to book in the correct transport required on our behalf. Having integrated automated systems in place means less human error which means happier customers and a happier team able to focus on well brewing the beers.
Q: What does the future of Duration look like?
A: The future for Duration looks the same as it always did. To take beer the next step on its journey to make good beer, with good people in a way that respects where we are and to remain here for Independent beer. We have an online shop, a regional wholesale and national supply chain and in time we hope to add a local taproom.
Photos by Theresa Undine