As February rolls in and the days are getting longer we at PLATF9RM are relishing the influx of new bright-eyed members. The Bison Beer lads; Jack Cregan and Nick Vardy have been with us a little while and we finally got the chance to pick the brains behind Hove's Bison Beer.
You guys are like the Thelma and Louise of beer (but without the murdering - hopefully). Can you boil the Bison Beer journey down to a film like sequence for us please?
Nick - So Jack and I started trying to come up with something but then a particular scene jumped into my head immediately. You know 'Dumb and Dumber'? The scene where they’ve got a tiny mini scooter and their riding to Aspen on it. That’s like a snapshot of our journey.
They’re going somewhere, they’re best mates but they have fallings-out, they’re very similar and kind of foolhardy and they’re on an adventure. They’re not equipped to get to their destination but somehow they manage it - it’s a good parallel to our journey for the first year or so.
Jack - We knew where we were going but we didn’t have the right vehicle.
Nick - We set off on an adventure and we’re still trying to get to Aspen, metaphorically and literally.
Jack - Nick showed me the scooter scene and I was in creases.
You guys have studied together, lived together, worked together and 3 years ago started a business together… It’s safe to say you’re besties. Do you feel this friendship and familiarity has carried through to your brand?
Jack - I think ultimately the business has been built on the values of our friendship; the things that we hold close - fun, pride, lightheartedness. They follow through into what we do as a business and the way we treat our customers and our collaborators - we treat them the same way we treat each other.
Nick - When we had the brand in the early stages of development we were about to sign it off and I woke up in cold sweats at 3 in the morning with the thought ‘This brand is not fun’. We wanted to come into Brighton as a fun city with a fun brand. So we threw it away and started again and thought about our values. We were very much focused on the fun aspects because its beer; it’s fun and lighthearted. As we grow we’re looking for other adventures that are associated with these values.
From previous chats you both speak so highly of the creatives you work with - Would you like to take a moment to pop their names into metaphorical bright lights…
Jack - Dan and Sarah from See Creatures Design, who did our original artwork and core can range. Tom and Chloe from Buff Motion who have provided most of our animations and helped with video content. Charlotte and Dan of Art + Believe for the coolest collaboration can label we’ve done to date.
A long list of local illustrators we’ve done beer can designs with starting with our very own Tamara D’Silva and on to the likes of Chloe Batchelor, Will Blood, Ben Hackney, Billy Mather, Jessica Sharville, Joe Pearson, Graham Clark, and George Sharp to name but a few.
If Bison Beer didn’t exist and money was no object, what job would you be doing right now?
Nick - I had never thought about it because I’ve been fortunate enough to work in things I enjoy like sport and radio music and now I’m working in beer.
But I do like the idea of being in a location for a period of time and using that location to drive a project; creating it, delivering it and then moving on. So using those surroundings to drive a project from concept to formalisation. I’d like to travel around in different cultures. We are going to France to do a wine expedition.
At Uni you guys lived together above a booze shop in London… What do you think your most annoying habits were as flatmates?
Jack - Theft; stealing each other’s beers and food.
Nick - Hang on - you moved my car! I had just bought a BMW and was really excited about it and they picked up the keys, drove it round the corner and then were asking me where my car had gone!
Jack - It was even better than that. We had purposefully arranged for him to drive us all to uni so we were all there to see his reaction.
Nick - There were plenty of pranks of that sort of standard.
Jack - We also used to watch a lot of the OC and argue about who was the best character - It’s Ryan.
Grace - It’s definitely Seb.
Nick - Isn’t it Seth?
Grace - I'm clearly confusing Seth Coen and Seb Royle PLATF9RM 's founder!
Bison Beer has done some cool stuff in the past 3 years - What opportunities and collaborations would you be open to in the future?
Nick - Well we’ve done plenty with artists but one thing we’ve been thinking about is music. Beer and bands go well together so we’d like to be associated with a cool band.
And also fashion - collaborating with someone like vans but maybe more Brighton-based. It’s probably not very profitable but would be cool!
Jack - Also collaborating with Britney Spears.
Grace - You could call it 'Britney’s beers'?
Nick - That'll be our next project, we’ll get everyone at the office behind the collaboration of Bison and Britney!
Carpophobia is the fear of fruit - a fun fact leading into a question - What random or irrational fears do you guys have?
Nick - Mayonnaise! It’s evil and it’s taking over - it’s in every sandwich on every supermarket shelf. I’m going to starve before long. It’s my worst phobia. I hate mayonnaise more than spiders or flying.
Jack - We both hate flying. And I have a fear of missing out. That results in having to go out a lot and try and be in two places at once.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would you be?
Jack - We’ve got two locations that couldn't be further apart.
I would live in Lake Annecy, actually on the lake itself. It’s in France near Switzerland. It's stunning. It’s absolutely beautiful and it’s got a beer shop. You can cycle round the lake in four and half hours and it’s the most epic cycle.
Nick - Freemantle, just outside of Perth in Western Australia. Little Creatures started their brewery there. It’s a really cool, Bohemian town. It’s like Brighton; its really music-y and artsy and warm.
Can you sum Bison up in three adjectives?
Jack - We’re going with accessible, brave and boozy.
If you think you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.