Living Wage week: A craft beer with a conscience

Charlie and Sam meet Labour councillor Jo Rigby to discuss the Living Wage
Charlie and Sam meet Labour councillor Jo Rigby to discuss the Living Wage

During Living Wage Week, we are celebrating local businesses who have become accredited Living Wage Employers.

We visited Gipsy Hill Brewery, set up by Charlie and Sam in 2014, with an early commitment to paying Living Wage. The Gipsy Hill Brewery team spotted the global trend towards craft beers early on, and have established themselves nationally, with a large fan base in South London.

Their business is also taking off over in Europe with distribution in Spain and Italy.  The brewery has a Tap Room right next door, with the finished barrels taking a short roll across the yard before being served at the bar.

We asked Charlie and Sam why it was important, as a fledgling business, that they became accredited as a Living Wage Employer. For them, it’s all about the team, and building a culture where all members feel that they are equally valued.

Sam spoke of his concerns about how our society is negatively impacted by increasing levels of inequality, and he sees the Living Wage as just one step to address this. They firmly believe that by being a Living Wage Employer, they have been able to retain a quality team, reducing the costs that come with a high staff turnover.  So far, they’ve not had anyone leave the brewing team!

Sam puts it simply, “If you feel valued, and are paid as if you’re valued, then you’re more likely to outperform over time. Pay people poorly and your staff turnover will be high with your team less likely to be invested in your success.”

Charlie told us about the things they do to create social inclusivity.  The Tap Room is fully accessible, and the tables have been set at wheelchair height.  This is an area that they would do much more in if business grants were available.

Research from the Living Wage Foundation shows that 86% of accredited employers agree that it has improved the reputation of their business.  With so many craft beers out there, customers can feel good about choosing a brand that cares about its carbon footprint, and about the people who brew and bottle their favourite after-work tipple.

Sam and Charlie, we’d like to say ‘cheers’ for becoming Living Wage accredited, you deserve every success as a business.

For more information about becoming a Living Wage Employer and to find out if the brands you choose pay Living Wage, visit

Author: Wandsworth Labour

News and opinion from Wandworth Labour councillors

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