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5 Years of Sour Beer

Vault City Brewing 5th Birthday

5 Years of Sour Beer

This month we celebrated our 5th birthday, and to tell you the truth we still can’t quite believe it. What started out as just 2 part-time employees has grown to a team of nearly 30 across our brewery and two taprooms.

The whole thing’s got us feeling quite nostalgic, so we decided to cast our mind back, dig out some old photos and get reminiscent. But before we go too far down the rabbit hole, we want to say thank you.

We won’t go all sentimental on you, but in the sincerest way possible, we want to say to anyone and everyone who’s supported our brewery, drank our beer, checked us in on Untappd, followed us on social media, helped spread the word or chatted with us at a festival: thank you.

Vault City Brewing 5th Birthday Beer Releases

Behind the Vault

A question people ask us all the time is: “Why are you called Vault City?” This seems like a good place to start, and as good a time as any to tell everyone the story behind the name.

Now, if you’re from Edinburgh, the connection is probably obvious. For everyone else, here’s our best tour guide impression… Edinburgh is a city steeped in history and tradition. It’s home to ancient underground vaults that have been part of its history for well over 2 centuries. Locals and tourists can visit the underground vaults to learn more about their dark past which we won’t go into, but it’s fair to say they have a huge cultural relevance and make up a big part of the city’s rich tapestry.

We use the tagline ‘Modern Sour Beer’, as it’s essentially a modern take on a very traditional style, and for exactly that reason we saw synergy with these ancient vaults in a modern city - et voilà.

The incredibly talented Heather McManus took on the job of creating a logo for the brand, which has evolved over the last 5 years.


Vault City original logo

The Early Days...

After experimenting with heavily fruited, mixed fermentation sour beers, Steven and Johnny spotted a niche that seemed to be enjoyed by avid craft beer fans and non-beer drinkers alike. This style has grown massively in popularity over the last 5 years, and it’s still the essence of what we do at Vault City: big fruity, accessible beers with a sweet/sour balance and a ridiculous idea thrown in every now and again.  

Our journey started in Steve’s kitchen, using the biggest brew kit they could fit into the space...

The first ever Vault City beers, Elderflower and Mango were sent out into the world! Okay, well most of them were sent out into Edinburgh, but nonetheless, Vault City were officially official, showcasing our hand bottled, hand labelled fruited sours.

 Vault City Elderflower Sour

Demand quickly outgrew the supply and an invite to Beavertown Extravaganza 2018 alongside lots of local showcases meant Vault City needed a bigger space immediately. Within the first year, Vault City moved (temporarily) out of Edinburgh to Dundee, into the home of 71 Brewing where we rented some warehouse space and moved our production from a kitchen to a fully-fledged commercial brewing kit, from 400 litres to 4000 litres at a time.

 Vault City at Indy Man Beer Con

It wasn’t long before we started looking for our own space and planned our move back to Edinburgh. It was also around this time that Johnny and Steve parted ways, with Johnny starting Holy Goat, his new brewing venture. By Christmas 2020 we’d moved back to Edinburgh and we’re still here today, with our roots, brewery and taproom all firmly in Portobello - for now, at least!

Vault City Portobello Brewery

Where are we now?

Are you still with us? The brewery we mean, not the blog – we’d forgive you for not reading this far.

We love hearing about the first time someone tried Vault City, and we’re amazed at how many drank our beer for the first time in those early days; from kitchens to cuckoo brewing and eventually finding our own dedicated brewing space back in Edinburgh.

Fast forward to today and we’re wondering where the time went?! We’ve built ourselves a core range with supermarket sours and at least 6 new releases every month sent out to bars and bottle shops across the UK and well beyond. On top of that, our Porty Vault taproom just turned 1 and The Wee Vault turns 2 this November. We’ve since collaborated with some of our favourite breweries and the odd celebrity. We’re producing about 1.4 million litres of beer each year, all the while maintaining our 4-day work week. We’re still finding new flavour combos and new ways to push the boundaries of what people might expect from a beer. At this point we’re looking back with gratitude and looking forward to the next 5 years, whatever they might bring - we’re sure there’ll be lots of beers.

Vault City 5 Years of Sour Beer

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