Full name: Jas Hare
Role: Company Director and Founder
Birthplace: East London
Twitter Handle: @magicspellsbrew
Fun Fact: Jas has an infatuation with Eastern Bloc and Soviet Era cars. He currently owns the biggest private collection of communist era cars in Western Europe, consisting of 18 different cars. The collection contains some of the rarest cars in the UK including marques such as Lada, Czech Skoda, FSO, Yugo, Zastava and an FSC Zuk Fire Engine. His daily drive is a Russian Lada Niva.
Let’s start at the beginning and get some backstory. The seed of Magic Spells began with a half barrel kit in Epping, with beers being brewed for parties and mate’s bands – 3 years later, in April 2017, you’ve opened your first site in Leyton. Could you tell us about where it all began? Where were you brought up and did you ever foresee a career or business in beer?
I was born in Barking and brought up in East London. I was part of a large extended Indian family, living with my parents, my 4 uncles and aunts and all my cousins. The ‘dads’ as we used to call them were all involved in the booze trade, starting with a single off licence in East Ham in the late 70’s, expanding to a chain in the 80’s and then Cash and Carry’s in the 90s. So in that
So in that sense I was always kind of in the trade, helping out my parents. I remember working at the cash and carry in the school holidays. I was paid a fiver a day!!!
Two years ago I returned to help my Dad at the cash and carry and drive its Craft Beer Range. Th business is now leading the way in the wholesale of craft beers.
Leading from above, what’s the best beer or beer drinking experience that you’ve ever enjoyed? Asides from beer, what might we find you drinking?
Oh my God!! Too many to mention over the years. Many beers have been drunk at many festivals and events all over Europe. One of the best beers I have ever drunk was bizarrely at an outdoor Kraftwerk concert in the middle of a forest in Northern Poland. A local brewer had smuggled in some of his brews and ended up sharing it with me. No idea what it was but it was bloody marvellous.
The craft beer scene (and interest in craft beer) has grown exponentially over the last few years. Where do you see things going in the next few years? Any trends we should look out for? Do you think it possible that we’ve hit ‘peak craft beer’?
I don’t think we have a hit a ‘peak’. I don’t think it can peak as such, as it will just evolve and morph into some other direction. But still keep growing. People have been saying for a decade now ‘its just a fad’ or the ‘bubbles gonna burst’. Its not. Breweries will always push the boundaries with styles, flavours and methods. The possibilities are endless.
In terms of trends, we are in very health conscious times. This is where the trend setters are now and this where things are very exciting and challenging for brewers. There a demands for Alcohol Free craft beer, Gluten free craft beer, Vegan friendly craft beer , organic craft beer etc. The challenge is to make beers that are exciting and still tick these health and allergy boxes.
What’s a ‘day in your life’ like? Could you give us an insight into life at Magic Spells Brewery?
As a director my days are very much stuck in the office. A constant sea of papers and licence applications, and vat returns etc. Very dull indeed. It’s the guys on the brewery floor that have all the fun. I am very envious on most days. lol
What’s your greatest/most memorable professional moment been, so far?
Its just the success of the brewery as a whole really. When I started my aim was just to get 500 reviews on Untappd. We hit that last week. Its small victories along the way I guess. Hackney Hare being Roger Protz’s beer of the month was fantastic. Making a lager for Calum Best and Amar Adatia’s movie premiere for Dangerous Game was amazing. Opening the Tap Room and filling the dance floor with happy people all drinking our beer was a real buzz too.
Where do you get your ideas?
Loads of ideas come from my long suffering other half Aga. She is very much the un sung hero of the brewery, Helping with much of the creative side of the brand such as the labels. In fact the ‘P.S I Love You’ we brewed last year was a thankyou to all our long suffering wives and partners.
Much of the actual brewing ideas come from our head brewer Glenn Ackerman. The old fella really is a brewing legend. If he does not know it, it’s not worth knowing.
What’s your philosophy, summed up in a sentence?
Don’t let the bastards get you down.
What advice would you give to aspiring food and drinks entrepreneurs who’d want the kind of results that you’ve had?
Keep going no matter what. Don’t be afraid to change things and start again if they are not working. Try and react and take criticism on board. (Its not easy) Do not get down about criticism. Just keep doing what you like. Don’t try and make everyone like your beer. Just find people who do and stick with them.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing instead?
Probably something to do with classic cars.
If you could get anyone to try your beer (fictional or real, living or dead) who would you pick and which of the beers would you like them to try? Assume that they go on to be your brand ambassador…
I would love Hunter S Thompson to try our IPA. He is one of my all time heroes. A great writer, thinker and general crazy. I always remember his wise words. “Good People drink good beer”.
What’s your ultimate aim and goal for the brewery? If you could achieve anything with it, what would you pick? Money and reality are no obstacle, so shoot for the moon…
I just want as many people to be able to taste our beers as possible. We love opening the Tap Room to the public. One day would love to have some Magic Spells Brewery Tap Rooms or Pubs in other parts of the UK. No! sod it . Would love to have one in Las Vegas! With a swimming pool slap bang in the middle of it.
Where next for you and the business?
We got some great new beers coming. A Double IPA called Cosmic Love Radiation is being bottled as we speak. Our first strong beer at 7.3 % ABV. We are also working on Stout which should be out in time for Christmas.
Generally we just want to keep going. It’s a tough game. We love what we are doing and we don’t want to stop.
And we always ask three customary ridiculous questions…
If you could swap lives for the day with any fictional character (and you’d be guaranteed to return to your life after 24 hours), who would you choose, and why?
Raoul Duke. The narrator and protagonist from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Why? If I told you I would have to kill you.
If you had to become some kind of vegetable related superhero, which would you become, and what would you superpower be?
I would definitely be Onion Man. My super power would be to make the bad guys cry.
You have acquired a pet T-Rex and are morally obliged to look after it. It is 13 ft tall at the hips, eats half a ton of raw meat a day, and likes taking long walks. What would you call it and what would you do to keep it entertained and housed?
I would call it Punk. He would live in the brewery. He would act as a guard dog (our dog Punk sadly passed away this year) and his job would be to guard the place and get rid of people after closing time who don’t want to leave. I would feed him all the sales reps that keep turning up at the brewery trying to sell us useless stuff that we don’t need.