Food & Drink

The low-calorie beer coming from south west London in time for summer

A new low-calorie beer out of south west London is set to bring a refreshing approach to drinking just in time for summer.

YABBA, named after an infamous Australian cricket heckler, was launched by best friends Jonny Parker and Matt Yeabsley on May bank holiday weekend, and it’s picking up momentum with customers.

At 4% ABV and containing 30% less calories than mainstream beers, YABBA is a vegan beer that successfully meets the requirements of people who want a drink that is neither a hard seltzer or a low alcohol beer.

Parker said: “In summer YEBBA comes into its own, because it’s so refreshing and you don’t feel sluggish or bloated when you drink it.”

Parker and Yeabsley, both 26 and in full-time jobs, lived in Australia after graduating, where they discovered the world of low-calorie beers.

These beers fit active lifestyles and are naturally refreshing, which is suitable for hot weather.

YEBBA beer, garden sunny day people socialising
SUMMER-READY: The beer is the perfect companion for warm summer weather. Credit: Jonny Parker

However the pair found that similar drinks weren’t so popular in the UK.

Parker said: “We got hooked on it in Australia, but we just couldn’t find beer of a similar quality in the UK.

“The equivalents here are more mainstream, like Bud Light and Coors Light, and they felt like a compromise in terms of taste and flavour.

“There weren’t many independent brands that we’d support and consume.”

The refreshing credentials of low-calorie beer are down to its long and unique brewing process, which helps it maintain more body and flavour.

YABBA collaborated with Brew Lab, who developed varied recipes for the brand which were tasted in blind testing trials.

One of YABBA’s variations was rated second out of 11 mainstream and low calorie beers by a blind testing group.

Parker added: “People objectively liked it, not knowing it was a low calorie beer, and having no idea which ones we made.”

The brand worked with Brixton resident and graphic designer Conor Knight, who brought the vision to life after it was conceived last march.

YABBA’s growing consumer interest comes from it’s sleek design and people’s curiosity as to whether it tastes like other beers.

It is now contract brewing with partners Boss Brewing.


YEBBA sustainable packaging
SUSTAINABLE: YABBA pays mind to packaging that doesn’t harm the environment. Credit: Jonny Parker

Parker and Yeabsley are determined to prove that small businesses can be a force for good from the beginning, with YABBA’s plastic-free ecommerce packaging and all of its carbon emissions being offset with Ecologi.

They use Ecologi as YABBA has no commercial premises, making it difficult to calculate how much carbon it is producing.

Ecologi compensates for carbon footprints by calculating the emissions of companies like YABBA as a workforce rather than as a business, and uses payments from them to fund climate projects across the world.

YABBA has also partnered with a leading sustainable brewery to reduce water usage, source local ingredients, and provide used hops to nearby farms for animal feed.

Parker added: “It’s important to us that there’s a local benefit to the work we’re doing on the climate change side.

“Naturally, it’s a problem caused by many western economies, but the people who suffer the most are in developing countries and we didn’t want to shun that side of it.”

YABBA bottle, green leaves
CONSCIOUS: The co-founders do what they can for carbon emissions and climate change. Credit: LUCY-LE-LIEVRE

YABBA held it’s launch party in the in Denmark Hill Temple Bowling Club.

It had nine to 12 months of stock available on the first day of business, yet sold 60-65% of it in the first month.

Parker added: “We’re absolutely blown away by the support we have had from the south west London community, and also the people who are happy with the beer and what we’ve produced.”

Though most of YABBA’s sales have been made on its website where it is available for purchase in cases of 12, it has recently secured a permanent fixture at Pipoca, a vegan bulk store in Brixton, where the beer can be bought by the bottle.

Parker expressed that the pandemic freed up time and money to develop the brand on evenings and weekends.

He said: “I really don’t think we’d have been able to do it if it wasn’t for the pandemic; it’s been fundamental to our success so far.”

YABBA’s light and refreshing qualities fit beer into active lifestyles.

It also caters for Australia and the USA’s attention towards drinking moderation – something Parker and Yeabsley want to see in the UK.

In the spirit of Yabba’s heckling towards English cricketers, Parker added: “Let’s hope to keep up with the Aussies a little more.”

You can purchase your own case of YABBA beer here.

Featured image credit: Little Places

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