Mondo Brewing Company
Posted on January 27 2021
Mondo is a brewery right on trend … a happening place! Even through this pandemic year and lockdown. Nothing stands still and they’re quick to adapt to circumstance. The only way for a business to have survived 2020!
Founders of Mondo are Todd Matteson and Thomas Palmer, both Americans now firmly based in the UK, in Battersea to be precise. They met in 2013, working the same late shifts at Hackney’s London Fields Brewery. Both were a little disgruntled with the frequent bits of broken kit and the lack of consistency in the brewing. They talked often, went for a late-night beer and eventually came up with a plan for starting their own brewery. Todd already had this on his agenda, expecting to do so in his hometown in Connecticut, but with Tom rooted in the UK, he changed tack and Battersea became their chosen destination.
About Mondo Brewing Company
Mondo Brewing Co's address: 86 Stewart's Rd, Nine Elms, London, SW8 4UG
Mondo's craft beer styles: IPA, American Session Beers, Lager
Mondo's craft beer worth trying: A few of our favourites are available in our craft beer online bottleshop
Online: Visit the Mondo Brewing Co. website.
Paths into brewing
For both of them, their initiation into brewing goes back years. From St Louis, Missouri, Tom had an early schooling in yeast and brewing. He wasn’t keen on ‘real’ school, played up and was often sent home. He was too young to be left on his own, so his dad would take him into work – to Budweiser, where he worked in the yeast plant. There Tom got his first taste of the stuff, of yeast, and was introduced to its magic … all of which must have planted a tiny ‘seed’.
Tom made his first brew with a friend in 1999 – a very drinkable lager. Encouraged, he carried on with homebrewing for the next 8 years or so, until he moved to Japan. Unsurprisingly perhaps, he found it hard to get hold of the style of beers he enjoyed in the States. So, with no alternative, he got back into homebrewing, although finding kit and ingredients was tricky in a country where homebrewing was illegal. Luckily for him, there was quite an ex-pat scene out there – from a multitude of nations – and they’d share information on sourcing items, discussing recipes and generally being competitive about who could make the best beer! In fact, out of this group of 21, eight of them have gone on to brew professionally. And that includes Tom.
He left Japan in 2011 (post the devastating earthquake and tsunami), returned to the States, then travelled around Europe. That included trips to London, particularly to The Kernel and the burgeoning Camden craft beer scene. His next stop was Spain, when he was invited to brew beer for a friend’s restaurant in Barcelona. In 2013, he got back to the UK.
Todd is a Connecticut boy. His cousin, a food scientist, encouraged him to try his hand at brewing and, by his first beer, he’d decided that long-term this was his vocation. It took a while ...
He first worked in the New York music industry. His wife’s work moved around the country though and, luckily enough, to the UK on a 2-year contract. There, he started work with London Fields, as well as attending brew school … all part of his big plan to start a brewery. Tom joined the team at London Fields three months or so later and, always stuck on the same late shifts, brewing, filling boxes and packing orders, they became firm friends. By 2013 they had a business plan and were out the door.Shop Mondo beers
A new brewhouse in Battersea … with free popcorn!
They eventually found premises – not in any cramped railway arch (the norm for many breweries) but in Battersea in an old warehouse, with the light, space and potential to make it into a brewery and taproom, and to expand when the time came.
Their taproom is a great place, full of character and atmosphere (outside of lockdown, of course!). Natural brickwork walls, plenty of light and space, with floor to ceiling windows looking straight into the ultra-modern brewery and bottling line. An impressive, well-polished copper bar with 15 beers on tap. The 15 include taproom exclusives, other experimentals and seasonal beers, as well as the core range. In the good old days, hopefully they’ll be back very soon, there are quiz nights, Friday music nights, and quarterly parties with street food, too. And FREE popcorn!
Beers influenced by the world – Mondo
And the name they chose? ‘Mondo’ ... Italian for ‘world’. As they draw inspiration from beers across the globe.
Their aim from the very start has been “to strive for the very best”, “niche beer that is inclusive, not exclusive, with your enjoyment central to our approach”. They always insist on the finest ingredients and employ the best equipment, so they can produce, week in, week out, their beers to the same exact standard and taste. Yet with home brewing being the starting point for both Tom and Todd, unsurprisingly experimentation and boundary pushing is also at their heart.
They released their first brew in March 2015.
A community brewery – the upside of the pandemic
Both Tom and Todd agree it’s been a very tough pandemic year. However, the upside has been their growth within the community. Their brewery and taproom are quite tucked away in a small industrial area, so, in normal times, you don’t get many passers-by. However, it has now become a prime route for locals on their way for daily exercise in Battersea Park. People who had enjoyed their beers in London pubs spotted the brewery sign and were delighted to be buying local. Mondo also supply nationwide and have done well, thanks to the growing trend to support small, independent breweries. Understandably, wanted to be a part of it all!
And it’s not only pubs that are serving them when it’s not lockdown … the team created a Mexican-style amber lager called Pinche Guey, to supply Wahaca restaurants, and a Yuzu pale ale for the Japanese restaurant chain, Tonkotsu. Their first customer was Dishoom in London, who even brew their house IPA for them. Worth looking out for when restaurant visits are back on the cards.
As for the future? They have dreams of starting a farm with another brewery branch, along with a restaurant and a visitor centre. Perhaps more immediately, when the fallout of Covid19 has settled, they hope to open a special pizza and beer taproom in southwest London … and from the sounds of it, those won’t be run-of-the-mill pizzas, but something special.
Collaborations are also high up the agenda for Mondo – it stimulates the learning curve and challenges the boundaries on beer making. In 2019, they joined up with two prestigious breweries in the States – J Wakefield to make Wake & Bake and with Narrow Gauge to make Trainspotting, both pokey DIPAs. In 2020, they worked with Sweden’s Malmö Brewing and Iceland’s Gaedinger Brew to produce a rather special triple-fruited kettle sour, called Nordic Jams. They’ve also worked with Missouri-based brewer Urban Chestnut and with Heretic in California to make a cherry sour.
It’s no surprise that Jared, our Head of Beer, wanted to work with two fellow Americans to create an exclusive collaboration just for our comrades.
They all wanted to pay tribute to the classic West Coast IPA, to celebrate their shared loved for San Francisco. Moth to a Flame was born! For our existing subscribers, this will be featured in your cases during February to enjoy.
And with charities
And Tom and Todd have charities in mind too. With Weathered Souls brewery in the States they produced an Imperial Stout, Black is Beautiful, to raise funds for the Black Curriculum charity, to support people of colour.
This year, they produced a summer-berry gose to help raise money for the charity ‘We’ve Got You’ and the beleaguered hospitality trade.
Work in Progress
Plus, there’s the Work in Progress project – they have joined a small group of breweries, pushing for more diversity and inclusion within the brewing industry – from design to production to promotion to logistics. Their first project is with Lily Waite and the Queer Brewing Company, making an American brown ale. And ever the experimentals, this will include a small portion of the beer going into Pinot Noir barrels for ageing!
Colouring in – it’s a great job
As for the dazzling artwork, that sits particularly strikingly on the Mondo cans as well as their bottles, this is the work of Luke Drozd, who admits he does ‘colouring in for a living’. They are certainly vividly hued and eye-catching.
The design starts with a beer name, which stems from brewery floor banter, collaboration, chat round the pub table or wherever. Once a name is chosen, the design is over to Luke to interpret, with links to music, pop culture, artists that they all like. Luke’s work runs through everything visual you find at Mondo. If the beer wasn’t enough of a reason to buy the cans and bottles, the artwork certainly is!
We hope you enjoyed learning more about Mondo and you enjoy their beers even more! We've loved working with them this month and can't wait to do more in the future.
Watch as Jared, our beer expert, chats (virtually) with Mondo's co-founder, Tom.
Cheers to Tom, Todd and everyone at Mondo.