Hornchurch brewer tackles prostate cancer with beer

07:00 09 June 2014

Stephen. Picture: Mike Heath

Stephen. Picture: Mike Heath


It may be the dream of many drinkers to produce their own beer – but what if their product could also help save lives?

From the left (Tom Rowe, Dale Michael, Matt Sadler, Simon Connor, Will Waldron, Stephen Cross, Dave Buonaguidi). Picture: Mike HeathFrom the left (Tom Rowe, Dale Michael, Matt Sadler, Simon Connor, Will Waldron, Stephen Cross, Dave Buonaguidi). Picture: Mike Heath

Hornchurch brewer Stephen Cross has done just that by launching Two Fingers Brewing Co. which makes great-tasting ale while tackling prostate cancer.

His flagship beer – Aurelio – has just won the innovative craft beer accolade at the International Beer Awards in Italy, just two years after he, and the six other co-founders, launched the business.

The Recorder spoke to Stephen, 30, of Appleton Way, to discover why he created a beer that sticks two fingers up to prostate cancer.

“A guy in our office had prostate cancer,” he explained. “It’s also one of the biggest growing cancers and for me, well I have four brothers so I wanted to do anything I can to help,”

Prostate cancer facts

n It is the most common cancer in men in the UK and more than 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year

n One in eight men will develop the cancer at some point in their lives

n Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older

n Doctors can test blood for a prostate-specific antigen that is often overabundant in cases of the disease. The high presence of the antigen can have other causes

n Doctors can also physically examine the prostate in a digital rectal examination (using their fingers)

n Some cases of prostate cancer can be cured if treated in the early stages often with surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy

n Prostate cancer can be slow to develop so many men die with the disease but not because of it

The news shocked former Havering Sixth Form student Stephen and his colleagues at Farringdon advertising agency Karmarama and they decided they had to do something to help.

“My colleagues and I have always wanted to create a beer but never had the excuse to put so much time and effort into it,” said Stephen. “It was too selfish. But we thought ‘this is worth doing now’.

“It’s one of those ideas that needed to be done – a beer that rewards the men that drink it.”

The team, which comprises ideas designers and financial advisers, then got to work in setting up the company that donates all of its profits – at least 10p per bottle – to Prostate Cancer UK.

They started out brewing the beer with Hackney microbrewers London Fields.

“We had no history in brewing but we have been happy to be part of that process,” Stephen said.

“It was a strange one. We went there and tasted a few beers.

“Many of us didn’t know how to take that and we don’t have the fancy vocabulary but we could say if it was a bit bitter or we didn’t like the after taste.

“We kept tasting until we all thought ‘we can drink that’ and then kept tweaking it until it was perfect.”

However, Stephen and the team were not able to keep up with the company’s high-demand for the beer, so they moved their operation to Hepworth Brewery, in West Sussex, where they continued to refine their formula.

The “passion project” is worked on part-time by the team of friends outside of their jobs and they hope to not only raise money for their cause but promote its awareness of it too.

“We are talking to men in the language they understand – if it gets them talking about prostate cancer it’s an absolute benefit,” Stephen.

The brand’s name is a play on the old test to check if a man has the disease – a rectal examination.

“But it’s a bit of an old wives’ tale because you can actually do it through a blood test now,” Stephen said.

Dispelling another myth, Stephen revealed that running your own beer company doesn’t necessarily mean you can drink on the house and he, in fact, buys all his Aurelio from Tesco.

“It’s a dream running your own beer company,” he said.

Read more:

Romford Pictures: Havering’s proud brewing history explored in new exhibition

Nostalgia: Bid to stop drinking in Romford fell on deaf ears

Firefighters tackle beer lorry on fire on M25

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:30
Last night's full council meeting saw decisions being made on the release of £83million to build new affordable homes and the expansion of at least five primary schools

Councillors have agreed to release £83million to provide affordable housing in the borough, expand at least five primary schools to ease the shortage of school places and pledged to ensure more work opportunities for adults with autism in last night’s full council meeting.

Yesterday, 14:27
Police were called at 12.58pm in the proximity of the Brewery shopping centre in Romford

Trains stopped going through Romford station after police reported a suspicious vehicle in proximity of The Brewery.

Yesterday, 07:00
File photo dated 28/09/15 of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who is warning the Government's failure to invest in Britain's infrastructure is putting the future prosperity of the country at risk.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP is due to visit Havering on today to speak to young Labour members.

Yesterday, 07:00
Robert Knowles serving food platters and salt beef sandwiches at the TapRoom micropub in Upminster, which opened on Saturday

The borough’s first micropub finally opened on Saturday and welcomed its first customers with locally sourced pork pies, cheese platters and real ale.

Wed, 14:12
Chancellor George Osborne outlined the government's spending plans in his Autumn Statement and Spending Review (Pic: PA/Yui Mok)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced his budget proposal for the next five years – here are the main things to know.

Wed, 11:56
Picture: Google maps

A man has been arrested os suspicion of stabbing a 16-year-old boy near Havering College.

Wed, 11:23
The London Fire Brigade has put forward proposals to axe 13 fire engines - including one from Stratford - to save £11million

‘All the conversation now is about social media, removing something as important as this is a false economy’ say Tories

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder