Dots! It's not just Hops!

braille, CraftForAll, dots -

Dots! It's not just Hops!

Hops and Dots Brew Co. was founded with a love of beer and braille. Before I founded Hops and Dots with my good friend Hugh, I was known mostly for my knowledge of braille, especially the production of braille and the use of technology.

The beers we produce are intended to be accessible and tasty (obviously); but brewing is something I am still learning from and making mistakes (like taking the wrong valve of a pressurised tank). The braille (dots) has been my specialism for a long time now - it is my day job.

As we set-up our new brewery and tap-room we want to expand our approach to making everything we do as accessible as possible. We also intend to become a community focussed business that engages with our local community, especially with those who experience sight loss.

As a small operation we haven't kept up with demand with regards to the hops and the dots but we hope both of those things change very soon! We do have some exciting announcements to make very soon too.

With regards to the dots, a little while when I worked in Middlesbrough (where we also founded Hops and Dots), I was asked by the Royal Institute Of the Blind to put some short articles together for professionals on the Unified English Braille (UEB) code. I wanted to share as I am always banging on about hops. As many will attest I have a hop problem - Mmmmm Strata! See!

John Chester (Hops and Braille Geek)


From the RNIB website

Today we kick off our new and exclusive five-part series on braille. In part one, John Chester, VI Learning Coordinator at The King’s Academy Middlesbrough, shares what you need to know about the transition from Standard English Braille (SEB) to Unified English Braille (UEB).

Five years ago, when it was announced that UEB would be the UK’s official braille code it seemed a very distant change. For many professionals, this seemed a daunting prospect because of the changes which define UEB.


UEB differs from SEB as there is less to learn, meaning for beginners it's a little easier. For braille producers, teachers and long-standing users there are changes which will affect you one way or another. Here are just some of them:

  • Nine contractions are no longer used: o’clock (shortform), dd, to, into, by, ble, com, ation, ally
  • And, for, the, of and with can no longer be written next to each other without a space
  • Reduction in the complexity of the rules governing the use of certain contractions
  • Use of specific indicators for bold, italics and underlined text
  • All under one roof – no special codes for maths or computer braille. One code for all.
  • Many new signs used in maths

If you've made it this far, and this is your kind of thing - check out the RNIB website here.