Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Chistmas Everybody

Just a quick blog today, it is after all Christmas Eve and I’ve shopping to do. So yesterday we received the keys to our new premises and invited our families along to have a quick look. We celebrated with a couple of local ales and then congregated at the Old Mill for further celebration over “Christmas Dinner”. I’ve put Christmas Dinner in quotes as only two of us actually ordered turkey and Christmas pud.

Anyhow it’s a high to finish the year on, but come the New Year the real graft starts. In the meantime, as Noddy would say, Merry Christmas everybody.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Beer Tasting Challenge

So last Thursday was a busy day for us and it finished with our Beer Tasting Challenge. Some 30 guests blind-tasted five beers, judged them and told us what they liked best. The results were not as expected!

I previously blogged that George and I visited the local hostelries to ascertain what beers sold best. The top four beers favoured in Berkhamsted are (with no great surprise): Fullers London Pride, GreeneKing IPA, Sharp’s Doom Bar and Tring’s Side Pocket for a Toad. We purchased polypins of these beers along with one of Chiltern’s Beechwood Bitter. We then got our beery guinea pigs to try the beers without being told what they are. We had a few stray women in the audience, and I have separated out their views for now.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Milestone date

Today was another busy microbrewery day and a momentous occasion. Today Scott and Nick signed the lease for our microbrewery. We are now committed to Unit 2 River Park for 5 years (with a lease break) – bloomin' hell I need a sit down and a beer. The property is a recently refurbished industrial unit with plenty of space to brew beer, host brewery tours or brew days and, if planning goes ahead, sell beer in our new trade counter. 

Friday, 6 December 2013

There's something in a name

The hardened northern brewers up at Brewlab and PBC weren’t too sure of the Haresfoot Brewery name, causing a bit of a wobble in confidence with my co-directors. I have explained the origins of our name in a previous blog post.

Anyhow as a quick response I have carried out a little market research on the name via email and Facebook. Some 34 friends and family replied to me over a weekend, so many thanks to them.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Drinking beer for research

George and I carried out some extensive market research today. We visited all the pubs in Berkhamsted, had half a pint in most and asked what beers they sold the most. The most popular beers in Berkhamsted appear to be:Fullers London Pride (a great all round pint), Tring’s Side Pocket for a Toad (a hoppy session beer), Green King IPA (I suppose it’s cheap but I prefer the Abbot) and Sharp's Doom Bar (not my personal choice). The idea is to offer these beers at a blind tasting and see which people genuinely like to drink without the branding. Is it about taste or hype?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Who are you?

I think yesterday’s newspaper article clearly explains why my co-investors and I are setting up a microbrewery. It’s more to do with being involved in the community and producing a tangible product (rather than pushing bits of information around the ether), but it’s also a sound business opportunity.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Our first news article

Well the cat is truly out of the bag, in fact he has run off with next doors supper and headed for the hills. The article below is our first press coverage in the Berkhamsted & Tring Gazette and Hemel Today on-line. I now it’s not the Guardian or Financial Times but it’s a start. We have tried to keep the microbrewery under wraps, until we have set-up, but the journalist tracked me down after he saw our planning application notice.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

(Don't) start up brewing

It’s the second day of my Start up Brewing course at Brewlab. Tomorrow is a nice easy day with a visit to a few local microbreweries and a beery lunch at the wonderfully quirky Big Lamp Brewery. But the first two days have been intense. In summary: I found the review of ingredients fascinating, I found the marketing  and branding piece particularly interesting, I enjoyed learning how to create new beer recipes and like the idea of exploiting new markets, I also found I am good at detecting problems with beer through bad flavours and odours, but I got thoroughly confused by the brewing process.  

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A day of concensus

Today I was fully immersed in our microbrewery business. We had four brand consultants and web designers pitch to us down at the Old Mill – it seemed an appropriate place for such a meeting. I used all the life skills I learned as a Civil Servant to ensure we procured the consultants by the book. Seven local firms were invited to tender and then four were shortlisted for interview/presentation.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

What's in a name?

The name of the brewery is probably one of the most important decisions to be made in the early stages of any microbrewery. The name sets the tone for the beers and the ethos behind producing the beers; the name reflects the brand, it conjures up images to the consumer and it represents the aspirations and values of the brewery. Basically, it’s important.

Monday, 18 November 2013

A new venture

So I’ve started another blog. Why I hear you ask? Well it’s because I now have plenty of experience blogging (see Henry Vill and WorkplaceUnlimited), but very little experience brewing. You see I have invested my hard earned cash, my children’s inheritance as Theo Paphitis would say, in a new microbrewery in Berkhamsted. As a newbie brewer (technically a non-brewer) my focus will be on marketing and sales. I’m assured that my fellow investors, supported by various consultants, can brew beer – but like at Dyson I think we all need to brew our beer at least once and I suspect I won’t get away with not occasionally washing and humping barrels.