Author Archive for WishboneAde – Page 2

Some up, Some same, Some down

Its that time of year when we find time to check our business costs, new prices will be in effect from Monday 21st January. As a business we need to balance what comes in with what goes out and we haven’t changed our prices since January 2017 (We held back during 2018) as we only factored in Malt & Hop prices, this week we have looked at all our costs and are in the process of updating our beer prices to reflect what things cost us.
When we started this business back in 2015 we set our prices with what costs we knew at the time, now its 2019 and we have had over 3 years of trading we know our costings a little better.

Our Fixed costs include:  (These total at least £832 per Brew (110 Brews in 2018) = £91’520 per year)

  • Rent
  • Business Rates
  • Insurance Rent & Service Charges from our Landlord
  • Brewery Insurance
  • Wages
  • Electricity
  • Water & Trade Effluent
  • Phone & Internet
  • Plus any other odds and ends that help you run an office and brewery

Variable Costs:

  • Beer Duty *Lots!!*
  • Ingredient Costs (malt, hops, yeast etc)  (We spent at least £50’000 on Malt & Hops)
  • Delivery + Pumpclip  (I’m not even looking at the full delivery costs at this stage but a Pumpclip costs about £1) We could probably add a minimum of £10’000 to our Fixed costs for Running the Van, I’ll look into this another week, for the moment we factor in £2.70 for Delivery & Pumpclip for each cask. *Don’t ask about the amount of Van Windscreens we have gone through… its about 5 in a year!!!*

The long and the short of all this is that we are going to re-balance our beer prices, as a rule of thumb beers will be going up approx £2 per Firkin, some beers will stay at the same price, and there are some beers that will drop in price too. Keykeg prices will be the same as Firkin prices so if a 40 Litre Firkin costs £80 then a 30 Litre Keykeg will also be £80.

We hope our customers can appreciate where these small price increases / alterations have come from and reflect these changes to your customers as you check your own business costs.

Cheers 🙂 Who’s idea was it to start a brewery anyway!!!!

As 2018 draws to a close…

2018
It has been a weird year, it had kind of a clunky start which was still above what 2017 was like and then followed all that great sunny weather and a bunch of football games which saw a big drop in people going out to drink good beer in good pubs. The Supermarkets probably saw more beer action and the Sports-lead pubs probably did better. Once all that hot weather and sports hoo-har was done with sales took a real upturn and following some of our best sales months ever we finished the year on a high with our best ever week before Christmas. Thanks very much for that, and a special thank you to our regular customers 🙂
The Volume of beer produced in 2018 leveled off as I had predicted at the end of 2017 but it was nice to see that profitability looks to have crept up, I will put this down to the steady increase in Keg beer sales with their slightly higher margin per litre.
In case you didn’t hear earlier, we are no longer SIBA members, we feel we can spend that yearly membership fee on something better that will actually do us some good… being a SIBA member did literally NOTHING for us, they have only self-interest and are too closely tied to Big Beer via selling cheaply to tied Pubcos! And Promoting members beer through Wetherspoons only serves to cheapen what small brewers work hard for, if anything deserves a slap in the face with a wet fish it was that Promo! If small brewers want a fair/er marketplace then STOP selling via SIBA and STOP selling to McSpoons *other opinions are available but these are mine.
*Apathy of brewers is a problem and lack of time or interest in participating in SIBA will only lead it further away from the goals of the small independent brewer*

2019
We have toyed with the idea of Crowdfunding to get ourselves into Canning our beers, we will be keeping the idea of Crowdfunding going but it will be directed at starting a Bar in Keighley which will cater better for today’s modern drinkers and bring a permanent local outlet for our beers.
Cans! As we have blogged before, our first Canning run will be on 17th January so all being well by early February we will have Dassler Helles Lager 4.2%, Zoikes Pale Ale 4.2% and Cloudy with a chance of hops 5.9%, then we need to keep that ball rolling and make the Canning (or maybe Bottling too for certain beers) a regular occurrence.
We really need to do some face-to-face sales stuff, the Cans will obviously help with this as we can take or send beers direct to prospective customers to introduce us and our beers.
Wholesale of beers was high on my agenda in 2018, it ended up being somewhat lackluster and mainly showed me that wholesalers don’t want to pay money for beer, you could probably say that there are always other brewers in the market that will sell at such a low margin that beers sold at a slightly higher price get blocked easily from wholesale distribution. I will keep trying with the wholesale as its a good way to get beers into the hands of drinkers that are out of our delivery areas.
Eebria has got a little more interesting with some flurries of activity and repeat orders of things like Dassler Lager, Dassler has turned out really well so we hope this trend continues.
I can see that with starting to Can (Small Pack) our beers we may see our range of beers contract a little, this is probably not a bad thing as it make ingredient purchase and forward contracting a bit easier and will ensure we have more regular opportunities for fine-tuning our recipes to bring you even better beer. We will still be bringing you new beers, that is after all half of the fun.
We have really enjoyed our first Barrel Aged beer, in fact both the barrel aged and regular versions of our Imperial Stout (The Black Imp & B.A Black Imp) are tasting bloody awesome, there will be plenty of fun to be had in the future.
Hopefully we will edge closer to brewing Sour beer, we’ll be trying hard to do things properly (Brewed, Funky bugs, Kettle soured, Barreled etc) and not make a one-dimensional beer with a dose of Lactic Acid to a beer *Look for ‘Lactic Acid’ on the list of Ingredients*.
The last bit, ingredient prices have gone up, energy & fuel costs are continually going up, the minimum / living wage goes up in April, we will be adding these increases to our costings which will mean some structured re-pricing our our beers. New prices should be in effect from around the end of the second week in January so grab what you can in the first couple of weeks 😉

To recap:
Canning + more Growth in Keg should = more profitability and production volumes should creep up.
Start a Local Bar = More local exposure and more volume of beer leaving the brewery, help bring more beer trade to Keighley as a whole.
Those two bits will hopefully allow us to reinvest in the brewery and its people to make everything better.

Here’s to 2019, Cheers

Gluten Free Beer

Its probably two or three times each year we get asked if we do a Gluten Free beer, we have kept thinking about it… A beer can be described / sold as Gluten Free (GF) if it is lab tested and shows a gluten amount of 20 ppm (parts per million) or less.

The regular way to make a GF beer is to us a fermenter addition called ‘Brewers Clarex‘, though I’m not a big fan of adding anything more than we have to to a beer, not to mention the cost of buying a load of Brewers Clarex when the dose rate is so low that it would be sat around for many many years at the size of brewery we are.
My preferred method is to brew a beer and then get it tested to see where the Gluten baseline is and how close we could get to it being naturally brewed to be GF or ‘Gluten Reduced’. More recently we have seen a few Oat based GF beers on the market and followed that up with some discussion with our Crisp Malt rep we find that they are confident that we could brew a GF beer to hit the targets without the need for adding Brewers Clarex to the beer. Yay!

Barley – Contains Gluten
Crisp Naked Malted Oats –  Do not contain Gluten
Rice – No Gluten
Maize – No Gluten

Here’s our Lab test results, <20 ppm is the target.
I’m lead to believe that <10 ppm is less gluten than the measurable threshold, so basically we are all good 🙂

GreenFlute is an anagram of Gluten Free, all the ingredients are listed on the pumpclip so drinkers can make an educated decision prior to drinking, its also got Citra, Mosaic & Simcoe hops and a healthy Dry Hopping too. Its Unfined and may have a haze. Mega light in colour with a refreshing body.

Recipe Drawbacks:
We had a practically set-mash and mega slow sparge as the mix of malts and unmalted adjuncts in the mash made for something akin to clay, so quite a solid mix! We should be able to mitigate this somewhat with future brews and hopefully speed the brewday along a bit.

Unfined:
Unfined and Vegan; can we make this the last time that someone thinks ‘Vegan’ is a bad thing in beer, in not using finings we feel the finished product has more flavour and more aroma *Better beer* so if making Better Beer isn’t your thing you can continue thinking Vegan is weird, it’s not, it’s you that need to learn a bit more or be accepting of other peoples decisions in life. I’m not vegan, I eat meat, though that doesn’t stop me eating Vegan food… I do not limit what I put in my mouth because of, “Oh! its that weird fecking vegan shit”, some of the best food I’ve had has come from Vegan Food Traders. So suck that up X.

 

May the 4th Brew with you!

Its Homebrew Competition time again!

Our 2018 competition was a right good laugh so we thought we better do it again, its always good to see new and old homebrewers entering beers 🙂 Our competition is open to any homebrewer who can get here with their beer entries on the day of the competition.
This is a Private Homebrewers-Only event and it NOT a public bar, mates, wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends and dogs all welcome so long as accompanied by a responsible-homebrewer 😉

Again we are supported by the most excellent homebrew shop The Malt Miller, we can only thank Rob for his continued support and that means…. Prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place!

Competition Rules:

  • Brew: Stout or Porter.
  • ABV: up to 6%
  • Bottles: 3x 500ml Unmarked brown glass bottles.
  • Entries: 1 entry per brewer, email your contact details and tell us if you used any speciality ingredients so as to help the judges to competition@wishbonebrewery.co.uk
  • Hops & Malts: Entirely the brewers choice.
  • Yeast: Entirely the brewers choice.
  • On the day: Bottles to be brought to the brewery on the day of competition (NO Postal entries, we want everyone to come and enjoy the social as much as the competition)
  • Date & Time: Sat 4th May 2019 Doors open 11am, Bar open from 12.00, Judging starts at 13.00, kickout time around 18.00
  • Prizes: We will be presenting engraved tankards and certificates and there will be Malt Miller Gift Vouchers too.

Again we will be raising money for charity, have 6 handpulls + 2 Keg lines on our brewery bar so we would like 3-4 homebrewers who want to brew a beer for the bar to be served alongside our own beer, all proceeds from the sale of homebrewed and our own beers will be donated to local charity.

Again we will be doing what we can to bring you some beer & brewing related entertainment from people in the brewing industry. Our Crisp Malt rep will be with us again for all your malt and brewing questions.

You can find us here:

Wishbone Brewery Limited
2A Worth Bridge Industrial Estate
Chesham Street
Keighley
West Yorkshire
BD21 4LG

We are a 6min walk from Keighley Railway station and there is a Travel-lodge a similar walk away too for those of you that will be traveling from around the country. Keighley has some great Curry Houses too. We are also on a main bus route with a stop practically at the top of our road.

I’ll update this blog with more details as we confirm things…

Definition of Micropub

There looks to be a definition of what a Micropub should be on Wikipedia whether you think this is a slightly truncated version of what a Micropub or MicroBar should be is a matter for your own judgement.

There’s a few of them about now and not a single one of them is the same, how’s that for diversity, we will all know some fantastic examples of what we (you) consider to be a good micropub, I thought I would write a few of my own thoughts on what I believe makes a good Bijou drinking establishment.
It seems people start small bars for all sorts of reasons, time for a change, a love of beer, a delight in the pub atmosphere, a retirement plan (haha, not a hint of ironic laugh in there honest!), a business opportunity to make money, the list will go on….

My Definition of Micropub:

  • A small pub built in a retail unit that should be low-ish rent and more than likely Business Rates free.
  • Should be a welcoming ‘all-accepting’ environment to the whole human race, even dogs if you so wish, though anyone who would see fit to spoil that environment is turned around and showed the door.
  • The Beer range; beers should be changing, beers could be local, beers should not be anything you can buy from a Tied Pub, beers shouldn’t be tied to a brewery, for the most part regional and family brewers shouldn’t be on the bar, and of utmost importance is that the beer range should be interesting and satisfy as broad a range of tastes as possible. Beers should ideally be in Cask, Keg & Bottle/Can.
  • Avoid music other than a bit of background for ambiance, occasional live music is fine, no TV!
  • Other drinks; tea and coffee for starters, soft drinks preferably not from a multinational company, small but distinct Spirit range, maybe a wine or two and Prosecco, a good local Cider if available.
  • Use the range of drinks and the price of them to deter the aforementioned nob-heads.
  • Have nice toilets, they may have a space constraint, but do your damnedest to ensure they are fully functioning, clean and fit for all of the diverse lovely humans the world produces (Space constraints may scupper that last part but thats no reason not to try).
  • Don’t go getting tied into certain ‘brands’ as its blatantly off putting to some drinkers who will vote with their feet. The same goes for the brewers who continually produce wishy washy pish water, that beer may be cheap to buy but they really aren’t interesting to drinkers.
  • The Owners of the micropub should have an interest in good beer and it not just be a business to make money.

A couple of practicalities for new Micropub owners…

  • Empty Cask storage, when you sign that premises lease ensure you have ample cask storage as there will be a time when you have too many empties.
  • Opening hours, these obviously have to fit around your ‘other life’, brewers try hard to deliver and collect around your hours and within standard working hours so bear in mind that you may need to be flexible for deliveries and empty collections, if a brewers is passing they will check for empties, if you aren’t around they will go uncollected… so see the point above.

How that sound? Answers on a Postcard to the usual address…

 

The Downward Pressure of the brewing business?

The Downward Pressure of the brewing business – hows this sound for a vague ‘Pressure Tree’?

These are just a few thoughts that whiz around my head from time to time.

  • The International / Multinational Brewer puts price pressure on those smaller than it because of their economies of scale and their massive marketing budgets for brand visibility.
  • The National Brewers do all they can to keep their market share, this also involves economies of scale to make prices low.
  • Family Brewers and those with tied estates are obviously feeling the pressure from above and want to keep market share, some of these breweries will also be feeling the pressure from smaller more innovative brewers below them.
  • Medium Brewers, the ones that started out small or small-ish a few years ago, there is a lot of expansion going on, those that have expanded and are still expanding. This is kind of a weird group, they have got to their peak and still have the drive to climb higher, they could be expanding further in to bottling or Canning, they could be acquiring new Pub venues to sell through and without a doubt they are aggressively getting tied-line contracts signed for beer supply. These brewers are still innovative, still current, mostly producing interesting beer.
  • The small Microbrewer, the lowest on the ‘Pressure Tree’. Microbrewers have the full weight of the others pressing down on them. No economies of scale, no marketing budget, minimal exposure. The only way these small guys can put pressure on the other groups is through innovation.

Now when I think of the ‘Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition’ and SIBA wanting to smooth the Beer Duty curve for brewers above 5000 Hectolitres the only people I see winning from this is everyone above the small Microbrewer, those that brew above 5000 HL who in some cases already put downward pressure on those smaller. Any change to the current Beer Duty system has to see the small brewers being driven out of the market.

So what can we do? (This is where things digress a little)

  • Definitely campaign for there to be NO CHANGE to the current Small Brewers Relief on Beer Duty.
  • Have a means of Direct sales to the public, Cans, Bottles open a bar or pub.
  • Campaign for a truly free market for beer in the UK, Pubcos should be strictly governed against.
  • Boycott places like Wetherspoons who only make themselves richer while only the bigger of brewers manage to make £1 or £2 per cask for what is usually bog standard beer, If Wetherspoons change to pay their supplier brewers a fair amount you may continue to drink in McSpoons.
  • Boycott tied pubs? For all it sounds good in the Spirit of the Freehouse I don’t think this is fair, if a Pub provides a service, a meeting place for those around it then what we really need is for them to get a fairer deal from their controlling Pubco.
  • Supermarket beer is way too discounted (loss-leaders) and there are regional brewers selling ‘faux-craft’ beer into supermarkets all branded up to look ‘crafty’ yet for the most part they totally missing the mark. Why are supermarkets allowed to sell beer so cheap that its killing pubs?
  • CAMRA, just burn your Spoons Vouchers… if you use them you are only being part of the problem, and CAMRA you are too close to big business these days.
  • And always remember, just like your electricity bill or how much a tank of petrol costs…. EVERYTHING ALWAYS GETS MORE EXPENSIVE.

For us here at Wishbone, August was our best month ever, then quickly usurped by October which was our best ever month… So thanks very much to all the drinkers and pubs for this, thanks to KWVR Beer & Music Fest for having us again too.
Our near-future path as a business is to get our beer into Cans, we have the canning date booked for 17th January 2019 so in a few weeks we will brew Dassler Lager so it has its proper lagering time in tank before canning and Zoikes and Cloudy with a chance of hops will be brewed in Jan just in time for the canning date.
All being well in February we will start a Crowdfunder with the aim of opening a bar somewhere in Keighley.

Cheers 🙂

 

The newish stuff

Usurper 7.2% DDH Rye IPA with Blackberries is ready in both Cask and Keykeg, 15g/Litre Dry Hop done in two stages, the colour in the beer pretty much comes from the Blackberries with a sweetness from the Rye and the aforementioned pretty heavy dry hop from Enigma, Simcoe and Ekuanot. Collab with Torrside Brewery.

This is verion 2 of Wibble IPA, nice simple recipe, tastes flippin’ banging 😉

Look out for Casks and kegs of this beauty, its just on its first dry hop, second will be during this week then Casks available the week after then Keykegs about 10 days later.

Also, see you at the brewery bar on Saturday, The Lemon Tree are back doing the food, Sat 10th November 12 til 7pm Cheers 🙂

Christmas is coming!!!!

Saturday December 15th from 12.00 til 9pm-ish our Brewery Tap Bar is open, we will have food from local guys The Lemon Tree and entertainment from Haworth Ukulele Group for a load of raucous Christmas fun, then later in the day we will have the excellent Jamie Squire from Saltaire. Plenty of beer and of course Nigel of ‘Christmas-Not-Christmas-Beer’ will be on the bar.

Cheers & See you then, please check trains before you travel.

Press Fuss – Ganesh, and Mr Zed

Lets start this off with some facts….

Ganesh brewed around 12th August.
Made aware of possible ‘Cultural appropriation’ via twitter 26th August.
Did some reading up on what ‘Cultural appropriation’ actually is and also learned some things about the Hindu religion and Lord Ganesh.
Made statement on Twitter 26th of August saying we would rename the beer.

Done.

…or so you would think…

Roll on to yesterday, 26th October…

7.30am I get a Twitter message from the local paper saying they want to talk to me.
around 9.30am I get a call from a reporter in London.
London reporter emails me this.
Email arrives from local paper.
Local paper phoned for a chat.
Start seeing the online news media picking up the story.
Receive literal exact transcript of Rajan Zed’s statement in email from rajanzed@gmail.com (I don’t reply because its hard to know if a Gmail account is real or fake)

At this point its starting to be a very weird morning!

On Balance…

This is old news, its no longer a story, it was 2 months ago and we already said we would change the name.
I’ve learned what Cultural Appropriation is and found out that Hinduism sounds like a pretty good religion with a lot of sensible, moderate attitudes in its teachings.
It would have been polite if Mr Rajan Zed had simply emailed or phoned us first then we could have explained that the name had been chosen in all innocence and no offence was meant to anyone, this would have saved him sending the rather sensationalized press release to multiple agencies and it would have been explained that we knew about the name by 26th Aug and had already stated we would change it.

…if I may pick a few points from the Rajan Zed press release:

mercantile greed

We are a very small company, we don’t see ourselves nor ever want to, as a profiteering company.

Moreover, linking Lord Ganesh with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful where he seemed to be in the company of beers named “Rascal”, “Bandit”, etc.

Rascal – “Ooo, He’s a cheeky little rascal” Its like a Grandma talking to their cheeky little grandson.
Bandit – We used to have a Siamese cat, he was called Bandit, he had really big Maaaaws and was ace.

Here is a passage from a website I was reading – http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/a-hindu-view-on-drinking-alcohol/

Does one have to abstain from alcohol to be a Hindu?

Certainly not. But to be a good Hindu one should learn to use substances like alcohol with restraint and knowledge of their potential side effects.

What amazingly wise words and something we should all remind ourselves of from time to time.

Please don’t be shy about other people’s religious beliefs, talk, ask questions, learn, Google it, read.

Should we ever happen to brew this beer again I hope Mr Rajan Zed approves of our tribute to him and the teachings of Hinduism. And Mr Zed, if you are ever in Keighley, Yorkshire, England you are very welcome to call in and tour our little family-funded brewery.

Links:
Phone Interview with Miran – https://www.keighleynews.co.uk/news/17009982.offence-taken-after-beer-called-ganesh/
Phone Interview with Rick Goodman +Emails – https://uk.news.yahoo.com/microbrewery-meant-no-offence-beer-111736755.html?guccounter=1
Phone Interview with The Press Trust of India – https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/uk-brewery-withdraws-ganesh-as-name-of-special-beer/articleshow/66384260.cms

Leave SIBA or simply Don’t join!

One of our most popular tweets ever has been this one which is us saying we are no longer members of SIBA. So I thought i would put the transcript here so it doesn’t just fall off the twitter timeline and can be Googled easier. I’ve added a few notes too.

We are officially no longer SIBA members #LeaveSIBA One reason is too much contradiction between them saying they support a fair price for beer then unreservedly supporting and promoting massively discounted beer in Wetherspoons. (Simply to promote their ‘Assured Independent Craft Brewer’ Logo (Waste of time))

 

SIBA beer festivals / competitions have too great of a caveat with the request for Free Beer and then penalties if you are a small brewer with limited staffing and cannot supply volunteers. (Sounds like a load of balls if you ask me)

 

SIBA’s DDS/Beerflex has never seemed appealing with the entry costs being too high, the prices paid for beer being too low and an ever decreasing base of tied pubs (being turned into Tesco and ASDA! or Landlords being priced out of business)

 

We also thought that their Discounted Beermat offer would have been cheaper than dealing direct wit the printer but its exactly the same so not really a discount offer at all.

 

The SIBA membership is obviously too busy making good beer to get involved and change SIBA for the better so that leaves the bigger brewers to take control and steer the organisation and its aims away from the benefit of the small brewer.

 

SIBA is too closely in bed with Tied Pubcos and the likes of *Heineken to be focused on small brewers or championing a Fully Freehouse Pub culture in the UK. *Starpubs were the main sponsor of SIBA’s BeerX!

 

SIBA is all about paying out your hard earned cash and selling cheap beer, its a Trade Body where the aim is to sell beer to the lowest bidder! Then be controlled by that bidder to pressure prices even further. (Sounds fair right?)

 

I read thought the FSQ check list and thought, “well, we do most of this anyway” without paying £300 a year. And its ONLY useful (required) for selling via siba! (If you want a worthwhile accreditation it is better to do more and pay more with something like ‘SALSA for Beer’ which will allow you to be positioned better to access supermarkets, if that is your thing)

I knew we weren’t going to get along from our very first SIBA meeting in Leeds, its really not me, its you 😉

Its high time there was a trade body that fully supported and represented the smaller brewers of the UK because its simply not SIBA anymore! If you are a member of SIBA and you see the things above, as I do, I would urge you to cancel your membership when its renewal date comes around, ask yourself, “Have I gained anything from being a SIBA member?” If you are a new brewer or a brewer that is pondering joining SIBA then don’t bother.
We need a trade body that will support all small brewers & Landlords and fight for a fully free of tie beer system in the UK.