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Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding.

I’ve probably blogged or hinted about this before and if you follow us on Instagram you will see a few videos, what I’m hoping to do is make our own promo video for our as yet unreleased Crowdfunder page. I’ll be trying hard not to talk directly to camera so expect a montage of video clips with a voice-over and maybe even a little background music to replace the brewery background noise.

As with most things in this brewery, if we can do them ourselves we will; Building work, fitting a chiller system, plumbing, graphic design, fitting the bar out, building a mobile bar etc. All this saved us needing to have extra money to start and run our brewery, that said, we spent up all we had on getting up and running and not the monthly ebb and flow of business doesn’t seem to gain us the elusive chunk of money to dedicate towards a Canning or Bottling run and there is always something that crops up to draw money away from our goal.
If we could turn back the clock by 4 years we would buy less fermenting vessels, maybe cheaper ones and have used that money to get into Bottling way sooner, everything is good in hindsight.

This is where you come in and the geeky video, and the trying to avoid to talk to camera… Oh and Crowdfunder! We want to try and raise a fairly minimal *£3000, that is 60 people willing to pledge £50 which will get us over the first step into small-packaged beer, that will get us into Bottle shops and bar fridges, let us do proper off-sales from the brewery and not to mention help us open doors to pubs and wholesalers who want to try before they buy.

*Approx £3000 will pay for a Mobile Canner to come to site, pay for all the printing and Labeling costs and also pay for the packaging of cans into boxes. Thats over 3000 Bottles of beer.

We like the idea of Crowdfunder pledgees getting back what they put in so if you pledge for a package thats worth £50 you will eventually get back £50-worth of beer, there will of course be other packages ranging in value and also with things like Brewday Experiences, T-Shirts etc,  maybe even a beer of your own, maybe a certain level of Pledge will get you our brewery tap for a big party for you and all your mates.

We don’t want to limit ourselves with an initial Crowdfunder amount of £3000, if we double that it gives us the prospect of further investment…
£3000 reached we will pretty much get 1200 litres of a single beer Canned.
£6000 reached we should be able to Can multiple beers.
£12000+ if the unthinkable happens and we smash our other targets I see it that we have to make a choice between brewery improvements like buying a Cold Liquor tank or maybe a Conditioning Tank or we will start a **Micropub to properly showcase our beers and those of other independent brewers. The Micropub idea would give the Pledgers who want their ‘investment of goodwill’  back via beer a great outlet to pop in and make a Good-will withdrawal 😉 I guess the other bonus of a Micropub will be that it will create jobs and potentially improve an empty retail shop giving it a new lease of life.

**To be honest, maybe if we smash £6k we should look at a Micropub! Give us your thoughts!And if we do get to do a Micropub, think lots of Keg taps a few Handpulls, Bottles, Cans, Great coffee, food? maybe!

We would love to hear from you if you would be interested in helping our small brewery grow in a sustainable fashion, you can talk to us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email info@wishbonebrewery.co.uk

We are 3!

We commenced brewing on 28th of August 2015 after nearly 9 months of hard graft turning our premises into a modern brewery, we hope you will come celebrate our 3rd Birthday with us on Saturday 15th September.
Our brewery bar will be open from 12noon til 7pm, maybe a little longer 😉

We will have the lovely local folk from Horse Box Pizza doing the food and some mid afternoon entertainment from talented local singer Charlotte Harris.

Oh and we did say FREE BEER didn’t we!! For the first 5oish drinkers through our brewery doors there will be a free beer and you can choose anything from our Handpulled or kegged beers 🙂

We wouldn’t be where we are without our loyal drinkers and a bunch of excellent Pub-trade customers, so, Thanks.

We are considering doing a bit of Crowdfunding to help us into the Canned-beer market which we hope will push us a step nearer to having the small stable business that we set out to be, we would love to hear your thoughts on whether you would help us achieve our goal so do come and talk to us at our Birthday Brewery Tap on 15th September or email us info@wishbonebrewery.co.uk

Cheers

Untappd as a (is a) Tool

I think I’ve posted before about the comments and ratings that people give via Untappd.

Untappd never ceases to amaze, we can get glowing lovely comments and lots of Stars then the same beer in the same venue can get an anomalous review and rating, which makes you wonder why.
You worry that maybe the drinker has detected a fault in the beer, I’d be more than happy to phone the pub and get them to take a beer off sale if there is any issue as its better than anything being sold when its not right.

This was a ‘less than 1 Star’ rating.
You begin to question why people that don’t like certain styles of beer continue to try them, you can see a common theme in the checkins that these drinkers make, if they don’t like IPAs then their checkin 5-stars will go to that malty best bitter, ‘cos thats the style they prefer.
Surely it is more sensible to NOT RATE something you already know you don’t like?

Then there is another group of Untappd drinkers that have this pre-set expectation of all beers, so rather than tasting a beer on its merits alone you set your bar up at ‘Cloudwater’ level and expect all other beers to match.
Here’s a recent couple from the same drinker.

I struggle with comments like this, and you read their other beer checkins and find similar comments that seem to expect something way before even taking a sip. Yet the Star ratings are actually pretty good.

I’ll admit that I do occasionally slate some supermarket-bought beer, then things that are Branded up to look like ‘Craft’ then when you taste it its way-way of the mark industrial, mass-produced, homogenised blandness. So I am no angel.

I think its good to drink beer with an open mind.
How will you ever be satisfied with a pint if you buy things you know you don’t like or set your bar so high that everything lesser is just pants?

…and Yes, I did respond in kind to the two reviews above.
I will happily show any of these drinkers around our little brewery and have a chat face to face to help me understand their thought process while Drinking / Reviewing. Maybe we all need educating a little.

Its only beer. Ha! (Its clearly a passion, and one that turned into a business)

 

I get told off if i don’t regularly write a blog!

Every week I don’t do a brewery blog post I get told off by our sales girl Dawn, she likes me to keep everyone up-to-date with goings on and new beer happenings in the brewery, she even likes a bit of rant, though I’ll try keep that to a minimum and if it does happen it only happens because I care deeply about our little business and the state of our UK brewing industry.

Introducing….

Squelch, its a 3.5% Session IPA with Simcoe, Amarillo, Motueka and a hint of Bravo, its got a fairly firm bitterness and its unfined, vegan and quite possibly hazy, dry hopped to a similar level as Bleep… this is the kinda the little brother of Bleep.

Next up is….

Wibble (Yeah its from a Blackadder scene) its a blend of Simcoe & Ekuanot hops which I had an excellent beer from Cromarty Brewing while up in Edinburgh. Its turned out pretty dank with all the Simcoe in it, a proper gob full of dank mouth-coating hops, unfined, vegan and hazy 5.2%

Coming very soon…. to a Cap & Collar near you on keykeg!

Dassler, this is our new NZ Helles lager using Motueka hops, hits of tartness from the Acidulated malt, a nice spicy bitterness from the Saaz-related Motueka hopping, we almost called this a Pils…. we almost called it all manner of things while trying to name it. Dassler comes from the innovative brothers that created Adidas and Puma, they were a couple of shoe makers… this fits well because my Grandad was a Cobbler 🙂 4.2% Unfined & Unfiltered (Casks are Fined).

Happy now Dawn?

Wishbone & Bingley Breweries Brewery Tap

Saturday 14th July, thats next weekend in case you wondered, Wishbone are hosting and Bingley Brewery are bringing their bar down to Keighley, two brewers, two bars, entertainment from Singer Jamie Squire from Saltaire and Streetfood from Southern Manny Flavaz… think fried Chicken and Waffles then some tasty Vegan treats too 🙂

Bar open 12 til 10pm-ish, about 12 tasty beers to sup your way through from us and Bingley 🙂

 

Cask Beer Survey Results

I would really like this to have gone far and wide, there are 2000+ brewers in the UK so imagine the results we would see if we could engage with them all.
So, as I said all the results would be made freely available, no email addresses will be used for anything and the results will not be picked through on an individual level… ‘cos thats just not fair!

You can see the results HERE.

And for those of you who still want to complete the survey it is still running so you can do that HERE.

The things we can see so far…

  • 90% of those who responded run a brewery no bigger than 10bbl brewkit.
  • 84% of those who responded produce no more than 20bbl of beer a week.
  • 74% of those brewers have no more than 3 employees.
  • A massive 62% of breweries have a Brewery Tap, Pub, bar, bottle shop.
  • 62% of Brewers are SIBA members.
  • 68% of those that responded don’t think its important to be a SIBA member.
  • Its a relatively even split on whether or not brewers discount to gain sales.
  • 74% of Brewers DO NOT price their beers to take into account giving a discount.
  • 56% of Brewers think Beer Wholesalers should pay the cost of having a pallet of beer delivered.
  • 48% of those that responded said they wouldn’t sell enough beer if the FULL Beer Duty rate was charged, 46% said ‘Maybe’.

You can check out the cask pricing splits for yourselves, its a little more complex but shows that all beers are different, all brewers production costs are different, I think it is fair for landlords to appreciate that everyone is different and there is no longer a cover-all price or ABV-lead structure that can dictate what modern beer should cost. *back to this old Chestnut eh 😉

Lager, all about subtle

We brewed our first two Lagers, Strauss which came out at 4.3% (target was 4.9%) and beers which uses a reasonably large portion of Vienna malt mashed fairly hot to retain body and subtle hopping from German Hallertau Mittlefruh. Mittlefruh was the obvious choice for the simple reason that we already use quite a lot of it in our European Blonde. Tettnang or Hersbrucker would have been equally lager-esque in character.
Gohan is still cold conditioning in tank and its hit its target of 5.5% almost perfectly, we learned a bit about how the yeast works with mash temperature from Strauss, Gohan includes a 25kg sack of Flaked Rice to help lighten colour and bring a more refreshing edge to the beer, I was thinking Vedette white for some of my inspiration though the hopping is off on a tangent and then Framework came on board with this brew and we decided to give it the spice treatment with additions of Coriander and Camomile. Its making for a very distinct beer and we can’t wait to get this Keg-Conditioned and it have it served properly when carbonated.

So when is a lager no longer a lager, does a lager have to taste like a stereotypical lager to be a lager?

I think this is a good question, undoubtedly if you lager a beer ‘cold conditioning or ageing at low temperature’ I guess it kinda becomes a lager through this cold maturation period.
But what about an IPL, India Pale Lager, it would use a lager yeast and go through its cold conditioning period but the hopping would be that of an India Pale Ale and its never going to drink like a lager. In my opinion using hops that aren’t traditional for a lager beer detracts from the classic flavours from those noble hops, I’ll have more idea about this when we taste Gohan which has already got way more flavour than that of most lagers.
All that said I think there is lots of room for using Traditional lager hop varieties which have been bred from or grown in other countries so you get some of the traditional backed up with the flavours that the climate and soil of the other country bring, NZ Pacifica & Motueka are going to be fun for certain with the latter bringing the character of Czech Saaz when used in the boil hops.

Next up, re-brew of Strauss as its mostly reserved for MTB/TTO’s, then get our timing right to crop the yeast for a 4th Lager brew I think we could manage about 1 per month without screwing over our other production… so what shall we brew?

Black Lager? Marzen? Vienna? Pilsner? Bock?

Untappd: Most Popular vs Highest Rated

Untappd: Most Popular vs Highest Rated

Its weird, our most popular beers according to untappd are our 5 ‘core beers’ we started out with two and a half years ago with Flux and Cloudy with a chance of hops creeping up on them.

Our Highest Rated beers on Untappd is almost completely different, Cloudy with a chance of hops is well up there, Parallax is stubbornly and consistently up at the top no matter if other beers beat it down for a while on occasion.

So what does that mean?
It seems to be down to the number or ratings that our old 5 core range is up there and Blonde, Gumption & Abyss will always keep coming around on the brewplan as regulars.
If its actual rating + number of ratings then Black Porter and Cloudy with a chance of hops should be firmly nailed to the ‘Core Range’ tag. Tiller Pin is as good as permanent thanks to the guys at the Boathouse in Skipton and I keep having thoughts of brewing a ‘Tiller Pin 2’ which would be a little stronger with the volume turned up on the dry hopping. Not forgetting Pastiche, Night Star & Volk, the later two will be making appearances on the brewplan soon though I’ll have to check hop stock for Galaxy to see if we can brew Pastiche again.

The Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition

There are a group of big brewers out there that will quite happily take our livelihoods away…

We really love what we do and we want to get to a position of actually taking a real wage out of the company, paying our staff more money and hopefully growing our little business to a sustainable level.

So lets not let them screw us over!

Here are their suggestions for Beer Duty Reform with my thoughts below.

We recommend that the maximum duty relief is maintained at 50% for ‘micro’ brewers,
defined as being up to 1,000 hls.

The current Small Brewers Relief (SBR) is set at 5000 Hectolitres (hls) and these big brewers want to cut that back to 1000 hls, this would mean that the vast majority of Small Independent brewers would have to start paying a higher rate of Beer Duty. In theory this would be passed onto the customer with a price increase. This may result in a lot of us small breweries not being able to compete on price with the bigger breweries because we do not have the economies of scale, worse still it might see a load of small brewers being pushed out of the market and closing their businesses (much to the glee of the Big brewers who will get a bigger market share than what they already have!).

We also recommend the upper limit for SBR relief be raised from 60,000 hls to 200,000 hls

Now this one is a bit more tricky, if the Big brewers are sensible they could simply make more money out of this, though if the same things happens that happened with SBR any releif from the burden of Beer Duty will mean the Big brewers are able to undercut small brewers pushing them out of the market and, yeah you guessed it, out of business.

Above 1,000 hls, the rate of relief would be adjusted in a phased approach to be more
closely aligned to the diseconomy of scale curve.

They cite some graph at this point showing us how bad they have it and they just can’t make any money because they are so big and that all those little guys are raking in the money because of thier 50% Beer Duty Relief…. What the actual case is… They have their graph arse-backwards, THEY are the ones racking in the cash and posting healthy profits each year while the small guys like us are managing to pay the mortgage, pay the household bills and struggle with things like high business rates!

Export sales should be excluded from the brewer’s volume for duty purposes until the
point that UK plus export sales exceed 200,000 hls.

This one is actually very sensible in my opinion, why should the volume of beer for export be levied against brewers when the beer is to be consumed outside the UK. Never mind a limit, just don’t include any exported volume in production figures that have a bearing on Beer Duty.

We recommend a further adjustment so small brewers can merge with other small
brewers and their respective duty reliefs are combined and phased down over 3 years on a
straight line basis until they are paying the rate relevant to the combined volume.

A market ripe for buying out small brewers then?? Other than that I don’t feel I can comment on this point.

We recommend that there is a further review of SBR in 3 years.

Well you would want a clause in so if it wasn’t going your way you get to try again! We have a yearly review of this anyway, its called The Budget and its where the chancellor puts Beer duty up! Seriously though, things should be reviewed but ALL brewers should be given a say and not just the apathetic SIBA members so a real market picture can be used to guide change.

We suggest consideration is given to converting SBR into an actual cash figure

To be honest, I do not understand this, even reading the notes for it… anyone?

We recommend that HMRC consider whether any improvements might be necessary in
the current inspection regime to ensure full compliance within any revisions to the SBR
scheme.

We would welcome industry wide inspection, brewers, pubs, bars, wholesalers etc as it would help keep our industry above board, you hear tales about how so-en-so sells beer under the radar to thingy-ma-jig’s Pub to save on VAT or something.

Things we need to address in our industry are:

  • Increase the duty burden on Multinational brewers who undercut everyone and sell beer into the UK market which causes price distortion, basically this screws over all brewers in the UK other than the Multinationals.
  • Contract brewing should have beer duty charged to the brewer who contracts out production at their rate.
  • No duty calculation from exported volumes.
  • Always help the small brewers who lack the economy of scale.
  • Or… just scrap beer duty and raise Govt money by other means.
  • We need CAMRA & SIBA to support Small Brewers with all their might.
  • If SIBA is to stay relevant to brewers it needs to be FULLY democratic in its decisions and choices and engage the silent masses of members & UK brewers.

I can see now that beating SIBA on their recent AGM vote to allow bigger brewers to join SIBA was a good thing, if the big brewers take control of SIBA you can wave goodbye to any Small Brewers Relief, wave goodbye small and local, wave goodbye to independence, wave goodbye to breweries and beers, wave goodbye to consumer choice.

I’ve been struggling with shouting about this subject online, I feel I can rant about things at times though only through wanting to ensure our industry is in a good environment. I also don’t want to look like a dick to people I admire, so I needed to find a balance yet still be able to make my thoughts public on this brewing industry that we all love.

#SBDRC

…Stay small …Shop local.

 

Further Reading:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eIgtWaQpHuhcdB5Ra3I21uUoKqxTsaeJ/view
http://cask-marque.co.uk/cask-matters/small-breweries-reform-coalition/
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lgDyqQA4IKKRvu0pwlS8hQcfv2jgHgQ8/view

Can CAMRA / SIBA or any other campaign group make a difference?

Yep, everyone wants a pint of beer at a fair price but I am really unsure if any campaigning group can really make a difference.

If CAMRA & SIBA campaign for a Duty Reduction or Freeze it will be worth about 1 Penny a pint! So surely this means that the only brewers that will benefit will be the Massive ones and the actual drinker in the pub isn’t going to see that Penny in any shape or form.

Cost Factors:

  • Business Rates Increase – A massive smack in the teeth to brewers & landlords.
  • Fuel Costs – Delivery of raw materials, distribution of finished products, Vehicle service costs, Road Tax etc.
  • Energy Costs – Electricity & Gas and their ever increasing price.
  • Minimum / Living Wage – Has seen quite a few recent increases.
  • Insurance – In all its forms, business, vehicle and the levied taxation on it.
  • VAT – You could say general tax, though this is just Govt ‘Cash flow’ and shouldn’t effect things too much for VAT registered businesses.
  • Legislation – every time a new piece of legislation comes into play for manufacturers it costs them more.
  • Etc – add something I’ve missed?

Now take that list and apply it to every-single-manufactured-product that a Pub or Brewery uses and tell me a way that we can bring down the costs to produce, distribute and sell beer.

Take a penny of Duty off per pint for a small to medium brewery and you are not going to see an effect on the cost of a pint down the pub because the small brewer’s margins are already tight.

Take a penny of Duty off per pint for a Massive brewery and the only thing you will see is a massive tax break for that massive brewery which keeps the shareholders and big business happy, no change to the price of a pint down the pub.

Its a loosing battle and we are flogging a dead horse, costs to produce will increase and to some extent we all need to accept that.

Nothing is ever going to get cheaper!