As 2018 draws to a close…

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*

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