The Hard Reality is we need more Sales!

The Hard Reality is we need more Sales!

The short version:

2022 – Screamed growth, and after a slow start we made our best turnover to date.

2023 – Production costs increased and our bank balance was drained.

2024 – 3 months of really mediocre sales = Pathetic cash flow. It’s 1 good sales week a month at the moment and that isn’t enough to secure our future!

If you like what we brew and want to keep drinking our beers we need to be selling about double what we are now to have a future:

Drinkers – please ask your local pubs to try us.

Landlords – please get in touch and try our beer, especially if you never have, that would be greatly appreciated.

If we don’t get enough sales soon then we will have no other choice but to wind up the brewery very soon as our lease comes to term in December. This would be a very sad end almost 9 years of making good beer.

This also means no prospect of opening the Low Street Pub, which is costing us money each month, we will be getting the building Valued with a view to Sale / Rent or if a Miracle happens turn it into a Pub if brewery sales pick up fast!

The long version aka TL:DR

The business has never paid its owners (Adrian & Emma) anything like a reasonable wage though we always try to pay our staff as much as we can afford. We literally are brewing beer for the love of it, for me it’s always been about the love of flavour in beer.

We like to do things the right way so our procedure is nailed down, with no corners cut, and no shortcuts, we always try hard to make good beer and aim for continual improvements.

Initial signs of the beer market changing were back in 2019 as we noticed a slow change in buying habits leading to beers on some bars coming from some of the bigger players which is Cheaper Supply to balance their increasing costs.

2022 – Canning kept us going after the initial Covid restrictions but the start of 2022 showed a massive drop in Can sales so the decision was made not to waste money on Cans with its clique-like sales and saturated market.

2023 – We started the year with high hopes. Energy prices increased and the knock-on effects made prices rise across the board in all industries and for all consumers. This year sucked away all our cash reserve in the bank account. It’s mad that we got to the same turnover but the bank balance took a massive hit.

2024 – January, February & March have been broadly terrible, maybe not as terrible as expected but still not putting money in the bank, we also had to complete having an Auger installed after moving out of our First floor so our landlord could rent it to another tenant, we got a bit of help from family for about half the costs.

Other than the ever-increasing energy prices and consumers having less spare cash, the main thing killing small breweries with 10bbl Brewkit or less are the bigger breweries, the jump from 10bbl to 20bbl has a massive effect on efficiency and we see large parts of the pub trade buying beer from the bigger brewers as they can afford to sell at £55 a 9-Gallon-Firkin, versus small brewers beer which would need to sell for almost double in some cases… Kinda a no-brainer for the pub trade!

When we first started it was relatively easy to make sales into Cities, though as our 9 years of trading have passed Cities are now covered by bigger brewers and wholesalers meaning unless you have an ‘in’ with one of those bigger brewers or can sell dirt cheap into Wholesale small brewers simply don’t get a chance.

To be honest, if I had a bar in a city I wouldn’t want to get staff in to work multiple times a day before opening time to accept deliveries or wait for empty collections from multiple brewers, this is part of the reason why bigger brewers and wholesalers control the beer market within cities.

The other thing is the number of tied lines / tied accounts that bigger brewers and wholesalers make, they offer line and pump installs too which small brewers can’t afford.

As an example, I’ve recently seen a wholesaler advertising 4x firkins for £55 each, remember the wholesaler is still making their margin and you assume the brewer is making a few quid a cask too.

Another thing I was recently shown was a line install deal from one of the multinationals via a wholesaler where they give you a line install and get a £1000 reward, get 4 lines installed get a £4000 reward. I’m not sure how any small brewer can dream of getting beer on a bar with this sort of stuff happening.

Please support your small brewers and free-of-tie pubs cos they seriously need it!

Polishing up my CV to go looking for a new job is unappealing! Send help!

I’ve hardly mentioned the building we bought with Bounceback Loan and help from Family, building trades were terrible, and now mortgage rates have gone up so Wishbone Tap may never exist. Wishbone Tap was/is the logical means to protect the brewery and sell more beer directly to consumers and also try to make something good for Keighley.

I’ve always said that if a quarter of the pubs and bars out there that have never tried our beer bought our beer then we’d have a lovely little business.

They said, “Do a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” Unless you already have millions in the bank this is probably bollocks!