We are coming up to our fifth year birthday and we are thrilled we continue to be an independent part of such a vibrant community. The support we’ve had from day one has been inspiring and as we’ve grown we’ve learnt so much along the way. Growth presents all manner of challenges not only from the logistics of getting more beer to more people but also from the boring stuff; the back-office management of the business. By understanding in detail how your business functions allows you to prioritise how you grow the business whether that’s from investing in the right people (which we believe we have nailed) to producing beers that are both accessible but also challenge the everyday drinker to discover beers they thought they may not thought to have tried.
When I started the business I was brewing, selling, delivering and running the taproom; I was on my feet and out there all day every day. With the help of our amazing team I can now focus on making the changes that matter to the quality and consistency of the product and analyse the growth potential and longevity of the brewery. So with the added bandwidth I delved deeply in to the workings and more importantly the profitability of what we do. I looked at each beer, how it was packaged and what we were selling each unit at. In truth, the findings surprised me. Some performed better than others but the overwhelming conclusion was we couldn’t sustain the current way we were supplying our beers.
Like many brewery before us we saw cask beer to be the most difficult form of packaging for a brewery producing “expensive” hop-forward beer and selling to a marketplace with the expectation of low cost pints at the pump. Yes, we know Cloudwater and Brewdog are once again to start to cask their beers but Brewdog have the global efficiencies and national negotiating clout and Cloudwater will be producing and delivering to only a select group of customers who understand the value of cask beer in the UK market. I also saw how much the sheer rise in cost of pretty much everything we use and touch as part of our process has cut into our margins and while we remain a solid business we must take steps to facilitate growth and continued stability.
Why has this happened?
In the last 5 years since our foundation, the cost of our raw ingredients has risen. As has our electricity, water and gas. Even the Bank of England puts inflation at 2.2% on average for goods and services year on year and the ONS recently posted a 2.4% increase on consumer prices. Rent has increased, duty has gone up, even the cost of diesel has had an impact. We constantly strive to be more efficient, look at ways to save money without compromising the beer but we can only go so far.
In our five years of existence we have not once raised our prices! Now with the analysis and data from five years of trading we are, unfortunately, left with no other option than to increase our prices marginally. So, from this week we have a new pricing structure.
We believe these increases to be fair in light of all of the above and whilst we have done everything we can to try to avoid this through other efficiencies, it is something that we need to implement.
If you wish to talk to us about this news then I am happy to answer any questions you may have so please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 020 3903 9441.