Up until now, I haven’t actually written an official blog post as the last 3 years have been a whirlwind and I simply haven’t had the time. Well, we are now in our fourth year of trading and to say it’s been hard going is an understatement. As Head Brewer with no commercial brewing experience I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. During the previous 12 months before we started trading I was having a great time, brewing small batches of IPA, Stout and Watermelon Wheat Beer in my brother’s kitchen and destroying his kitchen cupboards due to the boil off steam! Although this in itself was challenging, because I would fail more times than I would succeed, it still had an air of freedom and creativity. It didn’t matter that I forgot to add a hop here or that I forgot to record an original gravity there. I knew I could always correct it next time, and all that it would mean is that me, my brothers, and my friends would have a new beer to enjoy with perhaps more bitterness than I’d wanted.
Unfortunately I have to admit that over the past 3 years, and only up until recently, that care free feeling had disappeared and I would find myself constantly asking questions. Mainly, why isn’t this getting any easier? It would take what felt like forever to clean down at the end of each brew, time I didn’t mind spending at first, to ensure the Brewhouse floor was clean and ready for the next day. But it soon started to feel like a chore. My brothers would constantly hear me complaining about upgrading the brewery floor to something fit for purpose? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned that great beer can be made using only a brew kettle and fermenter bought from your local homebrew store (and a cooling system you’ve made yourself using copper pipe and some plastic tubing!). More importantly I’ve learned that if you want to make a real successful business from brewing, and enjoy the process, then you simply need the infrastructure. The correct flooring, sufficient cooling system, enough fermentation capacity, and the right people. Not only to make brewing a pleasure and not a chore, but to ensure that the business works how a real business should. If this happens then customers aren’t left waiting for beer and they thoroughly enjoy it when they receive it.
Ever since we moved into our new premises a few months ago, that old roller-coaster feeling of frustration to utter excitement back to frustration again has continued to a certain extent. But I can’t help feel that there is something different this time. We now finally have the infrastructure to make incredible beers. Beers with not only the balance of flavours, bitterness, and sweetness, but of mouth, feel and texture and, most importantly in my opinion, aroma. We really struggled with our previous equipment to achieve these final pieces of the puzzle – not to the degree that I was happy with anyway. It now feels like a constant evolution here and not a struggle. Whether we’re creating new beers or perfecting the current ones, or if we’re adding new bits of equipment or additional fermentation vessels to the brewery floor. We’re constantly improving and tweaking the new equipment we recently installed, finding new ways to utilise social media, and making the commercial decisions that will determine our future. It’s scary and exciting at the same time to not know what’s going to happen, but to know that we are capable of great things. One thing I know for sure is that 2018 will be our best year yet. I know this because we now have the team and the equipment to make the beers I always dreamed of making, and to get these beers out to as many people as possible. Make no mistake, 2018 is all about the beer. Beers with character, beers with personality, beers with presence, beers with identity.
In order to achieve our goals with regards to making truly great beers I knew we needed help. So we’ve recently made another addition to the team. Jack has joined us from First Chop Brewing Arm and has hit the ground running! First Chop were a brewery that helped us a great deal when we first opened and the first brewery we did a collaboration with, so we had known a lot about Jack’s brewing skills and potential for a while. Jack has some amazing ideas for new beers, and is constantly being creative. I now feel that we have everything we need to make our beer dreams a reality. Combined with the new vision our team have, I believe this year we will make a big impact in the craft beer world. Here at Seven Bro7hers we are really lucky that there are a lot of us. All with different skills and talents that enables us to tackle all the different aspects of running a business. This enables me as a brewer, to concentrate fully on brewing – and that is exactly what I plan on doing in a big way!