Thursday, 30 April 2015

Business of Booze: Naked Beer

Got a passion for all things hoppy? Think you’d made a master brewer? Well, in this week’s Business Of Booze (our new series written by Becky from Social and Cocktail), we talk to Rob and Dan, founders of Naked Beer, which was set up in September 2013 and started trading in February 2014.

Here's what it's like to set up your own brewery from scratch...

Why Naked?

So we went with Naked for two reasons - the first being that we wanted to make honest, unpretentious beers that would stand out through their quality, and secondly because we liked the name! It's simple, easy to remember, and essentially who we are. You don't get any bullshit with us.

What was the catalyst for setting up your own brewery? Had you been home brewing for a while?

Rob set up the brewery after spending 5 years working as first an assistant brewer for Bristol Beer Factory and then Ascot Ales. He was making home brews all throughout that time. He then took a job with a brewery down in Sussex which didn't go to plan. Seemingly without a job prospect, he made the decision to strike out on his own. 

Funnily enough, a day after he'd put down the deposit for the brew kit, he was offered a head brewer job in India! Needless to say we're glad that one didn't come through earlier.

What kind of research did you do?

To be honest, we didn't really do a whole lot into how to set up. We're still learning as we go! We just knew that the right time was as soon as possible, as craft beer is currently ballooning in popularity the world over. 

In terms of inspiration, you only have to look at the wealth of other awesome breweries from in and around Rob's home city of Bristol - Bristol Beer Factory, Arbour Ales, Wiper and True and Wild Beer Co, to name but a few.

What was the most daunting part?

Putting down a £20,000 deposit down on a brew kit! Up until then, there was always the choice to walk away.

How long until you got a batch you were 100% pleased with?

We have an ethos here of making sure we have something perfect on a home brew scale before we're ready to adapt it to the big kit. After that, if a beer needs it, it will receive further tweaking. 

With our first two beers, one was absolutely perfect from the get go and made a perfect transition onto the big kit, whereas the second has since gone through several adjustments to get it where it is today.

How about the branding - how long did that take?

Our bottle and keg branding was a little more complicated - that involved sitting down with a designer and drawing up some ideas. 

We settled on the hop leaf turned upside down, which is a nod towards the fig leaf of biblical infamy... you know, the ones that Adam and Eve used to cover their naked bodies after the original sin. Take from that what you will!

What's the best piece of advice you were given?

The best piece of advice we ever had was actually pretty simple - brew your own beers. Don't try and copy what's trendy or popular or what other people are doing, stick to your convictions and make something that you'd want to drink. 

That way, you can always be proud of what you make, and even more so if other people love it as well!

What advice would you give to people setting up their own brewery?

Preparation is everything. If you rush at the start, you're going to cut things short before they've begun. Also, don't be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are stepping stones on the path to greatness. 

It's much more about how you handle your mistakes - if you're good to people and you hold yourself to a standard of integrity, you'll find that most customers will give you a bit of leeway when you start out.

What's been your favourite part of the journey so far?

I think it would have to be taking on our first employee in January. Our assistant brewer, Ian, is an absolute brewing prodigy and he's been absolutely fantastic so far. He has a bright future ahead of him. I'm personally hoping we have a lot more favourite parts yet to come!

What are your plans for 2015/16?

We're focusing on moving forwards with a bunch of new beers throughout the summer. Amongst those planned, we've got a couple of new pales, an american red, then some pretty left field beers like a Berlinnerweisse and a saison. 

We've also (finally) got our keg gear, so expect to see new keg beers rolling out soon, including a keg re-release of an old summer favourite, our mighty peach Hefeweisen - Depeach Mode. Finally, the long awaited Imperial Stout will be getting brewed this summer, and then aged for at least 6 months so it's ready in time for Christmas. Needless to say, we're seriously pumped.

No comments:

Post a Comment