It feels like a lifetime ago that we sat down together and started putting together the ideas and concept that were to become Left Handed Giant. We’ve just gone past our first birthday of launching our beers without so much as a beer being lifted in celebration as we are so busy brewing and selling the stuff! This landmark being passed made me realise how far we’ve came in such a short space of time, and not really having the time to really appreciate it made me realise how far we’ve still got to go!
The good stuff from year 1:
We didn’t go bust!
We made some beer that we’re pretty damn proud of.
We got to collaborate with some really great people including Weird Beard, Beavertown, Harbour, Wiper and True, Arbor, Bristol Beer Factory and Wylam.
We got to present our beers in some places that we love, including (but not limited to: Small Bar, Mother Kelly’s, The Hanging Bat, Port St Beer House, The Free Trade Inn. All amazing beer bars, and all places we are super proud to have poured our beer in!
We got to go to some epic beer festivals, the real highlight being Indy Man Beer Con!
We are currently 12th best brewery in England on Untappt.
The bad stuff from year 1:
Turns out making the beer you want to is heavily restricted by the hops available to you. In our case, as a new brewery with no hop contracts, that means having virtually nothing available to us. It really restricted our ability to execute our initial beer line up, but on the other hand really pushed our creativity.
Some of the team we originally set our business up with didn’t really work out. We had to part ways with 2 shareholders for different reasons. Painful lessons all round.
We ran out of beer constantly. This is good and bad to be fair, as it means we were selling it! We really felt though that our growth was being stunted month on month by not having stock to sell.
Gypsy brewing is expensive, and we don’t really have the ability to pass that price directly onto the customer. As such our margins are low. Year end accounts were sore, but the fact that we are establishing a brewery making consistently appreciated beers makes the hard work worth it. We all know that the end goal is to have our own kit, and that goal is a million times further forward than it was this same time last year.
On reflection the year we’ve had has been a massive learning curve. We were all in the beer industry before launching LHG, and have all watched friends launch breweries both gypsy brewing and buying stainless steel from the get go. I thought we had a pretty realistic expectation of what we were walking in to. I was wrong. In both directions though. On one hand it’s been way tougher, but on the other hand the response we’ve had from our customers has been massive. The feedback we get on a day to day basis makes the whole thing worth the effort. We’ve been accepted into the brewing fold, receiving advice and help from some of the best brewers in the country, and confirming our belief that the UK beer scene is an awesome, collaborative, open, driven, world class environment to be a part of. We’ve been invited to pour beer and talk at some of the best bars in the country. In short, while we may still be finding our feet when it comes to establishing our business, we feel like the support we’ve got on the journey makes the hard yards more than worth the effort!
Here’s to year 2 folks!