Being a Head Brewer isn’t all bad. Working 70+ stressful hours a week with only a couple of days off per year does come with some perks, such as never being more than a few feet from a beer you know that you will enjoy and the occasional brewer’s dinner. On Friday night I shall be at such a dinner. I am going to the BFBI Western Banquet. The banquet is the opportunity for the BFBI (the brewer’s suppliers) to recognise and reward the custom that us generous brewers bring their way. They are a great opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues in the industry, discuss the latest hot topics and wind up the competition.
I always start conversations at dinners by apologising for what Sharp’s are currently rumoured to be doing wrong in the market place. This generally clears the air and allows people to get whatever beef they have with Sharp’s off their chests. I used to let it get to me but now I just laugh it off. Normally when asked to substantiate any claims of (pardon the pun) ‘sharp practice’ against the brewery, the accuser will cite something they heard from someone or an excuse their sales team are using for the loss of an account. No one in Britain likes success, especially when it’s at their expense and it’s easier to accuse Sharp’s of giving away beer than to acknowledge that maybe we are really quite good at making and selling beer that people love to drink. If we had been “giving away” beer for as long as the accusations have been in circulation then we would have gone under years ago. Also if the beer was anything other than consistently excellent, sales growth wouldn’t be snowballing as the beer becomes a favourite in more and more pubs.
To go from 10,000 barrels to 65,000 barrels a year in 8 years we must be doing something right! We are still a long way from where we are determined to be and are dedicated to getting bigger and better.