We need your support to make it through this challenging period - and we've put together some great rewards to thank you.
Take your mind back to the halcyon days of 2013. Donald Trump was just a reality TV show star, Boris Johnson was just a Mayor and Corona was just a Mexican Beer. This was the world into which Weird Beard Brew Co was born. We were one of a handful of London Breweries, and one of just a handful of UK Breweries brewing modern, hop forward beers. By and large, the world made sense and it was for all intents and purposes our oyster. We brewed great beers, sold them to great customers and they were drunk by great people. Easy.
Up until 12 months ago, despite some ups and downs that's how it all worked. We sold to bars, bottle shops, domestic wholesalers and exporters around the world. Every 2 or so months we would throw the brewery doors open and host an open day, which was great fun and provided much needed cashflow.
We went into the first lockdown with 5 staff across our Sales and Production teams. As you're aware, pubs have pretty much been closed this whole time, which has affected our direct sales and demand from our wholesale partners has also ground to a halt. Obviously the rest of the world has also been affected, so demand from our export partners overseas has also slowed to a trickle (not to even mention Brexit). We've not hosted an open day in over a year either.
Cash flow is the life blood of a small business. A perfectly viable, asset rich business can fail if the cash is not flowing. If a customer does not pay us on time, but we need to buy ingredients up front, the arteries get blocked. And for the reasons outlined, the blood has stopped flowing. The heart is still there, it's just not getting the oxygen it needs.
Since October, we're down to 1 full time member of staff with another 2 part time when needed and 'furloughed' when not.
We've pivoted to small pack and quickly got an online shop up and running, which has helped keep our heads above water. However, the debts are mounting.
We are obviously not the only people struggling. We know it's not just us pouring beer down the drain. Our trade customers are also in dire straits. We know our trade customers have little money to throw around. So it breaks our hearts to have to chase payment. But the more lenient we are, the deeper we get. We also have to factor in that a lot of these businesses will not survive, and we will have to write-off some of what is owed to us.
We're incredibly grateful for our loyal webshop customers, especially our local customers in and around Hanwell in West London. Without your continued support, we wouldn't have made it this far.
Unfortunately we've fallen through the gaps of any support which has been available for some similar business. To date, we've not had any rates relief or grants. Our landlord hasn't been able to offer any assistance either. We did take out a 'bounce back' loan, but obviously it needs to be repaid.
Frankly, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we're not sure we'll make it through.
First off, we immediately rushed to get an online shop up and running. There were teething problems, and some financial outlay, but we got there. This on line, direct to customer approach has accounted for over two-thirds of all our revenue over the last 12 months. We sell the beer at a higher price than we do to trade, but there are extra costs that we need to cover. There are the obvious like labour, and some not so obvious, like requiring a new alcohol licence, boxes & tape, website and transactional costs. Lastly, we heavily subsidise shipping costs.
In our early days we grew and expanded rapidly. Outgrowing our original unit, and slowly expanding into 3. We are now trying to bring this down to 2 units to save on rent & rates. But there are costs involved in this too. So to save this money, we first need to spend money, which we don't have.
We have sent most of our rented casks back, so we can save on rental. But there are costs incurred there too, like removing our branding. So again, to save money in the long run, we need to spend more now.
We've put together a number of rewards (on the right) to entice you to pledge. Most of these rewards will be delivered/redeemed later in the year.
- £10 donation for our never ending thanks.
- £15 donation and you will get your name immortalised* on a special dedicated panel (or window) on our beer bus.
- £25 will get you a limited edition 660ml bottle of Barrel Aged Gaslight the Electorate
- £30 will get you a limited edition Weird Beard supporters T-Shirt.
- £40 for a 'bottomless glass*' at one of our future Brewery Open Days!
- £50 will get you a £60 'discount code' to be used on our webshop later in the year.
- £60 will get you the limited edition 660ml bottle of BA Gaslight the Electorate (above) along with a special T-Shirt and a 330ml can of Gaslight the Electorate.
- £100 will get you a £130 'discount code' to be used on our webshop later in the year.
- £250 will get a hand picked selection of our beer (worth at least £50) delivered each month for the next 6 months.
- £300 will you get you a limited edition, stirling silver Holy Hoppin' Hell Ring
- £475 will get a hand picked selection of our beer (worth at least £50) delivered each month for the next 12 months.
- £2000 will allow you and up to 4 friends to help us design a beer from scratch and come along and help brew it (and drink it afterwards)! This is an experience you and your friends will remember for a long time
When this is all over, we want to jump right back in. We plan to restore our 1968 VW camper van to create a new delivery van and mobile bar for events. This saves us money renting and moves events outside where they are safer . We also intend to hire a new head brewer, move towards getting our own canning line and eventually open a tap room on site! We have so much ambitious drive in us, so much great beer to share, and so many great beers in our cold store.