Well it's been a fair while since I blogged (again), you'd think I was trying to set up a new brewery or something....
Things are going really well at Welbeck Abbey Brewery now - we're finally producing some cracking beers and selling quite a lot of it. I update the official blog with current beer info last week so have a snoop at that if you want to know exactly what we're brewing.
I've been trying to work closely with the local CAMRA groups. I'm really lucky because I'm in the middle of Nottingham, Sheffield, Lincoln, Chesterfield and Derby, and to be honest I need all the help I can get.
I'm determined not to follow suit and brew lots of highly hopped, high ABV beers which is often what many micros do - I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I'm trying to brew beers which the consumers in my area want to drink.
I spoke at the last Nottingham CAMRA meeting and was very honest with them all. I explained about what I thought I needed to brew, and thankfully they thought I was at least pointing in the right direction! The grand plan is to brew a 3.6% pale, a very dark 4.2% bitter, and a 4.5% black beer. I wan't sure about the ABV for the pale, or that even a mild/black/porter was right, but after talking to Notts CAMRA I'm now set on my range.
OK, so there's nothing in there of a particularly high ABV, but I can have higher ABV monthly specials. Why? Well, many of my customers drive to the pub so don't necessarily want a high ABV, and often they don't want to spend a fortune on a pint so by keeping ABV down I can keep cost down (grr beer duty!), and at a higher ABV I'll be able to bottle condition a cask of each special knowing that it will keep well.
During my talk I also explained that I am trying very hard to find customers, but don't really know their 'patch' particularly well and would appreciate any help with finding good pubs to supply. I had a great response from this and have had lists of pubs sent to me!
The approach I'm taking is all centered around talking to publicans and CAMRA to make sure I brew exactly what normal people actually want to drink, not what I think they want to drink. I just hope it works...