Friday, 20 June 2014

Blogging on Brewing

I have just returned from a couple of IFMA events held this week in Stockholm and Barcelona. I enjoyed the events and thought to myself I ought to blog about them as I haven’t posted a workplace blog for a little while. What I hadn’t realised is that my last blog here was six months ago! I know time flies by when you are enjoying yourself or busy, but six months is a long time by any standards.
But my lack of activity here doesn’t mean I have not been blogging, I have just been doing it under another persona. You see, I recently invested in and built a microbrewery, Haresfoot Brewery, and I have been venting my thoughts on-line as a newbie brewer. What may interest the workplace community is why I ended up brewing commercially.
There are several good reasons for opening a microbrewery:
  1. Whilst I love the workplace consulting profession, I have discovered that after seventeen years I need a creative outlet. This is where my research and writing comes in but what could be more creative than setting up a new business with a new brand and new products in a new market? I’ve always admired the Innocent guys and I am intrigued by building a new brand aimed at new audience to me i.e. the consumer rather than business market. Can I tap into their psyche and convince them to try and like our products?
  2. I’ve worked for large corporates and I have worked for myself. The brewery is fairly unique in that eight local business men each undergoing a mid-life crisis came together to set it up rather than buy a Porsche, Harley Davidson or disappear around the world finding themselves. We all have different skills and personalities, it is a true heterogeneous team that has taken time to understand how to work together, but the variation means that we are doing things that none of us could have achieved alone – true collaboration which I blogged on a while ago. And we are successful; we are 6 months ahead of our business plan after just two months of being open to the public.
  3. I have lived in Berkhamsted for 20 years but I knew no one in the town. I treated it as a dormitory, leaving at 8am and returning no earlier than 8pm and usually much later after a few beers in London. Part-owning a brewery changes that. A brewery has a direct link to the local community, it’s a destination within the area, people know our products and associate them with the town (so we represent the town), we get invited to support local charities and we employ local people. Finally I feel much more connected to my town and believe I now offer a contribution rather than simply take from it.
  4. I have also blogged on the question of what actually is work. Most of us push data around the ether for a living, very few make tangible products. I like that beer is a simple product adding value to natural ingredients; it’s like a cross between agriculture and manufacturing, the primary and secondary economic sectors, which is a fair distance from the service industry I usually work in. Beer is a black and white product, our customers either like us or stop drinking us – there is no debate on the quality of service or discounts or preferential rates for repeat custom. And yes I admittedly focus on the marketing rather than brewing but at least I feel connected to a noble, honourable and honest profession.
For now brewing is my passion, my hobby, my weekend and evening activity. Workplace consulting is my profession and my key source of income. Can I change this? Please leave your comments and advice below.
Please check out the Haresfoot Brewery blog site, website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube Channel.

1 comment:

  1. Nigel. Not sure about the answer but we share the same question what are the rewarding values of work?. For me it is a real question after heart surgery three weeks ago. Will workplace research fullfil ? Is the process of asking , defining, discussing the good questions more than finding evidence based answers?
    Hope you keep enjoying making beer!
    Wim Pullen/Delft