As the summer seems to be slowly trying to make it’s way to us, I did my usual thing and bought a classic car magazine, with that boyish idea of an old soft top sports car for the summer. Completely wrong time, as the market strengthens when the sun shines, so I really must get organised to look at this in January, when it is cold and wet, and cash is tight, and there may be some less expensive cars for sale. But looking through the classifieds, there were a number of adverts offering part exchange, with the letters WHY. Not why, but what have you. At the recent PMA Beer Innovation conference in Birmingham, there was a presentation on marketing by a very successful brewer, and the WHY featured heavily. You must have a WHY before you build the strategy, and this struck a real chord with me. My WHY is beer, and then pubs, family, tradition (yes, tradition, but in a respectful rather than expectful way) and enjoyment. Beer is that great social drink, and what we are seeing in the market know would have been pretty difficult to predict.
Our Pilot brewing plant has been operational since the Autumn, and boy have we had some fun! Learning, and of course playing, has led us along a wonderful path of sights, flavours and aromas, and on occasions even sounds, as we try new ingredients and ideas. Monthly a range of beers are presented at the Brewery for sampling, and we managed a first last week, with six out of the seven beers being a crafty ale. Beer no 7 was Hooky Gold; developed in 2006 as a seasonal beer, using Willamette hops, we proudly boasted that it was the first Hooky beer to use American hops. Stupid boy should have done his homework, especially as we have all of the old brewing ledgers to refer to. in 1908 we were using US hops, as the UK supply was not sufficient for the pale ale demand. So last week we had new beers, we had old beers, we had a 9.5% old ale, we had a pleasant evening. Above all, it was fun to present in one evening what was probably in our past, a repertoire which would have spanned decades. This is our WHY. We have beer.
Thinking back a few years, our experimentation was quite limited; we did the odd special beer, but nothing like the range we can now attempt to brew. So the WHY really is the beer. But beer in all it’s glory.
One of the best WHY experiences was Monday evening. A quick stop at a free house in a local village – a free house that had been closed for a while, but has now re-opened, and serves good beer in a decent environment with friendly staff; not rocket science! George who recently turned 18 enjoyed a pint of Hooky, I was recommended a pint of Hooky Gold. If I ever wonder WHY, I think about moments like this. So WHY? What Have You? Great beer, in a great village pub, an experience to treasure.
If you really want to learn about our WHY, then come and see us, and share in it. There’s beer in them Cotswold Hills too!