Four years ago Sean and I started Pig and Porter as an event catering business offering a small amount of our own beer. I did our annual end of year stock take yesterday and it gave me cause to reflect on how the business has changed and grown in that time.
Although the business was incorporated four years ago, the first activity was a brew at Downlands Brewery on New Year's Eve of 2012/2013 and we only brewed about ten times until the end of our first year this time in 2013. That first summer was all about event catering, and we were fully booked every weekend from Spring until Autumn. I won't miss the 2 am alarm calls for hog roasts or the panic at attempting to roast a 105kg pig for a wedding that broke our hog roaster by it's sheer weight.
In autumn of 2013 we started brewing in Tunbridge Wells at the site of a former brewery and the next 18 months saw us share the brewery with another fledgling company. We brewed once a week at weekends while Sean continued with his day job as we steadily grew the business. It's really only since February of last year since we had the brewery to ourselves and Sean was able to give up his job and come to work full time on our business that we've really got going properly.
We have grown by 50% in the last year and probably learned more than in any other year so far. We have a clear idea of what we want to achieve in the next twelve months and plan to double our turnover. We'll need another fermenter, a brewery assistant and a full time salesperson and we're planning for all those things at the moment.
We started on a shoestring and while we have subsequently had a small amount of funding from a bank, we're proud to have built the business up to the point where our production now exceeds the maximum possible when we first took over the brewery. In an incredibly crowded market it has been tough to reach a point at which we are starting to make a small profit after paying ourselves and we aim to kick on from here.
On then to this week's news. We sold out of all our Green Hop beers in double quick time and also our collaboration ESB brewed with Blackjack. We have a few of the Smoked Rye Saison brewed with Runaway still to sell. All the core beers are available including a new brew of our stout, Dance First, and we also have our 4.2% Pale with Mosaic, "Dream More", ready to go. Slow, Black is in the fermenter and should be ready to go out in a couple of weeks.
We have guest beers this week from Boss Brewing, a new brewery to us. They are based in Swansea and we met them at Birmingham Beer Bash a couple of months back. At the last minute I altered the make up of the pallet from them as their "Boss Black" 5% Stout has just won Silver in the Champion beer of Wales (and won the best stout category). We have 6 casks of that and 2 each of their Welsh IPA, American IPA and "Oktoberfest". We also have three kegs each of the WIPA and AIPA.
Guest beers are normally all sold by lunchtime on Monday so get in early as ever.
Have a great week.