So, how did we get here?
You’ll have read the Pigs Tale telling you about how we came to be but we wanted to bring you up to the present day via our blog.
Part one: September 2012 - October 2013
It was at the wedding of our good friends Steve and Kiri that we realised we had something going with event catering and a mobile bar. So all we needed to do was find a brewery to cuckoo brew in and we were away. As Sean was still working full time, Robin rang around the breweries of Kent and Sussex and about the third call he made was to Widdi of Downlands Brewery not far from Brighton. Arrangements and a few brewery visits were made before on New Year’s Eve 2012 Sean brewed Red Spider Rye. Credit should go not only to Widdi for encouraging us to brew a 5.5% rye beer as our first beer but also to Tom Dobson, now of Burning Sky Brewery, to suggest we put it on cask. Red Spider Rye was an instant hit with a cask of it even making it up to the legendary Port Street Beer House where it became the end of shift “staff drink”.
We weren’t to know it but that cask led to us being invited to do a mini meet the brewer at Indymanbeercon later that year and so our love affair with the Manchester beer scene was born. So between January and October of 2013 we brewed 10 times in four breweries in Sussex and Kent. At the same time the event catering side of the business took off meaning every weekend was involved in catering and some weekdays involved in brewing. During all of this time Sean was working full time so it fell on Robin to run the business. After a while we realised that the beer was really starting to gain traction and were faced with a tough choice as we could put all our efforts into growing one side of the business but not both.
October 2013 – February 2015
An opportunity arose to share the former Royal Tunbridge Wells Brewery with another brewery for a year which would enable us to brew once a week. We knew this was an opportunity we had to take but also, because we would have to brew at weekends (the business was unable to support two salaries at the time) that the event catering business would have to go. We brewed every weekend with Robin racking on his own during the week while we put in place the building blocks that would enable us to expand. We developed new beers and new distributors which enabled Pig and Porter beers to be seen throughout most of the country. In January 2015 the brewery we were sharing with gave notice that they were moving out, Sean handed his notice in on his day job and we got stuck in to brewing three times a fortnight.
February 2015 – May 2016
In May 2015 we were joined by Sam to help out with the physical demands of the brewery and George joined us part time in September. We also had a rebrand courtesy of the amazing Sorrel Rivers complete with new logo and brilliant new bottle and badge designs and we realty started to get a sense that we were going places. In January of this year we ordered the shiny new 15bbl fermenter that will enable us to brew three times a week and take our production levels up to 120 firkins a week. In February we launched Skylarking, our Session IPA which is the beer that’s outselling its next nearest rival by twice as much. Finally last month we said goodbye to Sam who’s moving on to concentrate on dog training and game keeping, hello to Helen who joins the sales team and we also welcome George full time into the assistant brewer role.