2017 Review and 2018 Plans
Who knew two men and one dog could change a hobby into something bigger. Story sound familiar?
Well this one is of Wasted Degrees Brewing and our first calendar year in business. Since mid-July of 2017 we have been brewing, bottling, capping, delivering and occasionally drinking our own beer brewed from a small 100L set up in highland Perthshire. Pitlochry to be exact.
Packaging our produce in 750ml vichy bottles has presented us with a unique opportunity to do things differently and present beer in a new light, especially in an area where craft beer may not necessarily be widely known or fully understood (yet). Our four year-round offerings have been well received at markets and by wholesalers alike. With a growing list of shops, restaurants and farmers markets where our beer can be accessed, we are relishing the new year and all the challenges it presents us:
- trying to expand to keep up demand in tandem with the highest quality of beer we can produce
- juggling all the associated commitments surrounding running a business, over and above the physical act of brewing four days a week
- embracing our small scale as an advantage, having the flexibility and confidence to cycle through different limited editions. Highlights of such efforts have been using locally sourced hops and being the first brewery in the region to use local hops in at least the last eighty years as well as collaborating with other local businesses such as Glen Lyon Coffee Roastery in our Winter Solstice Coffee Stout.
- pushing toward doing more events and markets to interact with and continue to offering samples of our beers with consumers
and some new:
- taking our business to another stage and grow in a way that we feel comfortable with
- reaching out beyond Perthshire more often
- open our online shop
- expand our reach on social media and widen our already loyal and supportive following
How we aim to do this is an ever evolving plan,
With industrial units in Pitlochry few and far between and the associated costs of scaling up to a brewhouse and associated equipment ten times the size we have had to think outside the box.
Thankfully due to how we pitch our products and due the very nature of our business this isn't something new.
In the coming year we are going to be running two brewing operations in tandem.
The first of which is a continuation of 750ml limited edition seasonal offerings using our current set up in Pitlochry. These will be available both at farmers markets and on our online shop.
The second approach we will be utilising is a method often called Gypsy or Nomad brewing. Using an established brewery’s set up to produce our own products. We have been able to secure somewhere within 40 miles that allows us to brew a larger quantity (800L per brew) and the use of a high end bottling line to further push the quality of our beer to meet an ever growing demand. The beers brewed using this approach will be our four year-round offerings in 330ml champagne bottles. This allows us continuity in the style that our customers already know us for. These products will be available across all sales streams: wholesale, market and online in both individual bottle and gift set packs.
Gypsy brewing essentially means that our beer continues to be brewed by us, using our recipes but we don't own the equipment we use or the building it sits in. In addition, it means our brewery continues to be an independent business owned by us. This method of brewing does not define us, or is who we are, however it is where we are at just now. It is an arrangement that suits us at this particular point in time, gives us the ability to use a spec of equipment that currently is beyond our reach, and builds toward something bigger. While not a new concept by any means (see Mikkeller, Evil Twin, Northern Monk) we feel we should be as open and honest as possible.
This approach allows us to kick up a gear by supplying businesses who would like to stock our beer but as of we late haven't had the ability get to, move toward a higher end of branding and labeling (no more printing and applying by hand!), give us the option of also supplying keg and cask if we do wish, as well as freeing up time to push on with awareness of our business and our beer.
So, here's to 2018. Please check back on the blog in the coming weeks for our confirmed market dates or on our social media pages @wasteddegrees on Facebook and Instagram or @degreeswasted on Twitter.