It was when Jacqui and I were representing Pig and Porter at this year’s Manchester Beer and Cider Festival that we first heard that Michelle was putting Offbeat Brewery and Taproom up for sale. As we sat in a pizza restaurant after a busy Wednesday trade session we talked about whether or not we could buy it. At the time it felt more like daydreaming than reality.
I’ve made no secret that I believe, to help turn a profit in a small brewery, there needs to be some form of self-retail; whether that is a tap room, website, pub or even an estate of pubs. We’d been looking to do that at Pig and Porter for the last year or so but, for a number of reasons, we’ve not been able to do that.
I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in five years at Pig and Porter; it’s a business performing really well in an exceptionally crowded market and from an incredibly cramped unit miles away from where most of the team live. I’m leaving behind an awesome team but one that Robin will steer very safely indeed.
You have to be prepared to make sacrifices to make a success of a business; I’m not just talking about working weekends, late nights, extended commutes but the “cool” stuff a brewer would like to produce. I’m thinking of barrel aged beers, big stouts and mixed ferm projects none of which were possible in the Tunbridge Wells site due in part to the lack of space but also to the success of the business.
Suddenly a two barrel brew kit in a taproom in Crewe was looking very attractive. We’ve always enjoyed visiting the North West and have family living close by so upping sticks from the South East isn’t as daunting as it might have been.
We have a number of plans for Tom’s Tap and Brewhouse which will evolve over time but the primary objective is to get in and meet the locals before getting to know the kit and have some fun brewing fun beers.