My First Year at Brewgooder
It will come as no surprise to those that know me well that I have very little recollection of my first day at Brewgooder. Not because it was unmemorable but because my memory is notoriously bad, much to my wife’s annoyance.
All I do remember is that on starting on the 1st August 2017 (I checked my calendar), I wasn’t presented with a 4 week induction plan. No, that wasn’t how Brewgooder worked. Instead, it was very much “Welcome to Brewgooder… now let’s crack on.”
On reflection, I now know that there were a couple of reasons for that.
Firstly, the business was very much operating in the present and while that seemed to be working - it wasn’t going to be sustainable for long if we grew the brand to the scale and at the pace we intended to. We had to start considering how we would transition from an ambitious start up to a business that was capable of disrupting the UK beer market in a way no other brand could and for years to come…
Secondly, time is not on our side. With statistics showing that around 900 children under 5 years old die every day due to dirty water something has to be done. Now.
Initially the team consisted of Alan, Zoё and James with Leo joining us in London soon after I started. They were young (still are), enthusiastic, creative and incredibly passionate about making a difference in the world. They all live and breathe the brand’s mission to support 1,000,000 people out of water poverty and it was clear that this selflessness had to be protected above all else no matter how the business needed to evolve in the coming months.
It would have been easy for me to make an immediate impact by replicating the ways of working that had become second nature to me and, if I’m honest, I had started to take for granted during my AB InBev days. Brewgooder desperately needed some structure, as did I for my own sanity, but too much too soon could be a disaster. Instead we opted for a gradual evolution rather than an immediate revolution!
Being the old guy
“Being Chief Well Digger is like running a youth club.”
A slightly flippant reference that will probably resonate more with readers of a certain age but one that described perfectly how I felt after a team trip to Ikea to try and furnish our first Brewgooder HQ in Leith, Edinburgh. After we purchased a couple of lamps, a very sensible office chair for my bad back, and a cuddly toy for James, I returned home to Glasgow wondering when, if ever, I’d become comfortable with my role as the old boring guy in such a young team? A role I wasn’t used to.
I was jealous of their energy and youthful optimism for sure – but I quickly recognised that it was a question of me being comfortable in my own skin and being clear on why Alan, the founder, had brought me to Brewgooder.
Yes, I like to think I’m young (at heart a least) and can go toe to toe on the banter stakes but actually that’s not why I’m here. We don’t all have to be under 30 years old, wear skinny jeans, have a beard (luckily for Zoe) and have a fascination with your hair (James / Leo).
In reality I’m well over thirty, don’t have the legs or waist for skinny jeans and my receding hair line is a daily worry.
None of that really matters. What does matter is each team members’s ability to add value and make a positive difference to Brewgooder on a daily basis.
Start Up to Credible Contender
After a really strong performance in the brands second year which saw us grow out distribution points to +2500, develop an online shop and deliver on our promise of a corporate beer club for businesses who share our values, 2018 will see us transition from a “do-gooder” brand to a great brand that does good. We are at war with water poverty so no more Mr Nice Brand. The recent design change and the introduction of a bottle to the range has helped start the process but there is far more to come.
Malawi visit 2018
To date we have supported +40,000 out of water poverty and I was privileged to visit some of our projects in Malawi in June this year. It was an incredibly humbling experience but what most stood out was the respect and appreciation shown by the people we met. Each community we visited was such a happy environment despite living conditions that I’m confident everyone reading this post would deem unacceptable.
The people we are helping are incredibly industrious and what is abundantly clear is that as a result of access to clean water they can thrive.
(If you want to catch a glimpse of what kind of impact we can have in these places, don’t miss the upcoming release of our Brewgooder x BrewDog: Malawi 2018 Short Film on Friday 27th July!)
My next 12 months
With the brand already on a strong growth trajectory and the team as ambitious as ever, we have set ourselves some big targets for 2018/19.
Taking our impact from 40,000 to over 120,000 people is the next step and with the support of our current customers and community of Well Diggers, as well as bringing on new partners in the coming months, we will achieve that I’m sure.
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