After 15 years of selling beer to pubs, the Iceni Brewery in Norfolk has scaled back production and founder Brendan Moore is a happy man.
“I’ve now created the business people imagined I’d created when I started. I have time to go for lunch and I’m now where I’ve always wanted to be – producing beer for the known demand. In the past we tried to force demand which wasn’t good for the quality of the beer.
I work mainly on my own – Kathy comes in to help 15 hours a week. I sell direct to the public through the shop at the brewery and people contact us for beer for events. I limit the number of big events I brew for to limit the strain on supply (and the strain on me!) I also supply a couple of farm shops, but adding the cost of travel cuts the margin.”
I suggest to Brendan that it sounds like he’s now operating at a scale he’s comfortable with?
“Yes – working hard should not be part of your business plan. The most successful business people are not physically working hard – guard against it. People think I’ve almost committed a crime when I tell them I stop for lunch. I do regret the amount of time I missed with my own kids, but I now have time with my grandchildren.”
“Once I decided to downsize, everything just came right. I stopped doing things that lost money, or didn’t make much, and started doing things I dreamed of, things I liked to do and which people wanted me to do. What I’ve learnt is that people want to buy beer from a hobby brewer! “
To find out more about the Iceni Brewery and, of course, Brendan’s very special brew, go to www.icenibrewery.co.uk