Thursday, 3 September 2015

Crazy Intergalacticness

This post has developed into a rant. You are best advised to avoid reading it and just watch this video. It's daft, I put quite a bit of work into it and despite the effort, I still wonder if it'll hit the spot. I love it if folks watch it, share it, and if you really want to, take the mickey.

The beer is called Intergalactic Space Hopper. It's 5.2% pale and hoppy as hell. We're launching it at Glasgow Craft Beer Rising and Grasmere Guzzler this weekend. Ann and I'll will be a Glasgow, Scott will be at Grasmere on Saturday.

And so, to the rant.

Promoting beer is an interesting job. It's certainly getting trickier to make oneself heard with so many breweries out there now. Makes me kind of frustrated when some people seem to feel that it isn't simply great the choice you beer drinkers have. The choice out there is fantastic, there is just a huge amount of cask beer everywhere now. Microbrewer keg beer is becoming much more popular than to be honest even I thought it'd become. Choosing just how bright or murky the beer you buy is all down to walking into the pub or craft beer bar you know and trust. If you want it cheap, go to Wetherspoons.

For the poor brewer it does mean putting in extra effort to get noticed. We know we don't always get it right, but we try, and it's pleasurable when we get noticed, there's no doubt about that. Sometimes the reasons for being noticed aren't exactly the way we planned, but getting noticed in an ever increasingly crowded marketplace is almost always a good thing, even if the attention gets a little uncomfortable.

We are releasing a beer this weekend. It's a good beer, stacked full of bright hop aromas and a good punch of complex hop flavours. I'd say stunning. Considering we've had some problems this year getting the hops we wanted, partly due to our own inability to accurately predict growth combined with administrative cock-ups both at Hardknott central and at hop merchants. It didn't help that some hop harvests were short last season.

Despite the brilliance of the beer, that just isn't good enough to generate sales all by itself. So, I do what I do to try and promote the Hardknott brand, and if I were honest I'd say it's getting tougher to get it right. When we started Hardknott it almost seemed all we had to do was write a few blog posts and everything would be alright. We were actually saying to people that we hadn't got enough beer. So, we took the risk and took out some fairly eye watering loans, by my modest standards anyway, and went for expansion.

We've made some mistakes, worked hard, put out some marketing projects, on next to no budget, and had some success.

"O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!"

Indeed, it is something I consider all the time. How is Hardknott perceived? How am I perceived? We work very hard, make a meagre living out of beer. I imagine much like most people in the beer industry we are driven by a passion1 for beer. I do wonder just how much the diversity of beer out there is so great because a huge number of people are working very hard for very little financial return. Yes, some breweries are doing fantastically well. We're stuck just a little bit far away from the metropolises to make it quite as well, but we do OK, partly because I refuse to wind my neck in, and give an outward impression of having limited self awareness.2. The reality is, as Jeffrey Bell is well aware, I consider frequently how both myself and my business are perceived.

So, if I were honest, I'm not entirely happy with the video I post here. I've put a huge number of hours into it. Learned a lot about animation and syncing it with music. I had some fun trying to get the right feel to the sound track. I am sure it'll get some people going WTF? Whatever, it's here, and so is the beer. Go ahead, talk about me, I'll cry into my beer tonight, but so long as it gets the Hardknott name out there, on balance I'll feel good about it.


1There you go, an example of a word that we become afraid to use, because it has to some extent become a cliche. But I believe there are many people, working their fuckingi socks off to make fantastic beer, driven not by greed, or sinister capitalist intentions, but by passion. Let us say that we do exactly that, eh? without taking the god damn piss.

2Stonch has returned! I give himii two links to his blog in this post. That should please him. But then, despite his reasonably successful attempts to wind me up, his blog has given me good mention this last few weeks, so I can't, in reality, complain.iii

iYup, that's out of character for this blog. But, right now, after going to bed at 4am to get this video finished, and now being up with fire in my belly, determined to get the beer to Glasgow, I feel it's justified.

iiOr should it be them? Seems there are four of them contributing now. Geez, that makes it all the harder for me to keep up with blogging too.....

iiiYup, you are right, in a way I'm complaining. But whatever. What leaves me slightly confused is what on earth Mr Bell is actually playing at. His comments seem directed at suggesting I should stop doing what I do. My persona, and that of my brewery are organic and from the heart. We're still an incredibly an incredibly small brewery and to be honest I absolutely have no intention of winding my neck in. To stay afloat in this new and incredibly busy craft beer scene we simply have to work hard with limited resources. So stick that in your pipe Stonch.


I quite like the music for this, although it could do with a fair bit of mastering to get it better. Time, you know. Anyhow, some of the complexities of the piece are lost due dipping it to hear voice overs and the like. If you if you are daft enough to want to hear it unadulterated and with the sound synced animation too, it's here. Ann say's I should issue a epilepsy warning as the animation is quite flashy light by itself.

Intergalactic Space Hopper just the music and sound to motion stuff. from Hardknott Brewery on Vimeo.


Stonch Beer said...

Mate I think, and wrote, that your Nuclear Sunset was excellent. I think some of your marketing's a bit silly. So do others, ain't just me. The Hiroshima thing was pure lunacy, but the beer was, judging by the pint I had, banging. Presented well, tasted great, genuinely different and - to top it all - served to me in Brighton at a reasonable (for craft) price.

Personally I'm now going to try your beers everywhere I see them as a matter of course. I spend half my life on the piss in the pubs. So I might have been a bit strong in the wording of my comments on your marketing, but essentially I'm now a customer of yours and I'm advising others to follow suit. Beer getting sold, beer getting drunk. Wheeeeyyup

I'll save your latest video for a rainy day. I'll probably think it's shit but perversely that'll make me even more likely to try the beer as it'll implant it in my brain

Dave Bailey said...

And there you go JeffrEy, the last paragraph you typed there just shows we both know what we mean.

Ed said...

Good to hear you've got a microbiologist. Will Brett beers be coming soon?