Update & Christmas Shopping Opportunities

Did you miss us? Silly question, we know the answer… ☺

Hi all, apologies for being SO long with the latest blog update, I promise we’ve not been slacking, it’s been an interesting and crazy couple of months at HSB.

So, where to start? Well, lets pick up from last time, and what happened after the first brew… Our opening night hosted by the Dial Arch was a fantastic evening, and thank you for those of you who could make it (Twitter and FB are much more frequently updated, so please check there for events!). We sold about 4 casks over evening, which was brilliant with people quaffing our Pale Ale and Fusilier like it was going to run out (it nearly did!).

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Hop Stuff Launch!

James pulling the first pint!

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That week also saw us deliver across SE London, and we launched simultaneously at  RLA @ The Old Loyal Briton in Greenwich, and several other fantastic pubs, with about 40 casks going out in total – no small feat in a Zipvan I can assure you.

Zipvan deliveries!

Zipvan deliveries!

From that launch evening, we’ve gone from strength to strength, having appeared in all of the following pubs (with the option to reappear if you keep requesting Hop Stuff!):

The Dial Arch – Woolwich The Bull – Shooters Hill
The Roses – Woolwich The New Cross Turnpike – Welling
The Great Harry – Woolwich The Windsor – Old Kent Road
RLA @ The Old Loyal Briton – Greenwich The Grape and Grain – Crystal Palace
The Cutty Sark – Greenwich The Capitol – Forest Hill
Richard The First – Greenwich The Crown and Anchor – Brixton
Greenwich Tavern – Greenwich Beer Rebellion – Gypsy Hill
The Rose and Crown  – Greenwich The Grape and Grain – Crystal Palace
Theatre of Wine – Greenwich Dartford Working Mens Club – Dartford (DUHH!)
Hare and Billet – Blackheath The George and Dragon – Swanscombe
The Royal Standard – Blackheath The Wrong’un – Bexleyheath
The Dog and Bell – Deptford The Crosse Keys – Gracechurch St
The Old Mill – Plumstead The Cosy Club – Stamford

If I’ve missed any I apologise, and I’ll make a special tweet to mention you, but as you can see, we’ve been getting ourselves out there quite nicely, including getting into a number of Weatherspoons & Youngs pubs!

All these pubs not enough for you? What else / where else have you been I hear you asking…

We’ve launched 2 further beers, our 7.4% Gunners Porter and 5.6% Renegade IPA (for all our investors this was the beer we tempted you with during fundraising). This takes our current line up to 4, which is where we are planning to keep it, until Spring at least! Casks of Renegade and Gunners Porter were limited (the porter in particular was a short brew due to the ABV and consequence malt bill), with the majority going into bottles but head over to either the Old Mill in Plumstead, or the Roses in Woolwich to sample the last few.

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The Hop Stuff line up – thanks to BrandMe for designing the labels!

We’ve also started to spread the word by attending several events – running the bar at the Greenwich Heritage Centre museum late to launch the Porter and our bottle line up, going along to a Kent farmers market as well as a brilliant Saturday at the London Independent Brewers Market in Spitalfields! We must thank the team over at Five Points for organising – this was a great opportunity to promote the brand, meet other brewers we’ve yet had the chance to, and finally, to sell lots and lots of beer – impressive given the competition on the day!

London Brewers Market

London Brewers Market

Bottle selection

Horton Kirby Farmers Market

Horton Kirby Farmers Market

Right, so, where can you get your hands on our bottles next?? I promised a website, and I continue to do so, we are building one (honest!), so keep your eyes out for a shop and a redesigned website at some point in the not to distant future.

If you can’t wait for then (and why would you?) then please come along at join us this Friday evening for a brewery open night from 6-9pm. “Finally” I hear you scream…, the doors of HS will be open to all our lovely fans and supporters, and you can pick up all the bottles / Christmas presents / stocking fillers & little prizes for yourself for surviving the festive insanity. We’ll have our full range of beers available in 330ml bottles, as well as our 6 bottle gift packs, 750ml champagne bottle Porters & we’ll open a cask or 2 for your 2 pint evening takeaways!

Our bottles

Our bottles

750ml Gunners Porter - great for Christmas!

750ml Gunners Porter – great for Christmas!

How to find us

How to find us

If you can’t make it on Friday evening and live a little further afield, do not fear, we’re also with our friends at the Kent Christmas Food Festival on Saturday at the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks (TN13 1ZZ). It would be lovely to see some friendly faces, as well as meet a few unfamiliar ones if you get a chance!

So again, apologies for the delay in a blog update, I promise I’ll try harder, but come along on Friday evening or Saturday and I’ll apologise in person over a few bottles of Hop Stuff!

Sentimental part…..

Here at Hop Stuff we live and work in an amazing part of London, and are surrounded by a fantastic community. We hope we can help spread a little (or a lot!) of Christmas cheer and share a beer or two with you in the brewery on Friday evening. It’s events like Friday, and the Heritage Centre and Brewers Market last week that reminds us how lucky we are to have all you fantastic people drinking our beer! Keep going, and here’s to the next part of the adventure.

Cheers,

James

P.S. We’ve also added brewery pup Barley to the Hop Stuff family!

Barley

Barley

First Brew

So the big day crept up on us and we were completely unprepared, but we knew our recipe was good, and our pale ale was going to be fantastic, so we went for it!

The day started at 7am, and several trips up a ladder to fill the grist case with c. 12 bags of malt. Maris Otter, Wheat & Cara filled the case with delicious malty flavours (see photo below!).

12 bags and 1 ladder...

12 bags and 1 ladder…

This is what 275kgs of Maris Otter looks like

This is what 275kgs of Maris Otter looks like + a couple of others

We were emptying the grist case into the Mash Tun by 9ish (2 hours wasn’t filled just going up and down the ladder, there was a bacon butty in there as well!).  The smell was fantastic and occupied  every part of our little unit. It was all going swimmingly unit time came to sparge, at which point, our sparge arm fell off… Not a disaster, but added about an hour to our brew day because it meant we had to hose sparge, and meant either myself, Em (my girlfriend, more at home with numbers than brewing!), our brewery consultant who is supervising the first few brews or Seb (my sister’s boyfriend we managed to draft in), holding the hose over the malt for what felt like ages!

Mashing in...

Mashing in…

Hose pipe action and an out of action sparge arm

Hose pipe action and an out of action sparge arm

Next up, the boil… not a quick process by any stretch of the imagination, gave us a little time to sort everything out though after the fun and games in the Mash Tun! Our new piping and burner did eventually get there with some gusto, creating a fantastic rolling boil – same couldn’t be said for the yet to be hooked up steam flue…. resulting in it raining hoppy condensation…indoors! In went the Cascade… and assorted other hops (secrets, well until you all buy a bottle of our pale!) were added for aroma and we ended the boil with liquid gold running through our heat exchanger.

Lovely malty, sticky, sugary beer (nearly!)

Lovely malty, sticky, sugary beer (nearly!)

Hops by the Kilo - yay!

Hops by the Kilo – Yay!

Oh, the heat exchanger, that’s a story in its own right… we weren’t able to get the cold store sealed and sorted in time, so the heat exchanger was running off mains, basically meaning the exchange took hours (definitely to be fixed soon!).

So with sore backs, heads and fingers, we had done it. Our first batch of Pale Ale in scale was tucked away in FV1 and left to do its fermenting thing. What a brilliant way to spend your days, and we are incredibly excited about doing it all again tomorrow with our Amber ale, “Fusilier”.

Yeast action shot

Yeast action shot

Foam party at Hop Stuff Brewery!

Foam party at Hop Stuff Brewery!

Thanks for reading team.

James

Installation

Oh hi there, long time no speak…

We’ve been pretty flat out down here in the wonderful Royal Arsenal Woolwich, unfortunately, our blog has somewhat suffered because of this. For this, I can only apologise.

So what has been keeping us busy? Well, after delays with the vessel dishes, the haulage, the flue and the gas supply, we’ve finally managed to install a brewery into Unit 7, Gunnery Terrace.

As mentioned, the process wasn’t easy – It was only when I was stood, tapping my foot and waiting for a phone call to give me an update on the build of our brewery that I found out quite how many steps there are in the construct of each one of our vessels. Anyway, as is the way, a 1 week delay with our dishes caused a knock on effect which threw out our schedule by a week, and this was just the start. Next up was the Delivery, the process was a load of “Pollocks”, as our original haulage company managed to completely c*ck up the delivery after there truck broke down somewhere in the depths of Scotland.  Finally, the Gas… Oh the fun and games we had with the Gas, “your pipe isn’t long enough” (insert innuendo here!), “your piping isn’t thick enough” (repeat innuendo 1) – being a commercially qualified gas man is clearly where the money is!

Taking out a portion of the mezz floor to make room for the FVs

Taking out a portion of the mezz floor to make room for the FVs

Jackhammer action!

Jackhammer action!

The tanks finally arrive thanks to AMS Freight

The tanks finally arrive thanks to AMS Freight

But, enough of the hiccups, that’s for over a beer one day, we’re here to update you all on the fantastic progress we’ve made with your business (if you invested on Crowdcube), your local brewery (if you live in Woolwich, The Royal Borough of Greenwich, or the surrounding area), or, for everyone else, the new and exciting brewery in London!

The install went very well once the kit was here; we had some (slight) height issues, however soon got all the kit in and into place. The next couple of days passed by in a blur of male grunting, sweating, swearing & drinking as John (from Oban Ales) and the team cracked on with the install.

There are, as with every brewery, some slight quirks to our setup and process. For example, we run from left to right, Copper (Kettle), HLT (Hot Liquor Tank), MT (Mash Tun), Fermentation Vessels (FV’s), whereas most breweries would go HLT, MT, Copper, FV’s. But that is part of the charm of our unit, and the fact the walls are listed (so we had to work with the building, which I think is a nice thing to do).

Moving into place....they are as heavy as they look!

Moving into place….they are as heavy as they look!

CLT & cool store starting to take shape

CLT & cool store starting to take shape

In amongst all this, we also found time for a sneaky rebrand. While we are incredibly fond on the logo we used to launch, a company called BrandMe offered to help us come up with something a little more “polished” for our launch, which also contains a great reference to our location. What do you think?

Hop Stuff Logo (Blue)

So anyway, there we go, we have a brewery. The next blog update is for our first brew, which I’m sure will provide much entertainment and hilarity.

Ready to brew...

Ready to brew…

Thanks for reading!

Finally…. lets talk beer!

Hi hop heads, beer lovers, business fans & SE London people,

Since we smashed our Crowdcube fund raise, we’ve been toiling away in the background (see “Why so Quiet?” for what we were planning). The lease negotiations on the property are going well, solicitors and doing “solicitor’y” type things and the equipment is ordered.

The Right Stuff - Greenwich Visitor

With the money in the bank, we’re reaching a point where we can actually start talking about the brewery, the beer and the business (I appreciate financials and business plans aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (or, pint if you will)).

So, what are we doing? Well, loads of people have asked us when we’re opening the brewery up for people to come and see, come for a tasting, what Hop Stuff will be doing, and when we will be doing it. We therefore decided that a great thing to do would be to run a Kickstarter campaign to capture this demand and help our beer development, giving people goodies and access to the brewery through tours, brewdays and even a private dinner in the brewery.

Hop Stuff Kickstarter Campaign

But what about the beer I hear you all asking? – Well, Renegade IPA is coming on nicely, we’re happy with the flavour & ready to scale on our 10 bbl system (1630 litres of gloriously strong, hoppy IPA).

We are currently working on a toned down pale ale which will carry equally hoppy flavours, but this beer is a lower ABV session ale: it’s a long Saturday with your mates watching the rugby, it’s a couple / requests very welcome!

Next up, caramalt flavoured deliciousness – This is a beer I’ve had in my head for a while, we’ve been working with our consultant to enhance what we think is going to become an autumn / winter favourite with all.

And finally, something we’re really excited about; a special edition Gunners Porter to celebrate our location on the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich; a c. 7.5% ABV London Porter to challenge the finest London currently has to offer.

We’ve also got some sneaky ideas we’re keeping up our sleeves for now as we concentrate on getting great beer from Hop Stuff Brewery out to local pubs and bars, then we can start to funk it up. I was having a beer with a bar manager & head of purchasing for The Draft House pub chain, who was interested in coming down to the brewery to do a collaboration brew which would be really exciting – Question is, what will those pub masters & Hop Stuff Brewery come up with?

When is all this going to happen? Well, the building is soon to be ours, the brewery equipment is due on the 20th Sept, and we ought to have beer by the start of October as promised! 🙂

So, stay thirsty, keep watching out locally, check out Kickstarter for your opportunity to beat everyone else to Hop Stuff stuff & lets get some fantastic beer for you all to enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Why so quiet?

Hi all,

Ok, firstly my apologies for the silence recently, it’ll soon become apparent as to why we’ve been so quiet, but basically, we’ve been really busy starting a brewery!!

I’m also aware I haven’t even thanked everyone for their fantastic efforts during funding; we did it! In fact, we overdid it. Having been creeping up from about £30,000 to £40,000 over the past couple of weeks, the final £10,000 flew. We woke up last Saturday morning to voicemails, messages, emails and tweets asking how everyone else could get involved after people were caught out by the speed. So, we decided to overfund, offering an additional 5% of the business, so even more people could be a part of our dream brewery! – The extra 5% went in less than 12 hrs. In fact, I took my motorcycle up to see my Sister in Norwich, by the time i got home, it was finished – We were amazed. So thank you all!

We ended up with 70 beer / business loving investors, and an amazing £58,300 raised.

So, what have we been doing since, and why have we been so bad at blogging? Now the technicals take over, and we’ve been incredibly busy sorting out equity splits, legal documentation (articles of association, etc), and also negotiating the lease on the building we want… And i’m pleased to report it’s all going brilliantly; we’ve submitted our signed docs to crowdcube’s recommended lawyers and an Email should be out to those who have pledged early next week! 🙂

Next steps (and apologies for those who haven’t invested, missed out), all investors will receive articles of association over Email, we will then be collecting pledges, and that should allow us to sign the lease on the site! We’ve spoken to several suppliers about the equipment, and are working with a consultant to get the best price on all we need.

So…, that’s it, what we’ve been doing (and so excited and happy to be doing it!).

Oh, i didn’t mention:

http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/lifestyle/london-culture/crowdfunding-project-of-the-moment-londons-hop-stuff-brewery/5923.article

and keep your eyes out for us on:

http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/

And this had just been released:

http://www.ukbusinessangelsassociation.org.uk/news/hop-stuff-brewery-uses-crowdfunding-to-satisfy-its-thirst-funding

and finally…, one more BIGGY that i can’t tell you about yet, but our story might be popping up somewhere else soon!

Enjoy the beautiful British weather, a cool beer or two and have fun! – Now, because of your fantastic support there is a very real chance that the next summer, you’ll be cooling down with a chilled bottle of Renegade IPA. 🙂

James.

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Greenwich Visitor and Hop Stuff

Hi all,

Momentum and interest in Hop Stuff continues to grow. The reception / investment we’ve had to date has been fantastic and i’m pleased to report we’re 73% funded in only 22 days!
On Monday, the Greenwich Visitor, a local newspaper, distributed to over 40,000 readers every month featured Hop Stuff on their front page, encouraging even more interest in the brewery!
If you want to have a look at the article, have a look at the online paper:

http://thegreenwichvisitor.com/

Or, check out the photos!

Thanks,

James

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Crowdcube / Sweden / Leatherbritches & most importantly, great beer!

Evening all,

I hope this finds you all well, and slightly lobster red with the English summer sun having been out all weekend!

We realised it had been a week or so single our last update, and that’s just not fair! So, what have we been doing?

Crowdcube: We’re 54% funded, with 48 fantastic beer loving investors! 😀 Happy days! We’re absolutely loving the questions people are asking and how much people are getting behind Hop Stuff!

Crowdcube Sweden: We’ve been asked by Crowdcube Sweden if we would like to list on their website as well, because the beer loving Sweds also love Hop Stuff!

What have we been up to? This weekend, we popped to the countryside, where we trialled some of our fine Renegade IPA…and…they loved it!! We had loads of people coming back for more, and our little beer fridge was soon decimated!

We also went over to the Leatherbritches Brewery, hiding away at the back of The Tap House pub in a sleepy Leicestershire village! Leatherbritches i a fantastic traditional ale producer, having won a series of awards, and distribute to 40 pubs in the local area as well as a number of Co-Op stores and other retail outlets. I spent a few hours chatting to Ed, the owner, all about his business, the strategy, and most importantly, sampling a few of his award winning beers!

So, in summary, life is good, Hop Stuff is great, and Crowdcube is going great guns! Keep pledging, make sure you’re a part of it, because at the rate we’re going, we won’t be funding for long! 😀

http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/hop-stuff-brewery-ltd-12720

Thanks,

JamesImageImage

SEIS Assurance & Bottles around the Arsenal

Hi all,

So, great news yesterday, we got our SEIS assurance note from HMRC. That means that any investment in our new company is eligible for a 50% government tax relief.

Away from business, we’ve been touring the arsenal with bottles of Renegade, snapping cheeky pictures in various places, more of this to come! Have a look and see if you recognise where they were taken…

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Thanks,

Have a great weekend.

James

Brilliant day!!

Evening all,

Today’s been another fantastic day!! We’ve raised over £7,000 via crowdcube in a single day and we’re close to 20% funded, after a mere 48 hrs. Fair to say this is fantastic – crowdcube were so impressed with our early growth that they featured us on their home page!!

We still need more, and we need your support!! Crowdcube have funding forecast for 12 days, lets try and smash that?!

http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/hop-stuff-brewery-ltd-12720

Oh, hatch’s brew, inspired by the great John hatch, was bottled earlier this evening… We think its good, no, we think its great, but the fantastic thing about bottle conditioning, is that we’re committed for at least another 2 weeks before we know just how good!!

Sweet hoppy dreams everyone,

James.