I was standing at the bar at Bolton Beer Festival having a chat with Matt from Rammy Craft. The subject had turned to the part of the process that we enjoy the most. Brewing is creative. You start with raw ingredients and try to turn them into something wonderful. It is a buzz and I can see how in the commercial world, it can easily get lost. What starts out as a passion could easily become humdrum as you produce the same beers month in and month out. The reason we love Rammy Craft so much is that there is always something new to try. It never gets dull.
It is important to us to keep hold of that thing that started us off. The thing that you go to bed thinking about and wake up thinking about. Keeping hold of where it began.
For me, it was watching the first series of River Cottage with Hugh Fernley Whittingstall. He had sold up and moved to the country to see if he could live off the fat of the land. I enjoyed everything about it. It was the episodes where he added value to his produce and sold them at farmers’ markets that lit the flame. I wanted a bit of that.
I started to visit local farmers’ markets and Hoghton Tower became a favourite. I dreamt of giving up the 9-5 and running my own stall. It was about a combination of local produce and the buzz of turning raw ingredients into money. I remember chatting to someone at work 12 or 13 years ago about my dream to run an artisan bread stall. I knew nothing about baking bread but I loved the bread we came home with and it seemed like a way in. Little did I realise at the time, that it would be beer that gave me the chance to grab a bit of the good life.
Fast forward over a decade and yesterday was Hoghton Tower market. We have been running our beer stall there now for close on 3 years of years. I spent the day chatting with the friends and regulars we have made about life in general and about our latest beer.
It is easy to forget the important things in life. This is the bit that I enjoy. I am living the dream. Standing on my own stall at Hoghton Tower as a local producer. Turing raw ingredients into something they will take home and enjoy and making a few bob along the way.
For other producers, the buzz is in building a brand. Taking one product, making it consistent and sending it far and wide. I get that too but it isn’t the same for me. Not at the moment anyway.
Dreams change and there may come a time when it loses its shine but what shouldn’t change is the excitement. The butterflies. Look for them and follow them. The humdrum is necessary but only if it allows you to fan the flames of that original excitement and keep it alive. Long may it continue.