Craft beer inspires startup success for Hackney Brewery

6 years ago

Wanting to turn a hobby or interest you’re passionate about into a business is the starting point for many entrepreneurs.

But the pub is no longer just the setting for career change discussions, it’s increasingly also the inspiration.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) recently highlighted that there are now 1,000 breweries in the UK – the highest figure for 70 years. But more tellingly, 158 new breweries had opened in the past year alone, the highest number of new openings ever recorded!

One of the new wave of micro-breweries is Sage One customer Hackney Brewery.

In the eye of the beer-holder

Having been craft brewing on a small scale for a good few years, Jon Swain and Peter Hills set-up Hackney Brewery in East London in July 2011 to turn their passion for good beer into a business.

“We’d been working together in a number of pubs in the area, and our initial plan was to take on our own pub. But when the right pub didn’t come up we started exploring the brewery option,” explained Peter.

Like any good would-be business owners the duo did extensive market research and product testing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, between family and friends Jon and Peter very quickly established a strong network of volunteers and advocates to sample their beers who unanimously supported the career move.

Following the extensive testing the brewery is focusing on three distinct styles initially that will appeal to most palettes: a traditional Best Bitter, a Golden Ale that is light and refreshing and an American Pale Ale that is highly hopped with a rich malt base.

The Pursuit of Hoppyness

For Peter, the explosion in popularity for specialist ales in the UK is a natural progression of what’s happened with food.

“Over the past decade in cooking there has been a real shift amongst consumers who want to source good quality local produce when they eat, rather than mass produced items where it is harder to maintain the quality.

“We’re now seeing the same shift with ale and people have become more discerning.”

After the best part of a year setting the brewery up the team are now up and running with beers going out to Hackney, London and beyond.

The labour-intensive nature of the brewing process means the pair spend long days at the brewery, and so the accessibility and support that comes with Sage One is a significant benefit.

“For me a major perk of using Sage One Accounts is that I can access and manage my finances from anywhere. When I’m not in the brewer I want to be with my family, so the fact that I can head home and take care of the business’ finances in the evening over the internet is a real coup,” commented Peter.

“I love finances when they are in the black, but my passion is ale. We chose Sage One because it uses simple language and makes managing the business’ accounts simple, and that’s something that is definitely worth raising a glass too!”


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