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Serious Brewing increase their sales with product innovation

With support from the Hub, Rochdale-based brewery has increased sales by 150% over one financial quarter.


 

 

 Serious Brewing are a small, independent microbrewery based in Rochdale; founded and managed by husband and wife Ken and Jenny Lynch.

Serious Brewing Company is a 6 barrel capacity brewery, producing a premium range of cask and bottled beers from traditional British Ales to those influenced by beers from the US and Belgium. Serious Brewing beers are available in local pubs and available to buy in bottles or minicasks through their online shop. The brewery was founded in 2015 and they have been supplying great beer ever since.

We caught up with Ken and Jenny to find out how we supported their increase in sales with product innovation...

 

A hobby, turned into a business, turned into a means of survival

With support from the Hub, Rochdale-based brewery has increased sales by 150% over one financial quarter. 

Brewing started as a hobby that got out of hand!

We originally followed in the footsteps of a friend of ours who had started home-brewing, with small homebrew kits. This quickly developed into trying out more ambitious full-grain recipes and before we knew it, we were returning from the pub at weekends and realising that our beer at home tasted just as good, if not better. 

Brewing offered an ideal career change and we became more serious about it as that prospect became a reality.

It was after a visit to Belgium for our holidays that the idea of brewing full-time really took off. We tried out lots of the Belgian beers made with specialist and wild yeasts which offer really complex flavours. This led to further experiments at home with different kinds of yeasts to influence the flavours of our own beers. We then wrote a business plan, joined a commercial brewing course and the rest is history... 

Our first beer, Goldrush, was a Belgian style pale ale. It’s 5.6% abv. and brewed with a Belgian yeast, using British hops for character and aroma. We followed this with our Blue Sky Saison, a nice frothy beer brewed with a champagne-like saison yeast. Then we brewed a rich stout with chocolate notes, which became our best-selling cask beer – Moonlight. That was voted beer of the event at the Oldham Beer Festival in 2016, soon followed by another public vote at the Rochdale Beer Festival. Ever since, our focus has been on creating small batch, high quality beers using experimental hops, carefully chosen yeasts and handcrafted malts.   

When we first started Serious Brewing in 2016, we had initial support from GC Business Growth Hub to help get the business off the ground. The team kindly directed us to available business grants and provided a comprehensive overview of what assistance was available. 

Since then, we built up a loyal client base and had been going from strength to strength.

Like most in our industry, however, we couldn’t have predicted what was to happen in 2020. Almost overnight we were forced into a survive (rather than thrive) mode. The support we’ve since received from the Hub’s digital innovation team has been critical to our survival.   

 

 

We’ve seen a complete shift by adopting social and digital strategies

I was a newbie to social media and digital innovation before the pandemic. The Hub team helped by reviewing our digital presence and social media channels and they’ve provided support on how to best manage these channels to drive more traffic and convert sales through the website. 

Areas such as Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts and scheduling social posts; I’d had little knowledge of these prior to the pandemic and the Hub have supported us making improvement in these areas via a series of workshops that have covered Google AdWords, PPC and Intermediate Digital Marketing. 

Because of this support, we’ve been able to set up and start a PPC campaign on Facebook which has been a huge success and has seen a positive shift for our sales and growth. 

 

New products and improved online sales 

The digital innovation support we’ve received at Serious Brewing has shown great results with the acquisition of a large number of new online customers leading to a doubling of turnover on our online shop in just one financial quarter.

Further support on our overall digital strategy and USP has helped us to introduce gift cards on our website, as well as new products such as a new lager which has proved popular with customers and helped to expand our client base.

We’re continuing to improve our current website and SEO to increase organic traffic.

Email marketing has been expanded with the new capability for customers to sign up for a newsletter. This provides additional data and another mechanism for customer retention.

 

Our customer base has changed and pubs understandably remain cautious  

Since pubs and venues started reopening their doors again from May 2021, they’ve been understandably cautious about their buying quantities, and many are thinking only short to medium-term with regards to future planning.

Many pubs had to throw lots of their stock away when the pandemic first hit and those that were able to reopen in between lockdowns have had much less capacity for customers up until recently; and now face many new challenges. A few places that we relied on for business have sadly closed over the last 18 months, but then some new venues have opened too.

While it still feels like the hospitality industry is on a knife edge, we’re counting our blessings that we were able to pivot our business model during the pandemic. We were lucky to gain new customers during the lockdown periods and we’ve started picking up with our former client base since reopening. 

 

If you’re an SME in Greater Manchester that has the ambition, capacity and drive to grow, the Hub’s specialist Digital Innovation Advisors are here for you. They’ll help you identify the key things needed to become innovative and guide you on your own journey. 

Enquire and Grow

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