So, not only does this week mark the 6th anniversary of Norfolk Brewhouse it also marks our 500th brew.
Bearing in mind that we now brew about 200 times a year, not only will we get to our 600th a bit quicker, but it is also a good reminder at what a journey it has been.
Casting my mind back to the first 2 years, when we were brewing just once or twice a week and having to hold down other jobs to pay for all of the shiny metal equipment in the brewery, I could be forgiven for thinking the dream was more of a nightmare.
However, that would be wrong to do, since despite all of the 70+ hour weeks, the lost weekends and holidays – the goal was always to build something successful – but small – which could bring pleasure to others.
Not for us was the brash, loud ‘look at me look at me approach’ – we always wanted to leave that to those younger and frankly noisier than us. In return most of them looked at us with a wry grin in full expectation we were on the road to nowhere.
But we never were – we had a clear road map – a simple idea of what we wanted Norfolk Brewhouse and Moon Gazer ale to be. And it’s not too complicated; for customers to enjoy our beer, for pubs and shops to want to sell it and to enjoy dealing with us, and to make friends along the way. But above all, within that we wanted to be respected not for how big or how successful we became – but just for how we go about things. That and to fly the flag for Norfolk.
So far, so good I think, but you are only ever as good as your last pint and the same effort will go into the next 500 brews that went into the first 500. Actually, it’s fair to say a lot more effort as in a classic schoolboy error on brew number one I actually missed out a load of hops!
The team remains small and dedicated and each member contributes in equal amounts – and that’s how we like it.
With that simple philosophy we have grown from 1 brew a week to 4 and the team has grown from 2 to 7, still small but certainly busier. We’ve also collected a nice shelf full of regional and national awards.
Along the way there have been some unforeseen plus points and friendships made; we love promoting Maris Otter as a Norfolk and global success story and we love the involvement we have with It’s on The Ball charity – both areas which allow us to put a little bit back into the community.
So, to all those just starting out on their own journey, all I can say is that when you’re stood under a gazebo on rainy Sunday with only a few cows for company, or knee deep in beer when your brewery pumps break, or driving 60 miles at 7pm on Christmas Eve to deliver a barrel of beer – keep the faith, if you want it bad enough you will get there.
Mind you, boy does it help if you have the backing of a Mrs Moon Gazer!
So, on to the next 500.