Pig & Porter

Ambition Increase staff and double turnover again in the next 12 months and then move into a new purpose built brewery

Working with Oxford Innovation Services through Growth Accelerator has seen us go from small hobby brewers to a growing, recognized brand in the South East and increasingly across the country, particularly in Manchester. It’s been hard work, made a lot easier by having a coach/mentor to talk us through those difficult decisions

A micro-brewery that just wants to make “tasty beer”

“Pig and Porter was conceived as a small scale craft ale brewing and event catering business, specializing in hog roasts, which evolved from our respective hobbies. The idea was to provide an event catering business for which we supplied our own beer. Sean Ayling brewed our first beer on New Year’s Eve 2012 and after that we were solidly booked through summer. In the Autumn we took an opportunity to upscale into a former brewery in Tunbridge Wells. We knew our beer was starting to generate real interest so chose to leave catering and focus solely on brewing great “Craft Beer”.
We shared our small brewery with another brewer for the first year, which limited our production to one brew a week. We weren’t making or selling enough to employ both Sean and I, so Sean stayed in his job, only brewing at the weekends while I sold and delivered, washed casks & helped in the brewery. Our beers became known and we were achieving repeat sales so we could dream about running a bigger, more professional business.
Many breweries never make it from start up to structured business. Although the craft ale market is expanding competition is fierce. We wanted to become recognized craft brewers countrywide with a clear brand and high quality, tasty beer. Our challenge was very much to build a business that was grown on solid foundations and capable of substantial growth but in a planned manner. As with many small businesses, finding time seemed impossible.

We were introduced to Oxford Innovation Services and the Growth Accelerator through David Martin, a business adviser who became our Growth Coach. David connected hands-on with the business, even turning up in the brewery one Saturday to help us brew, and his experience helped us develop our ideas and keep in touch with the pragmatic fundamentals of business. You need to create quality products, you need to find people to buy them from you and you need to manage the whole process for the benefit of all stakeholders. With David’s help we were able not only to develop our short and long term ideas, but also to recognise the steps we needed to take to reach each goal.David has helped us build progress in stages. Together we’ve created a realistic growth plan that has seen us secure the brewery site solely for ourselves, manage ourselves financially to have Sean working full time for the company and enable us to employ an assistant. Along the way we have created a good, solid distribution model which is working well and have totally rebranded Pig and Porter to rave reviews.
What the coaching offered us was time, focus and perspective. Without that we may never have never have converted our great product into a slick, high-functioning business.
With David’s help we have secured finance to expand our operation and increase our production by another 50%. The plan is to use this growth in sales & revenue to build a financial reserve and allow us to consider moving to a new purpose built brewery, and then into our own chain of micro pubs.