Crikey….we’ve been brewing beer in Wellingborough for a year now and celebrated in style at our 1st Birthday Bomberdrome Beer Bash on Saturday. Lots of beer (obviously), wonderful live music (clearly) and a bicycle Wall of Death (not quite so obviously you may think!). Lots and lots of things have changed in the intervening twelve months but one thing for me has been a huge shift. Anyone that knew me pre-HFB will know that I was a complete Luddite-style curmudgeon about all thinks ‘social media’. I thought that interacting with people you didn’t know, over t’interweb, must surely be the opposite of sociable and 12 months later I’m blogging about it!? Just to make my position as of today completely clear:
“I love social media!”
Two examples of why….
1. Hippy Jon
Jon is our pet hippy and we re-homed him after we found him sniffing around the bins round the back of twitter. In reality, of course, Jon found us through the incredible power of the internet and here’s how. At one of our brewery OPEN DAYS a charming chap came in tried all the beers, loved them and then light-heartedly berated us for using his surname for our brewery without his permission. Daniel Hart, no obvious relation, then tweeted about his delight at finding a decent local brewer who, by happy coincidence, shared his surname. His tweet was picked up by his cousin “oop north”, who in turn chatted to a friend in the US, this transatlantic link then landed back in Market Harborough and a mutual friend @hippy_jon. Jon then jumped on his magic carpet, drenched himself in patchouli, whispered some incantations and landed at the brewery with his wonderful mum. Not satisfied with this he then, in very unhippyesque style, bullied his local bottle shop into stocking our beers and we’ve been supplying the very excellent Duncan Murray Wines ever since. Through us Jon has now met Ron, a soon to be pro-brewer in the states, and they’ve already started swapping plans about how to build an awesome homebrew kit in Jon’s garage. Hurrah!
2. The Ministry of Bicycles
When it became clear that we weren’t going to end up a horrible government ‘start-up business staticstic’ and would at the very least see our first 12 months, our minds turned to our birthday party. We needed to make sure it was good balance between a genuine ‘thank you’, a right rollicking laugh and an opportunity to showcase what we do. Our plans started in January just as my new found love of social media was becoming a serious long-term affair and I was ready to make a commitment. That’s when we met the Ministry of Bicycles. They found us through St. Giles Cheese Shop in Northampton and started following us and then I sent what has proved to be our first archtweet, “do you guys fancy popping over and brewing some beer?”. The response was very positive to say the least so we arranged for me to visit one of their project nights at Bill’s shed. I turned up and found the guys, mostly armed with angle grinders and disembodied bike remains, and we talked beer! They told me about their magnum opus “The Bomberdrome”. Inspired by a video from the states of the Whiskeydrome (viewed on YouTube of course), they conspired to make their own Bicycle Wall of Death. What followed was a huge effort to design, fabricate and fund the project. Financing took the form of cloud-funding, no grovelling to a bank manager, no dodgy unsecured loans with their kidneys as collateral, but a social media frenzy allowing friends, family, colleagues and contacts to buy a beam of the wall and thus the Bomberdrome was born. This US-inspired / English-built project was the theme we used for the beer. The Bomberdrome Beer is a 4.6% US-style Amber Ale and a fully functioning hybrid beer. All English ingredients but using US “craft brewing” techniques and a West Coast strain of yeast. So fast forward to our birthday party and there we are serving our social-media-engineered beer, to our world wide web enabled customers, whilst the twitterati flashed around the Bomberdrome in the yard, up on the mezzanine our Facebook-savvy house band, Seven Foot Preacher, banged out classic rock numbers whilst the mobile-device-wielding audience uploaded photographs to enter our Instagram competition…….phew! Just to make our celebrations complete Hippy Jon came along and put into practice his most successful hash-tag yet #buythehippyapint!
It was a blast!