Several months ago I visited a relatively new start company call Tweed Brewing Co. I had started following them on twitter as I liked their innovative approach to generating “buzz” for their range of craft beers. They had obviously decided that social media was going to be an integral part of the Tweed Brewing marketing plan (as it turned out it was Twitter that helped to generate the first order) and I liked the way they seemed willing to engage with and co-promote other Manchester based companies.
One of the owners at Tweed Brewing, Sam Ward, dropped me a line and asked if I would like to come down and take a look around their craft beer micro-brewery. To be fair I think they had me at beer but brewery was the clincher. The market for craft beers seems to have exploded in the last few years, especially in Manchester, so I was curious as to why they had decided to put their hat in the ring.
I spent a couple of hours with both Sam and head brewer Anthony and I was very impressed with the set up and obvious enthusiasm of everyone involved. They had a firm idea of how they were going to grow the business, building up a loyal customer base, generating good word of mouth. They would create their own niche, helped by Sams obvious ability to make new media work for what I had considered to be a fairly old fashioned industry. But as the Manchester social scene was changing and with the emergence of places like the Northern Quarter, it seemed a good time to connect with new customers who would like the cut of Tweeds jib (*although owning a brewery and having access to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seemed like an accident waiting to happen).
I tried several of the beers, including the Hopster and Winter Tweed. Anthony explained what flavours I should be tasting and I did my best to look like I deserved that level of care. They were Anthony’s babies so I could understand why he wanted me to get the full experience. To be honest some of that went over my head as all I could think of was “this is bloody lovely”. But thanks for trying to educate me Anthony.
Although, at the time, Sam was not able to bottle his beers in any real volume (and he wasn’t about to give me a cask) he did give me a few samples, no fancy labels, just the name of the beer written in black felt tip on the lid. I determined that I would sample the beers as I wrote the blog.
Sam was at a point where he was trying to establish the Tweed Brewing brand and get some of the signature beers out and about in the Manchester area. I was eager to write a blog about the visit and help to get the Tweed Brewing name out there too but after a few days consideration I decided to hold back on publishing the blog piece.
As Tweed was becoming more established it seemed that there was no shortage of people eager to get the message out there that this was a company to watch. More articles appeared online and in print and pretty soon it became clear that anything I wrote would just be a rehash of these. I liked the brand, the people and the setup. I loved the beers. I really wanted it to work out but as someone who has been involved in several new start companies over the years I knew the risks involved and realised that not every story had a happing ending. In fact some have an awful middle as well. I decided to hang fire and see where the Tweed Brewing story would go.
I could wax lyrical about the Tweed brand of craft beers and how, several months after my initial visit, they have gone from strength to strength. New beers, several notable collaborations and a fantastic new website. I’m not interested in giving a detailed review of the beer itself. I think it’s pretty obvious what I think and as much as there’s a place for that it’s not here. I’m not a craft beer expert, I just like a crafty pint.
As much as I’m impressed as to how far Tweed Brewing have grown in stature in a few months it’s really down to one thing. People like the beer that the Tweed Brewing Co are brewing. If they didn’t have the desire to bring great tasting, original beers to market then this company would of failed instead of flourished.
In reality I don’t think there will ever be a right time to capture the force of nature that is Tweed Brewing and to be honest I’m gasping for a drink.
(Opens dusty bottle of Hopster and drinks it). Cheers Sam and Anthony. It was worth the wait.
Fancy winning 96 bottles of craft beer from Tweed, delivered to your office on the day of your Christmas party? Tweed Brewing Co have teamed up with Fed up & Drunk (not the new name for the Chuckle Brothers but the great food and drinks blog) to give you that opportunity. Click here for more information. Good Luck.
* As of the time of writing this blog there have been no reports of any drunk Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts from the accounts of Tweed Brewing Co. Well done lads.