Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Rant Over, Now To Our Opening/Birthday!

Moving swiftly on......  On Saturday we had our new unit official opening and 3rd birthday celebrations!  Yay!  Had some great people turn up including our good friend Buster from Brecon Brewing and much merriment was had by all.

We had a couple of AMs (political types don't you know) and lots of lovely locals.  Nothing but good feedback for the new branding and the bar looked splendid!   Beers all went well, think First of the Summer Waen was narrowly the favourite on the day.

The Llager was also a big hit.  It will be on at The Royal Oak in Welshpool but they are having to wait for the next batch as we, well, sort of used it all before giving them any...  they are willing to wait though, and they'll have a super duper lager tap for it so's you can all spot it immediately on the bar. In the meantime they'll have to make do with having just our fabulous ales!

The band 'The Klezmonauts' were (were, was?  Who knows?  Who cares?), as ever, fab.  Great sunny day music, and they played all afternoon.  The kids all had fun, and so did we :)

Lastly, I feel I have to mention that Paul, who works for us made some fab bread from BB Stout spent yeast, and a veggie chilli.  I made a meat chilli which personally I think was better.  However, I have to take on board the views of our customers and I did get a lot of people coming in to tell me how fantastic the bread and veggie chilli was, and it did run out before mine.....

Hold on though, I was inside serving beer, Paul was outside serving the chilli and bread.....


Photos to follow :)

BT's Unholy Twattinesss

Those of you who follow me on twitter may be wondering why I have been so quiet on the blogging front lately... well, that would be down to the fact that every single minute of spare time, of which I have very little, has been taken up with trying to undo the incredible wrong doings of BT to enable me to actually get back to running my brewery!

On 2nd of May this year I turned up to the brewery to find my business phone and therefore internet was disconnected.  There began 2 weeks of no phone, hour upon hour of phone calls, going round and round in circles to actually try and find out why this had happened...

I so badly want to bore you with every minute detail of this total disaster as it unfolded,because it does make me feel a little better to rant about it, but I also know you probably don't want to know.  Needless to say, having realised their mistake, they set about trying to put it right, hastily, as if the 'Oh shit, we've ballsed this up' moment had hit.  But in total, I was without a business phone for 2 weeks and only I seemed to know what they had done wrong.

Shortly after re connection I received a bill for 'disconnection and re connection outside of contract' for £523. Upon phoning I spent yet more hours pointing out that I didn't owe them this money as they had disconnected in error.  'Oh yes Mrs Hayward, because it is our mistake, that bill will be cancelled immediately'  I asked 'is that a promise?' 'Yes'.  'You can plainly state and give me your word that this WILL be cancelled and that no payment will be expected?' 'Yes.'  

Approx 2 weeks later the full amount was debited by direct debit from my account, using a direct debit not even associated with my business phone, but my internet account.

Hours more spent on the phone and I am still awaiting the by now promised refund.  I was told it was processed on Friday, 3 - 5 working days, then told 2 weeks, then back to 3-7 days, and today 3/4 hour spent on the phone, armed with reference numbers that meant absolutely nothing to today's billing personnel, to be told I will have to wait for a call back from original staff member, as they could not trace any account with a refund pending....... At the end of my call the operator said, 'Have a really great day'  oh the irony.

I have shouted, screamed, hit my head hard on tables, broken a phone, and more recently cried.  I do however gain some pleasure from retweeting everyone else's issues with @BTBusiness, which did in the beginning prompt a phone call re my complaint immediately.  They have now taken to completely ignoring me.  Do I care? No, I have solicitor :)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Whilst waiting for electrics thought I'd discuss the 'C' word

Yes we are STILL waiting for an electrician. Having been promised and let down by two I'm starting again.... ho hum, at this rate I'll have no beers for the SIBA competition in May... but I digress, today's blog is on a more serious matter.

The 'C' word (I won't actually say it in case I lose some loyal followers) is a word that has changed over the years for me.  And I'm troubled.  When I was a teenager it was a word that I would never use.  Though I am a bit sweary at times, I used to detest the word and found it totally abhorrent. When I first met John back in 1988 it was rarely uttered and he took particular delight in watching my reaction if someone made the mistake of mentioning it in my presence...  but slowly, over the years it crept in to my vocabulary, but saved for the people/moments that produced the most serious anger and frustration in me (also inanimate objects) and thus providing me with the ultimate anger venting tool.

However, over the years this word has become more freely used and has lost its edge on the competition.  It subtly slipped its self into my vocabulary and has been used by myself, with pleasure, for many years. When emptying the mash tun for instance, it is the perfect choice for the shovel, as I catch it on my shin. Also readily used for the copper as I bang my head whilst emptying it of hops. In turn, this has meant I have no way of ridding myself of the pent up anger and irritation that idiotic people and situations seem destined to create, because it no longer has any real punch. In fact I use it in moments of minor irritation and sometimes almost absent mindedly.

Oddly, over the same said years, no word has ever leapt in to take its place.  It seems to have always been the king of the swear words, and as far as I can see there is no other in line for the throne, which makes my day a bitter and angry one at times, so please could I have some suggestions....... perhaps before I 'phone the next electrician? X  

Sunday, 29 January 2012

New Brewery Progress....

Well, everything is IN the brewery but not everything is in the RIGHT place!  After a tiring weekend moving everything over we had a week of painting and this weekend time to fork lift the hot and cold liquor tanks up on to the mezzanine.  We had already noticed that the mezz was larger than the drawings showed and that we would have to remove a strip light run to enable possible pallet manoeuvring. Strip light was removed though, and it became very evident that there was no way a pallet truck would have space to lift on to the higher level.   Hmmmm.... what to do?  Brewing delayed, orders postponed, me swearing a lot :)  'These things, blahdy blahdy blah....' Another week without brewing is going to set us back in a rather frightening way, but I'm hoping that all our customers will be understanding.  And as we all know, Every Cloud, dum de dum.... and in this case the shiny lining in question means that there will be no sales calls for me to do.  Hooray for oversize mezzanine floors :)
My lovely new office

View towards the offices

View FROM my office!

I have also found a new car.......... pictures to follow

Monday, 16 January 2012

Project Venus Brew Day number 4!

Another early start for me on Saturday as I was trekking off to the 4th Project Venus brew day at Prospect Brewery.  It was horrible and foggy most of the way so I was glad to get there in time for a strong cup of tea and a bacon sarnie :) Throughout the morning more and more brewsters arrived until we were up to around 15..... the most so far. We had 3 from Zero degrees and also Tracy from Molson Coors.   

Talking to Tracy about her experiences at Coors (and previously Robinsons) was fascinating and I could only imagine how different it must have seemed to her brewing in such a small brewery by comparison.  The Zero degrees girlies really enjoyed the whole process (including the beer drinking!) and learnt a lot about the use of whole hops as opposed to pellets, their brewing is done using a centrifugal thingamy jig.



At lunchtime we congregated in the brewery bar for homemade soup whilst Romy had to go and warm her feet up on the copper (it was a tad chilly).

Cold feet!

The bar is inside the brewery so that you can see what's going on whilst sitting on a bar stool or sofa, or indeed playing the piano (!) and supping a pint.  The bar opens up on Friday nights for people on their way home and does a roaring trade. The Friday before the brew day it was absolutely packed and you had to fight your way in the door!


The brew itself went swimmingly..... no there's no joke in that, there really were no disasters.... and we were finished by 5.00pm. We now await release day for the casks of Venus Gold, a lovely fresh golden hoppy session beer.

Patsy who owns Prospect Brewery is one of the nicest people I've ever met!  We've known each other a while now and her generosity and kindness knows no bounds! We all had such a great day and met so many lovely people and I can't wait for the next one which is going to be at Zero Degrees in Reading.  :)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Project Venus

Two posts in one day? Have I nothing better to do???  Yes, but I'm gearing up for brew day at the next Project Venus brew event at Prospect Brewery on Saturday. It'll be 4am start to get there at a reasonable time, but as my husband pointed out, he sets off at that time every Monday so I should stop complaining :) This time we have a Molson Coors Brewster coming in with us!  As you an imagine the jokes have been flying 'watch she doesn't put any pink colouring in' 'Oh, are you making lager this time?'  etc etc.  Luckily, said Brewster has a sense of humour and is looking forward to seeing what us small brewers are all about... she may find the hop aroma a little overpowering however.  Note to self, make sure face mask is available for her personal use,and that she is positioned near a window ;)

The First Post!

Well, here we go, my first foray in to the world of blogging.  Seeing as I like brewing and also like talking and key tapping a blog about me brewing seems the right thing to do!  

I thought I'd start now as we are on the verge of relocating the brewery to a larger place in Llanidloes.  Known as the town of ageing hippies by some, it is one of the most fabulous places I have ever been to, and the main reason for our move to this part of the world 6 years ago.  We'll be able to pop to the veggie cafe (its actual name is The Great Oak Cafe but it's veggie and it's a cafe!)  for our lunch and pop in to the pub after work.... life is indeed looking up! We will also have use of a fork lift which is going to make life a lot easier, especially as we will also have a lovely shiny metal mezzanine floor :)  
We also have a very nice little brick 'shed' on the side of the unit which will perfect for a bijou flatlet for Hemp the collie.  He will be able to accompany me to work every day now instead of staying at home in the porch where he can rip open bags full of ash from the fire waiting to be taken to the garden...... yes, a very big mess.

Over a period of time we will be building a bigger plant.  Not long after starting this brewing lark it dawned on me that in reality, it takes the same amount of time and effort whether you're brewing 18 casks worth or 60 casks worth of beer, and as we can't keep up with demand most of the time we clearly need bigger vessels.  All in good time dear....

Well, enough for today, sun is out so off to wash some casks !

Sue the Brew