I always think it’s good to know who you’re dealing with. Building a relationship is important. I always want to meet the people we sell our beer too as much as possible to find out what’s important to them and to let them know what’s important to us. We’ve found over the years that we can sell our beer to anyone who wants it but we both have much more success with people who we like and who seem to like us, people who understand where we’re coming from. We’ve also realised there are an awful lot of nice people out there.
I guess the first part of building a relationship is to know a bit more about the people involved. Carlisle Brewing is quite simply Alain and I. We’re a husband and wife team and we’ve been together for the best part of 30 years. We’ve had our own freehouse since 2007 but before that Alain was a social worker and I was sales and marketing for an independent poetry publisher. We took the pub on as we wanted to run a business together, to stop working for someone else. We’ve done bar work before, had friends who’d had a pub. We knew it was really hard work, long hours, but thought it was worth a go! We were lucky enough to get our own place and although we did get into bed with one of the pubco’s to begin with, we managed to detangle ourselves from them after a few years.
When Alain & I met, I was a cider (or vodka, lime & lemonade) girl but he basically trained me to drink beer. So we’ve both had an interest in real ale for a long time. When we took the pub on, it only had one handpull and we managed to increase it to 2 quite quickly – we had a whale of a time with pretty much a permanent beer festival on the go – changing both handpulls rather than sticking to one permanent and one guest and it worked well for us. We got into the CAMRA Good Beer Guide straightaway and got the support of our local CAMRA group – we’ve been Pub of the Season 3 times and been runners up for Pub of the Year twice.
We took the plunge in 2013 to diversify and set up our micro brewery at the pub, expanding it in 2015. Alain loves making beer, developing new recipes and is definitely into quality control!! I get to use my sales and marketing skills a bit more which is great and I get to go out and about and meet new people.
It’s very much a labour of love and because it’s still just the two of us (and we still live and run and work in the pub) it definitely has its ups and downs.
So that’s us on the business side of things – and not wanting to make this sound like a Tinder post but we’re also really into music – everything from rock to punk to folk and blues, we have a couple of lurchers, Baz and Daisy (we’ve had lurchers since our early 20’s), we enjoy good food (especially cake) and we’re very proud of being Northern – I’m Carlisle born and bred and Alain’s from the North East.
Hopefully, that gives you a little insight into us – why not give me a call or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll pop out and see you – it’ll give me the chance to find out about you!