Wow, well that went quick. Almost 12 months, some 20.000 Litres of beer and various iterations of lockdown later we’ve arrived in 2022 and it’s time for a very quick breath and the year’s first check-in on the blog. The Baby Goat blog started last year with excellent spirit, but we let it slip too quickly. One of the promises we made to you (and ourselves) was that we wanted to be transparent with our plans for The Baby Goat if nothing else to keep ourselves honest and accountable to the objectives we communicate externally. So, new year’s resolution 1, the blog is back, and it’s here to stay.
What better then, than kicking off the year with a quick look back and grading of our efforts in 2021, and a look forward to the exciting things in 2022 and beyond. In 2021, we laid out the following Objectives (here):
Let’s take a critical look at how we did against those, and where we’re going in 2022.
1. Brew more Beer(s)
Our Grade 7/10.
Well, we certainly brewed more beer, both in volume and variety (14 to be exact), which can only be a good thing. We fairly consistently kept our ‘core beers’ on tap and we were excited to add seasonal & specials to our schedule, including our Baby Baby Goat Goat DIPA, our anniversary beer the ‘One’ Amber Ale, our ‘Baby Goat Bock’ in winter, single-keg batches of a Quadrupel (By The Horns) and Imperial Stout (OMG), plus two additions at the end of the year: ‘I Goat You Babe’ Belgian Blonde and the ‘Goatdigga’ Golden Ale, both of which are real tasty and look set to be mainstays on the tap list. So, generally a tick against this one!
There were naturally plenty of challenges. Consumption in the pub exceeded expectations, which although in principle a good thing explains the use of ‘fairly’ consistently having our core beers on tap. Managing the brew schedule has been one of the critical learnings for us as brewers. Outages, however short, can be as frustrating for pub and distribution customers as they are for us. Likewise, small variations, even between Kegs, is something which is perhaps excusable in a small scale operation but won’t cut it for long and we’ve focussed a lot of time and energy on driving consistency and brewing better; be that in treating the yeast better, optimising processes, or filling and storing more attentively. We’re now working with two further, amazing partner breweries in Holland which has been both fun and necessary to meet our and our customers’ demands. And hugely exciting has been the launch of our three IPAs in cans, something that we teased you with in March 2021 and were brewed by the end of 2021.
Did we challenge ourselves with our beers? We probably could have challenged ourselves more…the Double IPA, Quadrupel and Imperial Stout got great feedback and will stay in our assortment, but there remains a feeling of wanting to push some more boundaries in future styles. That is, however, set against our ethos of brewing beers which you can happily drink a few of, ideally in a pub somewhere. So, despite wanting to exercise some brewing freedom we should focus on drinkability. Are we challenging our industry enough? We say yes. You don’t find many Ales around Hamburg or indeed Germany, so we’ll continue to promote and champion those styles alongside the must-haves.
So, what about 2022? Well, the objective remains the same, perhaps just with a slight tweak:
2. Give GOATs new ways/places to find us.
Our Grade: 5/10.
Can and will do better! We have a vision of growing Pub Culture in Hamburg (and beyond) through our concept of craft beer tapped in modern pubs. Pubs (plural) are central to that vision, so we really measure ourselves here by growing a network of Pubs. We didn’t quite get a second Pub across the line in 2021. We tried. Hard. There were numerous near-starters, various verbal agreements, several collapses of said verbal agreements, plenty of excitements, and plenty of subsequent lows. Some of you will no doubt have heard us talk about promising opportunities which never materialised. There were numerous learnings, not all of them fun, but we keep moving and falling forward and critical is not to get excited about things until they’re written in stone. And even then, don’t be excited for long because then the work really starts. So, when we have another Pub, you’ll know about it. And we hope that’s soon. And as they say, 1 brings 2….
Where we are happy with progress for this objective is our start in the world of distribution. This started somewhat by accident, without proactively pursuing sales. We are extremely lucky to have a small number of customers where you can find our beer. Thank you to Fleetenkieker Irish Pub, Die Alte Druckerei, Mexico Straße & La Taqueria, Küchenfreunde Grindelhof, and Braustättchen Fischmarkt for being part of the journey with us. All fantastic concepts in their own rights so please do visit them (and try the beer) and we look forward to building on those partnerships. Oh, and if you’d rather have a night in, then you could just have some beers delivered in 10 minutes by Gorillas.
There’s still so much work to do in this space. The work in improving our brewing processes this year will be critical for us as we start the process of hitting the streets to share our beer around Hamburg and other parts of Germany. Hamburg has an incredible Gastronomy scene, and we believe everyone deserves great beer, which is why we’ll be shouting that message as loud as we can. Sales can be thankless, that we know. But it’s time to get our name out there and share our passion for great beer. If you or anyone you know are looking for a beer partner, then please do get in touch.
The objective for 2022 doesn’t change, then…
3. Strengthen and broaden our community.
Our Grade: 8/10.
Here’s where the most fun can be had…
First things first: We have a great team. That’s a cliché and is often a throwaway comment, but we really do. The building of the group has been the most enjoyable part of the year. That’s Barry, Ray, Dries & Dean as our fixed team. Anna, Henriette, Jenny, Hannah, Emil, Struan, Philipp & Peter as our Pub Stars. (You’ll probably have met them in the Pub). A huge thank you to them all for making the House such a welcoming place. And of course, thanks to numerous others who have helped here and there with small or big tasks. Too many to mention. But cheers to you all! If we want to hit our Objective for the year, this team will need to keep growing. Let us know if you or a friend might be keen to join the journey.
Sponsorship was a new and important development for us. We’re a proud sponsor of the Hamburg Rugby Club. They run a great operation, have an amazing membership base and we look forward to building the relationship together this year. We love the Hockey Family, and we are still working on a concrete basis of sponsorship for our clubs, but for now, post-match beers is a nice starting point.
Collaboration and partnership really are exciting and vast areas to explore. There are countless opportunities, not all of them equally easy or with a guarantee of reciprocated interest. This year has been an exercise of much ideation but choosing wisely where opportunities arise and then executing. The Hamburg Beer Week and Collaboration beer remain a fantastic initiative for the city. More collaboration brewing remains high on the ever-growing agenda for 2022, but there really is so much to discover here. We will push on and look forward to some exciting projects, but the aim is to, again, choose all those which fit best with our mission whilst not spreading ourselves too thin.
And then there’s you, our GOAT community, which is exciting to watch grow and develop. The first part of the year we really want to define that better – a GOAT really is any of our customers or followers, but it’s constantly reassuring to see the majority identifying with the concept and the Mission: bring people together through our beer and pub culture.
Most importantly for you, we will be giving you the chance to own part of The Baby Goat and what’s to come as part of a first Crowdfunding round. Look out for more information to come here very soon.
So, again, 2022 will be much of the same here. But rather than just grow we also want to deliver added value in some way. So, let’s just tweak that slightly:
Plenty to look forward to in 2022! Trying to summarise that in a blog post has proved harder than expected so it’s important to note that although those 3 Objectives are our central pillars, behind those we will also be setting ongoing, measurable results and tracking our business KPIs closely.
Please do let us know if you have any questions for us, or indeed any comments, feedback, or things that you would like to see from us which we perhaps haven’t even considered yet. We want The Baby Goat to be defined as much by our customers as it is by us and our Team.
As a final note, we want to thank you all for your continued interest and support. The last 12 months were exciting, and we will continue to push on and on, but it’s of course necessary to recognise the challenges that everyone has been through over a sustained period now, not isolated to gastronomy but society. Keep going, GOATs. Better times are coming. They’re just a pub trip or two away...
Stay healthy. Stay thirsty. And please do share, comment, or get in touch.
The Baby Goat.