Welcome to 2021, GOATs! We hope everyone is healthy and enjoyed their January (dry or not) and we're excited to come to you with a new offering: our Baby Goat Blog.
We've been considering the starting of a Blog for some time now. A hectic first few months in The Baby Goat House and general uncertainty as to whether anyone would actually read a blog (especially one written by us) have been the primary barriers to its origin. Until now. While undoubtedly the luxury of unexpected downtime currently afforded to us has assisted, it is primarily a change in our attitude towards the value of blogs on the whole that has driven our audacious move into this space (seriously late to the party, we know!) and we look forward to using it as a regular channel of communication with you, our GOATs, in future.
Our aim here is simply to provide you with more access to The Baby Goat; more information on us, our team, our brand, our thinkings, doings, plans and objectives.
As with any business, there is, as one would hope, significantly more going on behind the scenes than the external image portrays, and here we will be sharing those unseen elements with you as best and candidly as we can. We hope it serves as a detailed log of our progress to all those interested and of course to our friends and family back in Holland, the UK, and elsewhere in and outside of Germany who has not yet had the opportunity to sip a Baby Goat in the comfort of our pub, and for now, rely on a curated social media feed for snapshots of our progress. We hope it provides some clarity on our actions and encourages discussion. We hope it offers opportunities to learn things, primarily about beer.
We want it to serve these purposes. Please feel free to comment or ask us anything that can assist us in doing so better. It's also worth noting that we certainly look forward to welcoming all those GOATs who have not yet been here in person at some point soon.
Anyway, enough there. In summary: Blogs are good. We hope this one is good. Read on if you'd like to. If you don't, no worries!
2020 was an extraordinary year for us and you. 12 months which started with our 2nd pop-up event, snowballed to the opening of our first pub, The Baby Goat House, in August, and ended with all of gastronomy, most of retail and numerous country borders temporarily closed.
On reflection, it’s amazing to think that we have made such progress in that time and context and we are hugely thankful to all those GOATs who made it possible through tireless work, support and beer drinking. Thank you all.
Naturally, the period of Lockdown since November has been and continues to be a challenging time for all, certainly for retail and gastronomy. We won't trivialise that topic by suggesting our situation is rosy, but we also won't pretend to be impacted nearly as much as many other businesses given our small and lean structure. We are aware of our fortune in that respect. Nonetheless ambitious for the coming year, despite the delayed start.
So, to our objectives for 2021. Summarised under 3 areas and expanded to what can fairly be described as a tangle of thoughts:
More Volume. More Styles.
We are a craft beer brand, delivering our beer through our own pubs. We believe in the concept of our pubs, and after a few months of operation at The Baby Goat House see a great opportunity to grow its reach and with it our beer volumes, as long as we give due attention to the marketing of the location.
We offered 7 beers - our core range - within our first two months and received valuable feedback on how to tweak (or leave) those. As craft brewers, we're excited by bringing you new and interesting beers and have used the time since December to plan and begin the brewing of extensions to our range. With any beer, we brew we want drinkability, but we also want to challenge our boundaries - there's a world of exciting beer out there and we want to test and find our boundaries when it comes to experimentation. We also wish to explore partnerships and collaboration amongst our peers. As ‘new guys’ on the Hamburg beer scene, we have some great brewers around us, and we will be initiating discussions on a few projects in the coming weeks.
We always have the option of trying something new; A DIPA and Special Helles are next up on our brew schedule. What beers would you like to see from us? No wrong answers…
Our pub is our primary channel for reaching our customers, and pubs will remain our focus this year. That's right, pubs plural. The Baby Goat House is small and intimate, in the heart of a strong community in Grindelhof, and we love it for that. But with its intimacy comes a compromise in capacity and to reach more GOATs we, therefore, plan to find and open a second pub by the middle of the year. We're looking for locations and areas which can provide a similar feeling to that which we happened across in Grindelhof, and fortunately, Hamburg is blessed with a number of great areas or 'Stadtteile'. Grindelhof will always be the home of The Baby Goat House, and we deliberately went with '…House' so that we could leave scope for further Baby Goats. What should the next one be? 'The Baby Goat…..'.
What about distribution? That is of course on our mind as a means of bringing more GOATs together. We are very close to launching an online shop which will allow us to ship our beer domestically and internationally. We don't expect huge volumes to begin with, but we are looking forward to testing the logistics systems (and we ask for your patience in the process!). At the same time, we have a few selected partnerships organised which will see our beer on show in some fantastic, local businesses as soon as the lockdown ends. We look forward to sharing those with you.
The pace of any further expansion into distribution will depend on ensuring we can optimise our bottle production and/or make the move to canned beers; a project we find compelling and overdue. The societal norm of the bottle in Germany is harder to ignore than elsewhere in Europe and there appears to be some educational work to do in overcoming a misperception of the negative environmental impact of cans. We will continue filling on bottles even when adding cans to the range. And then, of course, we would need to invest in a filling line at some expense - but one that we think is probably worth it.
Naturally, touchpoints with our GOATs aren’t limited to our physical products and there is a wealth of media channels at one's disposal to ply the unsuspecting browser with great 'content'. We are no different in our desire to stay in contact with you and are choosing this blog (in case you hadn't noticed yet), Newsletter and a video/Instagram TV channel to supplement our existing portfolio. Whist we won't apologise for wanting to tell you about things we're doing, we will promise to keep it curated and minimise your spam.
Boy, this part will be fun. I mentioned earlier that our 'lean' set-up has benefited us through the last few months. That is because our team only comprises us (Chris and Thomas) and our 3 Pub Stars working the bar with us - Peter, Anna & Struan. But we want and need more great people to join us on the journey. At the time of writing, we are interviewing for a Pub Legend to own the operation and running of the pub and free up some capacity elsewhere. Marketing and sales will imminently be areas of focus and the arrival of a second pub means another round of project management and a replication of a pub team there. Let's see where we end up with headcount at the end of the year. We are always interested in hearing from people interested in joining us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if that is the case.
As mentioned in connection with our beers, we see partnership and collaboration as a huge opportunity for the generation of ideas and productivity. To us, that was initially most obvious in the form of collaboration brews, an area in which we need to direct our attention and some brewing capacity, but there is naturally a much wider scope for such initiatives away from beer but embedded in our community. We have yet to explore those opportunities in Grindelhof but look forward to doing so - fellow Grindelhof-ers, please feel free to contact us should you wish to work together in some capacity!
We also can’t forget how important the hockey community here in Hamburg is to us. And as such we will be building/offering Sponsorship packages for the coming 2021/22 Season as a means of staying rooted in those circles.
And then, of course, there’s you, the GOATs, who we hope in some capacity identify with us and the brand, and who we value highly. Our mission remains ‘To bring people together through our beer’. That leaves room for interpretation, which intend to leverage with our activity and planning for the coming year. The sum of our efforts, we hope, is reaching a much wider audience, and delivering on our promises of good beer and a comfortable, welcoming environment in which to enjoy it – the company in which you enjoy it is firmly down to you.
So, there you have it: Our objectives for the year. We intend, by sharing these that we can then be held accountable to our promises at the end of the coming 12 months. Whilst there will inevitably be Blog updates on some of the specific topics in 2021, we are most excited by the prospect of seeing where we stand this time next year ahead of a 2022 outlook. It’s going to be a GOAT year.
Feel free to leave commentsor questions below.
In the meantime, stay healthy and see you soon, GOATs.