Year in the Life - December
There was a great milestone for Steven Smith and Michael Thompson, the entrepreneurs behind the re-launch of the Vaux Brewery brand, in November, with their first bar set up at the Sunderland AFC fan zone at the Beacon of Light.
This opportunity to meet their customers and sell Vaux beer directly to the public was a fantastic experience for them.
Steven commented: “This was a great start to our relationship with the Beacon of Light and the first of our 10 fixtures there.We had four beers on tap, Ernest, Alter Ego, Decent Days and Night and, of course, Roker Roar, where a percentage of the profit goes to support the Foundation of Light’s work.
This fan zone pop-up bar was also a chance to test the service level needed at a relatively quiet night-time match compared to busier Saturday fixture.The next test will be the Blackpool game on Saturday, 14 December and the guys are looking forward to it.
The Beacon of Light event also gave them a chance to try out their bespoke handmade, mobile bar, which will be used alongside their van in the New Year.They also plan to hire this out to people who want to use it for their own functions with a range of Vaux Brewery beers and guest beers on keg and cask to suit the particular event.
As well as this success, the second exciting news from the business is the potential for growth, with the launch of its online store, selling its beer brands around the country.
Steven said: “We have had an excellent response to the website.People seem to be buying beer for Christmas presents, with branded drinking glasses and other memorabilia, to make up hampers.This has really increased our sales.”
Steve also explained the future plans for the development of this craft beer business.
“We now need to get some premises so we can brew our own beer, rather than contracting it all out to other breweries.It also has to be in Sunderland, that is a given.We are 100% committed to producing our beer on Wearside.
“With our beer production we know our customers want variety and we also need to ensure what we produce is fresh.There is a sweet spot for us economically where we can make enough beer to sell for a profit but not too much that we can’t keep things interesting.”
Next month we will reveal the Vaux Brewery van and there’ll more news on how the search for a permanent base is shaping up.