The last 11 months have been disappointing to say the least, not just for Heist, but for every independent bar, brewery, restaurant, entertainment business, music venue and every other hospitality venue that has been affected by Covid-19 and/or let down by our government for one reason or another, rubbing salt into what feels like are constantly open wounds.
For the lucky ones who have managed to go full circle and survive nearly 12 months with crippling overheads, loan repayments, furloughed staff, dwindling grants and loans (Which we were all happy to take under the illusion that everything would be back to normal 'soon' and we'd all be better off) the roller coaster of emotions, constant changes to rules, regulations and guidance should have been enough to destroy any hope, aspirations, ambition and motivation that any of us had left. We have adjusted our ways of generating revenue. We have changed our business model repeatedly. We worked with other businesses within the industry to help both them and us. We have hosted, amended, postponed and cancelled planned activity( rightly so) to adhere to the ever changing guidelines, and when this wasn't enough we set up new revenue streams to ensure our business and brand remained relevant after 3 years of building.
But, at this turning point, we as a business remain massively optimistic, and are proud to stick our finger up not only to Covid-19 (metaphorically, we still adhere to the rules and regulations) but to the government for the sh*t show which has been the 2020 financial year. It also gives us real vocation to be part of an industry with like minded head strong, stubborn and determined individuals.
2020 was our most ambitious year to date:
We were setting up a new and bigger location in Sheffield and employing 15+ more staff.
We had a May/June opening date, with exciting events planned through the rest of the year and into 2021.
We had been invited to the most national and international beer festivals since we became a brewery.
We were asked to be part of a US breweries new locations.
Other national and international breweries were reaching out to us.
The year was looking immense and needless to say we were excited and buzzing to go.
The year had other plans . We closed our Clowne location and moved everything we could into storage. The roof came off our Sheffield location in March to be replaced the week of Lockdown and this didn't go back on until September. Luckily we had been offered space in Derbyshire Distillery to operate from and were working with some brewery friends on collaboration beers to help us try and stay relevant. The year went on, we accessed certain grants and took the CBILS loan in July which was supposed to help us complete our Sheffield move for later on that year, when originally our operating profit was supposed to do this. We continued to have huge support from our customers and industry friends through lockdown restrictions, but then eat out to help out was announced so understandably the sales started to decline, and we were not in a position to open or offer EOTHO. We were however able to host a small number of pop ups next to our new location in Sheffield across 3 weekends, and again the support shown was detrimental in helping us get through what could have otherwise been a difficult few months. We continued work on our new location, and what was supposed to be a positive, professional move with planned contractors for all the work, leaving us time to concentrate on growing the business, quickly changed, and we had to re-evaluate what works we could actually do ourselves to cut costs of the move and project build, but that's fine, we can now add certain skills to our CV's that weren't there previously, such as bricklayer, scaffold builder, industrial painter, shipping container renovator, drainage technicians and demolition man (unfortunately not the Wesley Snipes kind)
Although all this seems really positive that we have been able to adjust, adapt and overcome these many obstacles, we have not had a stable business turning over a constant or consistent revenue for nearly a year and yet we have still had to support previous staff (now moved on), repay previous loans, other overheads and monthly repayments as well as ensuring we pay ourselves a wage to be able to support ourselves and our families, albeit sporadicaly.
It is now January 2021, constant delays due to the state of the economy, planning and building delays as well as ongoing investment uncertainty, have caused a multitude of issues with planning and scheduling of the work needed to be carried out in Sheffield. But the north is strong and we have got to a point where the project has picked up momentum and, covid aside, it's looking likely we will be able to open late spring/early summer as and when it is safe to do so. However if we are still under Covid rule we have certainly had enough time to contemplate how we can operate both safely and within the guidelines. Our project is now over budget and underfunded and we have driven this down and pushed and pushed to keep this within our ongoing dwindling funds. We have compromised a new brewery to ensure the project completes and we can open something unique in Sheffield that will not only encourage travellers to the city but keep them coming back repeatedly.
So, just remember when you feel like you're St Mars, roaming the desert scared and alone, a northern monk lost in the Industry, an emperor hiking three hills, or a Kernel stranded on Pomona island, then raise the siren because there are other people who are willing to help and support you in whatever way they can, even if they are in the same boat. Even though we are uncertain as to the duration of these restrictions, rules and guidelines we are hopeful that there is a liquid light at the end of the tunnel, and the deya will come when we can start to get back on track as an industry. Until then we must stick together , stay strong, support ourselves and each other, physically, mentally and consistently.
Now read the whole thing again and see how many of our favourite UK breweries we've actually managed to slip in......There are many other breweries we love but you try getting Leviathan, Alpha Delta and Triple Point into a sentence.
We now call upon you to help support our project
How you can support us
A Donation in Support - £5, £10, £15, £20
If you can't reach us to receive any rewards but still wish to support us
Pay it forward - £35
In return you will receive exclusive Heist rewards
What you will get in return
A Donation in Support
Extreme gratification that you have helped a small business survive and grow, as well as a socially distanced metaphorical hug from Heist each time we see you knowing that you have supported our business.
Pay it Forward
Exclusive access to our new taproom - You will receive an invite to a private open evening before anyone else where you will enjoy:
- Flight of beer 4 x 1/3
- Food from our food vendor
Exclusives access - You will be the first to receive access to:
- Global beer trips - Each year we give 16 people the chance to visit a beery location with likeminded people to enjoy 2-3 days of regional taprooms and breweries as well as attending a planned brew day with one of the local breweries. Previous trips have been to Berlin (£120 for 2 days 1 night), Budapest (£190 for 2 days 2 nights) and Krakow (£195 2 days and 3 nights). All trips included flights, accommodation, transfers and beer tours
(Please note this is not free, it will include you paying for your own travel and accommodation at the reduced group rates.) You will receive early access for first refusal. Where names exceed the number these will be drawn at random
Beer clubs and events - You will receive first refusal and free access to beer tastings, brewery talks and Q&A's with other breweries that may otherwise require tickets (please note some events may require additional charges for additional items such as food)
Early access to TTO’s - You will receive access to all future TTO's by 1 hour to enjoy the beers before anyone else. Confirmed TTO's for 2021 with attendance from the brewers are, Mad Scientist and Roth beer (Hungary), Alpha Delta, Emperors and Three Hills (UK)
Guaranteed access to new can releases - You will receive an email before our mailing list with the chance to reserve our new can releases and collaborations before anyone else
Access to our home brew club - Each month we will be hosting a Home Brew Club which will see our own brewer along with brewers from other breweries hosting a Q&A session on a specific beer style, along with a tasting and the chance to access home brew equipment at a discount from local suppliers who will be in attendance also.
Access to our yearly brew day for all our supporters - you will be invited to our annual supporter brew day, come down, get involved, free pint of the beer brewed when its ready.
As well as all this you will receive a fancy card to keep which you can flash at the bar to get you access to all the above. You can also use this in place of an Oyster card, bus pass, train ticket, student card, platinum visa (Please note the card is not guaranteed to work for any of the aforementioned)
How will your support help us?
Your support will be massively appreciated in any way shape or form. You will be helping us complete essential works and purchase much needed equipment for both the bar and brewery completion ready for our opening. Any money left over will be used for brewing essentials, such as ingredients and kegs as well as the small batch research.
You will be contributing to the success of a local business and brand. The long term effect of your support will ensure you can enjoy our location for many years to come, as we grow and expand our position within Sheffield and within the industry.
We are a small business making small steps towards the bigger goal
"Beers you believe in"
Our brand encompasses our passions for music, sports, extreme sports and artistic expression.
We want to engage, inspire and educate not only our workforce but our customers, creating a loyal fan base who believe in and live the brand.
Our beers are made to be enjoyed in an open field listening to live music, at a football stadium with a pie, at the bottom of the ski slopes, in the back of a van travelling to your next gig or whilst you're just being passionately creative
You're not just investing in a business, you are investing in the eternal optimists behind it.