I brewed my first beer a year ago in my kitchen with a Brewdog Elvis Juice kit I bought online. I made mistakes that would no doubt horrify professional brewers but, with the exception of a bottle that exploded in Blue Van Man's wife's lap on the M1, it went surprisingly well.
My memory of home brewed beer comes from the kits your mates' dads bought from Boots in the 80s. I'd go to friends' houses and there would be a bucket in the corner full of fermenting beer. I didn't taste the output (being a child) but reviews were never great.
The original beer I made, Bin Day IPA, was good though. It tasted nothing like Elvis Juice, but was clean tasting and fresh. The first person to taste it, comedian Lloyd Griffith, even picked it over the Brewdog version in a taste test, and I was encouraged to brew more.
Luckily, it turns out beer people are absolute heroes and a guy I've never met called Simon, who runs Lauter Bottleshop in Falmouth, sent me an old tea urn and a converted cool box so I could brew on a larger scale.
Since then I've been trying to get better at brewing and attempting to design my own beer recipes, and it's been going pretty well. So well in fact that, along with my friend Mike, I've started this brewery, Bin Day Brewing Co.
So, why are we doing this and what do we want to achieve?
Since I've involved myself in the craft beer community I've been impressed by the collaborative element of it. It's one of the same things that attracted me to YouTube. People seem open to sharing information and working together. As an outsider it appears that, whilst there is of course competition between breweries, there's a general understanding that a rising tide lifts all ships, and that working together will help everyone grow.
We want to combine the collaborative nature of the craft beer and YouTube communities. Once things are established we'd look to invite YouTubers to brew with us, and design their ideal ale. We'd love it if in a year or two's time you could look on this website and buy cans of Max Fosh's pale ale, or Blue Van Man's stout.
This belief in collaboration extends to the wider community too. We want to be the brewery for those who watch YouTube as well as create it. We want to document everything as we go on this journey so people who are interested can follow along. Hopefully it will encourage some people who have ideas and dreams but don't know how to realise them to start down their path.
Eventually, if we get to the point where we need investment to build a physical brewery, we'd hope to open this up to the community, whether in the form of rewards-based or equity-based crowdfunding. We like the idea that the same people who watch the content and drink the beer could own part of the brewery and share in any success.
We also believe in sharing information. We'd like this to be the most transparent brewery (or perhaps business) on YouTube. There will of course be confidential things that can't be published, particularly when it relates to employees, customers and their privacy, but we'd like the default to be that we share things unless there's a valid reason not to.
There are three main reasons why I believe passionately in this. Firstly, and most basically, the content will be more interesting if we're honest and open. The more information we can share, the more value the viewers/readers/listeners will gain and the more engaged they'll be with Bin Day Brewing Co.
Secondly, I think showing how things are done removes a lot of the mystery around business and will encourage others to pursue their own projects. If people can see how we go from not knowing how to brew beer to building a business, they might be more inclined to start something.
Finally, by opening up what we're doing to a wider audience we'll have access to a huge pool of knowledge and experience, and be able to make better decisions as a result. I'd love it if we put out a video and people get in touch to offer alternative ideas and solutions. It'll lead to opportunities, new working relationships, and hopefully a better business.
Mike and I have had plenty of chats about what the purpose of the project is, and what type of business we'd like to create, and we're unanimous on one thing:
We want to build something that prioritises happiness.
Of course the business needs to be profitable. We need to cover costs, pay wages, provide investors with a return, and yes, ideally make enough money to fund my Fabergé egg habit. But it should never be at the expense of happiness.
Just to be very clear now - not for a second am I implying alcohol makes people happy. I've seen first-hand the problems heavy drinking can cause in friends and family, and know very well the responsibilities around alcohol production.
I'm talking about making business decisions based around prioritising happiness. Providing customers with an experience that leaves them feeling positive and respected. Treating any future employees well and paying them a fair wage they can live on. Making sure our professional relationships are considerate and collaborative. To sum up: making the kind of company that we're proud of.
This is a big project we're taking on and I have no doubt things will change. I expect I'll look back at this blog in the future and laugh at its naivety. But this is our plan for now and we're going to go into it with open minds and see what happens.
If the project excites you then there will be plenty of ways to get involved in the future. For now it would be great to know what interests you in what we're doing. Is it a desire to try Bin Day IPA when it's released? Is it learning about building a business? Let us know in the comments, and also let us know any questions you may have that we could answer in future blogs or videos.
Thanks for reading.