POST-SHAKEDOWN SHAKE-UP

BREWERY SHOP OPENING HOURS AND MONTHLY TAPROOM

Well that was fun! And after seven weeks of good times and good vibes at our Summer Shakedown events we want to keep things rolling. From October through until the end of the year we will be hosting a monthly brewery taproom on the first Saturday of each month. The opening hours will be the same as during the Shakedown (11am to 8pm) and there will be a street food offering every month.

But that’s not all! We are also tweaking our shop opening hours and from next month onwards will be open later on Fridays (midday to 6pm) and later in the day on Saturdays (11am to 4pm). This does mean the end of our Thursday shop hours, however, which have been up and down in terms of demand over the summer and especially quiet during the Shakedown weeks. Our feeling is that being open later on a Friday and on Saturday afternoon, rather than the morning as we have been, is a better fit for a lot of people, and we have had some feedback to support this idea.

On top of that, in recent months we have found it increasingly difficult to properly set-up the shop in time for Thursday openings. We have been running at close to capacity for a few months now and committing staff to two afternoons in the shop during the working week, as well as the time it takes to stock the fridge, clean the lines and clear the shop space, has become tricky to manage. We want to offer a quality experience to anyone who makes the trip to see us on Cae Bach and the new hours will help us to achieve that aim.

All our brewery events to date have been a way of gauging interest in a possible taproom offering at some point down the line, and the response to the Shakedown was more than we could have hoped for, especially given we stretched the events out over seven successive weekends. There is a way to go before we could realistically run a weekly taproom from the brewery, not least in terms of the space, but we have been invigorated, and exhausted, by the Shakedown and are determined to run with the concept in this new form. Thanks to everyone who came down to support us over the summer, and we’ll see you in October. Keep and eye on the usual channels for details soon.

Brewery Shop Opening Hours (from October 1)

Sunday to Thursday – CLOSED

Friday – 12pm to 6pm

Saturday – 11am to 4pm

WILD HORSE SUMMER SHAKEDOWN

We’re excited to be opening up a taproom at our brewery on Saturdays starting 21st July, for the whole summer!  We’ll have 11 craft beers on tap, serving our own brews as well as featuring some of the best breweries in UK.  We’re also dedicating one of our taps to a rotating craft keg cider.  To complement our top selection of craft beers and cider, we’ll also be serving locally produced artisan spirits and wines, as well as British craft sodas.  To keep you nourished we’re rotating a different food truck each week, serving up delicious street food.

No tickets required, but please register your interest on our events page on Facebook.

Please note that from 21st July to 1st September our Saturday brewery shop opening hours will be 11am to 8pm, for bottles to go and growler fills.

CALL OF THE WILD HORSE

As we thunder towards summer we are pleased to welcome Aled Lewis to Wild Horse. Born and raised in Llandudno Junction, Aled joins the team as our new delivery driver and warehouse operative. A regular in the pubs of Conwy, he found his way to craft beer through drinking more traditional ales, and it was the full-flavoured, hop-forward beers like Vocation’s Life & Death and our own Palomino Pale Ale that really grabbed his attention. A guitarist in local metal band Morvo, and with a background in conservation, Aled is well equipped for long days of heavy lifting out on the road.

2017 IN NUMBERS

2017 has been a great year for Wild Horse. We have added staff, significantly increased our production schedule and are continuing to grow and expand both in terms of sales, and within the walls of our unit in Cae Bach. This was our first full year brewing on the 10bbl brewhouse and since the summer we have had all four tanks – 60bbl of capacity – full almost all of the time, and have added a new bottling line to get the additional beer packaged. Things have moved quickly and we look set to carry that momentum through into the New Year. But before we dive headlong into 2018 it seems only right to reflect on what we have achieved this year, so here it is, our 2017 in numbers:

3 – new staff members – Ryan in production, Chris in sales and Séan in warehouse and deliveries
24 – different beers brewed including two lagers, a wheat beer, a milk stout and a Medieval inspired dark ale
71 – batches of beer brewed, including 18 double brews
6 – test brews, two of which were not up to scratch and dumped down the drain
1933 – kegs filled
99, 404 – bottles filled, 11, 520 of which shipped in our biggest single order to date back in April
30.5 – the hopping ratio in grams per litre of our hoppiest beer to date, Double IPA. 37kg made up of six different varieties of hops went into a nine barrel batch
9.1 – the percentage ABV of that Double IPA, which is also our strongest beer to date
22 – different hop varieties used
20 – kegs pre-sold, before packaging, of our New England IPA, a brewery record
13 – hours it takes to brew a double batch (two brews in the same day) and fill one of our 20bbl fermenters, this involves a 5am start time for the first brewer!
9 – types of grain used to brew Breakfast Cookies Milk Stout
7 – nights of events held at our brewery in Builder Street
5.45 – average percent ABV overall of the 21 beers we have packaged this year
3.3 – ABV of our lowest strength beer, Pop Up Pale Ale
1 – number of beers keg conditioned and served through a hand-pull

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, whether you are a trade customer, an occasional drinker or a hardened regular, we couldn’t have achieved all that without you. All the best for 2018 as we look forward to an exciting year ahead – Iechyd da!

NEW AUTOMATED BOTTLING LINE

Check out the video below of our new six-head automatic bottling and labelling machine.  Our Meheen M6 filler complete with in-line ELF labeler was built to order in the USA and supplied and installed by Yorkshire-based packaging solution specialists, Oasthouse Engineering.  The new system is capable of running at up to 30 bottles per minute allowing us to package more in an hour that we previously could in an entire day.

BREAKFAST COOKIES – WHAT’S IN THE NAME?

Following our recent recipe swap and collab with Iechyd Da Brewing Co quite a few people have been wondering what Breakfast Cookies are and how the beer got its name.  We asked Summer Lewis of Iechyd a Brewing Co how Breakfast Cookies came about and here is the story:

Everyone always asks how Breakfast Cookies got its name – well the story is kinda funny and revealing. When we were picking out floor tile for the pub, Chip’s mom was shopping with us. We were chit-chatting about what was on her dance card for the rest of the day. She said that her “breakfast cookies” were on sale, so she was running to the market. We thought she meant a new type of cereal bar or something nutritious, so we asked further. She said “Oh NO! It’s just pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough that I break apart and pop in the oven every morning!” We were shocked to find out that the mom who made you clean your plate now eats chocolate chip cookies every day for breakfast since Chip is grown and out of the house! We almost died laughing right there in the rows of tile. The name came first and we built a recipe to match that tastes like dipping a chocolate chip cookie into a cup of coffee. It was meant to be a one-off brew, but is now one of our most requested seasonal beers. Thanks, mom!

BREWERY SHOP CHANGES

BREWERY SHOP OPENING HOURS, DRAFT BEER AVAILABILITY AND GROWLER REFILLS

Our shop opening hours are changing. From the week commencing September 4, the brewery shop will open between midday and 4pm on Fridays. This is in addition to our existing hours of 12-6pm on Thursday afternoons and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. Although we have always tried to be around on Fridays it hasn’t always been possible. Since taking on some extra staff earlier in the year we now feel able to officially commit to being here on a Friday afternoon.

However, after some agonising, we have decided that draft beer will NOT be available at the brewery before the shop opens at midday on Thursdays. While we love receiving visitors, as a working brewery with a full production and packaging schedule it is not always possible to give customers the time we would like. In recent weeks, this has meant that, on a couple of occasions, we have failed to reach the high level of customer service we set ourselves. If someone is going to make the effort to visit our brewery to talk to us about, and sample, our beer, we want to do what we can to make their experience a positive one. Unfortunately, it is hard for us to do so if we are in the middle of an all-hands-to-the-pump bottling run or at a crucial stage of a brew.

Our brewery shop is important to us, not least because it allows us to get direct feedback from beer drinkers on the spot. Macro-brewers the world over would do anything for that level of customer interaction. However, the shop was never intended to be an open-all-hours element of the business. By only pouring beer during our shop opening hours – whether it is growler fills, samples or drinks over the bar – and committing resources to those set opening hours, we hope that no-one will ever leave the brewery feeling short-changed.

Brewery Shop Opening Hours (4 September 2017 onwards):
Thursday 12pm – 6pm
Friday 12pm – 4pm
Saturday 9am – 1pm

HEADY TIMES

If you’ve visited the brewery in recent weeks you’ll have seen us in a state of organised chaos. Having had a quiet start to 2017 – Dave and Emma even went on holiday for two weeks! – things quickly began to snowball and we have found ourselves constantly adapting to keep up with the growing interest in the brewery and our beer. The ongoing building work is the most visible sign of the changes, but there has been plenty going behind the scenes as well.

Back in February we sent out two pallets of beer (2, 688 bottles) to the online craft bottle shop HonestBrew, by some margin our biggest order to date. It was a great way to kick off the year and really tested our production and packaging capabilities, so we were thrilled when it shipped without any issues. Things stepped up significantly when, a week or so later, we received an email from the team over at beer box subscription business Beer52 asking if we were interested in appearing in an upcoming beer box that would go out to their 11, 500 subscribers. Viewed as a marketing opportunity alone it wasn’t an order we could turn down. However, at the time our daily packaging record sat at around 1, 500 bottles, so a fantastic opportunity to get our beer out to thousands of potential new customers also presented a few challenges.

Firstly, it simply wasn’t possible for us to package that amount of beer by hand in the time we had. It was a big order with a short delivery time and our dual filling head machine with in-line carbonation, with each bottle being capped individually by hand, simply wasn’t up to the job. Luckily, we were already buying empty bottles from Seimon at Mold-based Mobot mobile bottling and we decided to bring him and his Meheen M6 bottling machine in to help us get the job done. Seeing 1, 500 bottles an hour coming off the line – previously a full day’s work – certainly got us thinking and, as demand for our beer in small pack form continued to grow, and having worked with Seimon on a few more occasions since that mammoth order went out, we decided to take the plunge and order our own bottling line through Meheen’s UK distributors, Oasthouse Engineering. Our M6 should be up and running by the end of the summer.

But as great a job the new machine will do putting into the beer into bottles, it does not have an in-line carbonation capability. Carbonation is an area that has caused us some consistency issues in the past, as some of our trade customers will testify, and we have replaced over-carbonated kegs on a few occasions. A bit of reading and research encouraged us to try carbonating our beer naturally, using a spunding valve to cap the tank towards the end of fermentation. Our first attempt was on a batch of Dark Bay Porter back in April and we were chuffed with the results, the beer taking on a much smoother, more gentle carbonation. We believe it has made a vast improvement to the finished beer and now use the technique for all our beers, which again presented us with another challenge – how do you dry-hop beer that is already under pressure? The answer to that conundrum should be with us in a couple of weeks.

Having decided to completely change the way we package our beer we were suddenly faced with the issue of where to put it. We are currently running at around half our production capacity – selling around 11 barrels or roughly 3, 000 pints per week – but we have to empty a tank (we have two 10bbl capacity and 20bbl capacity) before we can brew again. That’s a lot of beer to store, whether in keg or bottle, so two weeks ago work started to double the size of our cold room by knocking through into our office. Eventually the office will go on the mezzanine level, as well as a staff room and small lab. For now we are working out of a 3m x 2m portacabin that is causing havoc with the traffic on Cae Bach. A new set of stairs have been put in while better storage solutions and, eventually, a remodelled shop and bar area are in the works.

To top it all off, next week we will be releasing the first in a new series of beers brewed using a Vermont ale yeast strain, meaning for the first time we are managing two yeast strains – WLP4000 and our house strain WLP090. Expect some bold, juicy flavours coming up.

2017 has been a big year for us already. On top of the changes to our process and the ongoing renovations at the brewery, our two newest members of staff have made a huge contribution, allowing us to, first, increase our production volume and, second, find like-minded outlets to sell the extra beer. We are growing as a team and as a business, and have learnt a huge amount in the last 12 months. Learning those lessons has helped us to make our beer even better and we hope to carry on learning and developing in pursuit of our ultimate aim, to brew the best beer we possibly can.

OUR NEW TEAM MEMBER

2017 continues at a gallop at Wild Horse HQ as we welcome our fifth member of staff to the team. We are thrilled to have Chris Holyfield joining us in the previously advertised sales role. Having worked in the public sector for a long time, beer enthusiast Chris found his calling after moving into the industry a couple of years ago.

“Beer has always been my drink.” says Chris, who points to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as his entry into craft beer. “I love everything about the beer industry. I love the branding of craft beer, I love the community and how people get together talk about beer, whether in a pub or through things like Instagram. I love that you can go and visit microbreweries and see how and where the beer is made. I get excited by it.”

Chris, from Llanrug, will be handling sales, deliveries and new accounts and brings a wealth of local knowledge and experience to the role having previously worked for Conwy Brewery.

WILD HORSE BREWERY POP UP – APRIL 2017

We’re excited to announce a series of Pop Up event nights at Wild Horse Brewing Co:
– Friday 14th April
– Saturday 15th April
– Friday 21st April
– Saturday 22nd April
– Friday 28th April
– Saturday 29th April

Fridays
– Doors from 6pm
– Open mic night (free pint for every act)
– 8 awesome craft beers on tap
– Rotating artisan food from local producers
– Free entrance

Saturdays
– Doors from 6pm, live music from 7pm
– 8 awesome craft beers on tap
– Rotating artisan food from local producers
– Top quality live musicians
– Entrance and first pint £5 (advance), £6 (on door)

Rotating local artisan street food from:
– 14th/15th Dylan’s
– 21st/22nd The Welsh Oven
– 28th/29th The Little Food Hut

Saturday night music line ups:
15th
– AP Cooper
The Scapegoats
The Darvells
22nd
– Dylan Glyn Griffiths
– The Storyville Mob
The Magpies
29th
The Bortowski Swing
– Lost Like Alice
Deckchair Protest

You can book Saturday night tickets in advance below:


Date:


We won’t send anything in the post – simply give your name at the door on the night.

Brewery location – Unit 4, Cae Bach, off Builder Street, Llandudno, LL30 1DR