Lincoln Green Brewing Company
Lincoln Green Brewing Company Limited started trading in Hucknall, Nottingham in May 2012, taking its name from the colour of dyed woollen cloth associated with the legend of Robin Hood.
Anthony Hughes started the business following a long career in the retail industry, having experience with a broad range of fashion retailers and latterly working within the optical business for Dollond & Aitchison. Their merger with Boots Opticians led to redundancy and an opportunity to start afresh – always wanting to be an entrepreneur, but never having the means to be one, this was a chance to turn a long term hobby into a living.
Anthony followed in his father’s footsteps, starting brewing in his early twenties using malt extract kits. This led to full mash brewing and a keen interest in a wide variety of beer styles. Living within Nottinghamshire has been a great inspiration with Castle Rock brewery and pubs, together with the outstanding annual Robin Hood Beer Festival, all providing stimulation to create quality real ales.
The Brewlab ‘start up brewing’ course in August 2011 was an opportunity to decide whether or not it was worth the risk to step into the commercial world of brewing. The course provided a ‘warts’ (should that be ‘worts’?!) and all view of the industry and after the first day, it’s safe to say that Anthony felt that anyone would be mad to invest the sums of money required to set up a microbrewery. Further market research however indicated that the real ale section of the drinks industry was showing strong signs of growth, creating a very real business opportunity.
The marketing section of the course was particularly memorable, with Piero Alberici providing some clear examples of how to successfully promote a microbrewery. In a world where choice is abundant, strong branding, imagery and links to local community are all vital in ensuring that your product stands out from the crowd.
Whilst the outline of the business plan was already in place prior to attending Brewlab, the course provided many valuable sources of further information, helped clarify the legal requirements of a start-up brewery and gave an understanding of the complex world of excise duty.
The plan was finally in place by the end of October 2011 and remaining finances were secured by January 2012. Lincoln Green Brewing Company Limited is a 10bbl plant with capacity to brew 5,800 pints per week. Premises were secured in Hucknall, Nottingham, where Ashfield District Council provided further funding through their enterprise grant programme.
On-going consultancy from course tutor Michael Hitchen has provided much needed support and advice throughout the start-up and day to day operation of the business.
Lincoln Green Brewing Company produces a range of four core beers, all named with a respectful nod towards Nottinghamshire’s legendary hero: Hood (Best Bitter 4.2%), Marion (Pale Ale 3.8%), Scarlett (Amber Ale 4.8%) and Tuck (Porter 4.7%). Four seasonal brews will complement the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter months. One-off celebration beers are also scheduled to represent local and national events. Bottle conditioned versions of the core beers are being produced for local specialist suppliers, whilst contract bottling is being considered for a wider supermarket audience.
Under the banner of ‘Ales that become legends’, a series of full page advertisements have been published in the award winning CAMRA magazine ‘Nottingham Drinker’ and local awareness has been building steadily. In the first two months of trading, over 80 outlets and 10 beer festivals have been supplied, with many placing repeat orders.
Lincoln Green Brewing Company was inspired by a legendary hero and similarly we sincerely hope that our real ales will also find a place in the heart of the people of Nottinghamshire.