The headline photo of this blog was taken from our hotel in Hong Kong where Annie and I stopped whilst en route to London back in December 2012. We had no idea at the time that it would be the first stop of many along the way to building a brewery.
When Annie and I decided to start Lost and Grounded Brewers in early 2015, we thought a lot about the type of company we wanted to create – even before we thought about the beers we would make, or the fact we were making a brewery. Those who know me would have heard me say a few times: we could have been planning a zipper factory or a button factory – what we planned to make didn’t necessarily matter at this point and, rather, our philosophies are what we wanted to get right.
After many evenings sitting at one of our local pubs in Islington it finally became clear in four simple words:
Humble and Inclusive should be quite self explanatory, but in a nutshell: everyone has something to offer, treat everyone how you would like to be treated, and just because you have done something amazing doesn’t make you better than anyone else (keep your feet on the ground while reaching for the stars – you know what I mean). It also means to treat people fairly, and joining up to the Living Wage Foundation is a small way to show our intention (mental note to self: need to finish filling out the form and send it back!). You can find out more about the Living Wage Foundation here: http://www.livingwage.org.uk/
Clever is about unexpected qualities, not necessarily taking the obvious choice and thinking about things in a different light. This is true whether it be artwork (who would have picked a flying hippo carrying the world?), beer, events or just about anything. I will say, though, that clever is certainly not about unnecessarily complicating or overthinking things.
Raw is about being open and honest. It can extend of course to the product and being open about processes, or even raw as in unfiltered. But really it is about honesty.
On the topic of raw, I’m sure we will eventually be asked about who is helping us build this brewery, and transparency is very important to us. Annie and I have put our life savings into this dream, but we knew we would need some help to get there in the end. We are really excited to have Made by HAND on board as one of our shareholders: these guys were four of the original founders of Little Creatures Brewing in Australia back in 2000, and to have them with us feels like our lives have come full circle. MBH, along with a few other good folk, are investing on a passive basis and are prepared to offer advice if we need it, but likewise equally happy to sit back, have a pint and watch things unfold.
Our ambition is to eventually have all employees as shareholders of the business, and all of our founding shareholders have agreed to this philosophy. For us this is inclusive at a fundamental level. This will for sure take a few years to implement as we need to get started and become somewhat profitable, but it is nice to start with the end in mind. For both Annie and I this was a key point to agree upon, and based on the fact all of our shareholders were keen to adopt this principle strengthened the feeling that we had the right people supporting us.
We have only just started this trip to making our brewery become a reality, and have already had our share of sleepless nights about relocating to a new town, on the other side of the world nonetheless, immigration, personal insecurities (can we actually do this, what if it all goes wrong?), financial worries and everything else in between. But in all honestly, it’s the most exciting time of our lives. We have on occasion looked at each other and said “who in the hell had this bright idea?”, undoubtably with more expletives… We’ve had terrific support from the UK and local Bristol beer communities, and we will most likely owe a lot of people a beer or ten by the time July comes. Annie is already planning the party!
Anyway, so in the future if we talk about humble, inclusive, clever and raw you will have an idea about where we are coming from.
Now that you have read this, go have a beer.