Like all good ideas Pilot Brewery came to be over a few beers after a big day flying. A group of 10 pilots sinking a few cold ones...
Paul pipes up, "that's a lot of recycling to place at the gate on Monday, what are the neighbours going to think?"
Then Dan adds, "what we need is to buy one of those automatic brewing kits".
Now Dan's good with ideas, but tonight he's just not thinking. Why stop at 20 litres a fortnight? That's just not going to cut it. We need to think bigger. A few more beers and we're up to 50 litres a day. That night not only have we begun a brewery, we have already outgrown it and on to the second incarnation. Quite good for a night's work I'd say!
A company is formed the next day. We have learned from many such sessions that you need somebody to action the ideas of the night before quickly, before they become just that – great ideas from the night before. 10 shareholders and a quick whip-round raises the capital required. A modest contribution, just enough to get things started, but not too much that wives start to ask questions.
Dave (the brewer) has been reading up on brewing while we wait for the stainless steel to arrive. A book here, the internet there and before you know it Dave is talking technical terms the rest of us don't understand. What we do understand is the taste of a good drinkable beer. Dave delivers a few, but delivers many on the other end of the spectrum too. Keep practising Dave.
A while later, the good brews outnumber the bad. News begins to spread, but we have run out of cash. We hadn't budgeted on Dave being a slow learner. The solution... add more shareholders! No prospect of a return, but you have bragging rights that you own a brewery. The lesson learned from this point forward, is that many mouths refine the brew – some like it bitter, some like it smooth. We decide on the middle road, a good sessionable beer brewed with natural ingredients, with simple techniques.
Our brewery consists of a twenty foot container. A viewing window was cut to make things less claustrophobic. Now it's time to test the market. But first we need to break through the red tape. Wow! Who knew there was so much tape? Bureaucracy here and regional agendas there... Stoically we press forward and arrive with three commercial brews ready for market. We are continuing our plans to be able to invite all to sample a brew in our brewhouse, but for now try one, from a bottle or keg – we think you'll like Dave's work too.
We currently produce a modest 50,000 litres a year. That's too much for us to get though on a Friday night, so grab your brew and join us for the flight.