72 episodes

Hop Forward is a weekly podcast dedicated to the craft beer industry. Ranging from interviews, discussions and stories from a variety of brewers and entrepreneurs within the beer industry, to a variety of topics from founder and host - Nick Law - about starting, scaling and sustaining your own ventures, Hop Forward is here to help you get ahead with your beers, brand and business.

Hop Forward: Getting You Ahead in the Brewing and Beer Business Nick Law

    • Business
    • 5.0, 20 Ratings

Hop Forward is a weekly podcast dedicated to the craft beer industry. Ranging from interviews, discussions and stories from a variety of brewers and entrepreneurs within the beer industry, to a variety of topics from founder and host - Nick Law - about starting, scaling and sustaining your own ventures, Hop Forward is here to help you get ahead with your beers, brand and business.

    The Under Beer Belly of a #BrewersLife: Part 3 [Alcoholism in Brewing and Beer with former John Harvard's brewer, Mike Souza]

    The Under Beer Belly of a #BrewersLife: Part 3 [Alcoholism in Brewing and Beer with former John Harvard's brewer, Mike Souza]

    It's no secret that the hospitality industry, in places, has a problematic consumption of alcohol.

    Day for some are casually accompanied by beer from dawn till dusk, and excessive consumption of alcohol for those who work in brewing or hospitality is just one Imperial Stout away at the end of a long shift packaging or dispensing beer.

    But how does being around and working in beer and hospitality work when it comes to self-discipline and moderating your consumption?

    What’s an ‘appropriate’ level of weekly alcohol intake?

    Obviously, there are official medical guidelines issued, which you will find on packaged beer and - if you’re in the UK at drinkaware.co.uk - but also, without living in a totalitarian state, questions like these are up to each individual to answer for themselves.

    This is a subject that many brewers, bar-staff, and those in the business of beer sometimes shrug off. But deep down, we've all had darker moments when confronted by the reality that perhaps we are drinking too much.

    In today's episode of the Hop Forward Podcast - recorded during Dry January - I sat down with then-brewer for John Harvard's Brewery in Framingham MA, USA, Mike Souza, to have a frank and open conversation about alcoholism in the craft beer sector, and how some of the labels, which evoke powerful if somewhat negative images, are unhelpful when dealing with excessive consumption.

    If you are effected by today's episode and feel you need help, take a moment to visit The Drinks Trust; a charity that provides care and support to the people who form the drinks industry workforce.

    In light of our mindful drinking topic, today's brewery shoutouts go to two breweries who we believe are creating some of the best low-to-no ABV beers around:
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    BIG DROP BREWING COMPANY
    Founded In 2016, Big Drop was the world’s first company to focus entirely on brewing Alcohol-Free craft beer. It’s all 0.5% ABV and they are now selling over 1 million bottles annually worldwide.

    Big Drop has so far picked up 26 international beer awards, including twice being judged the ‘World’s Best’ at the World Beer Awards, winning Gold at the US Open Beer Championship and, the ‘Holy Grail’ of any non-alcoholic drink, winning medals against full-strength rivals in blind tastings.

    The Core Range (Lager, Stout, IPA and Pale Ale) are now available in 330ml cans as well as bottles but they are also about to launch (1st June) two Summer Specials in 440ml cans – Poolside DDH IPA and Kodama IPA.

    Check out their website www.bigdropbrew.com for more or you can go straight to their webstore by visiting https://shop.bigdropbrew.com where you can enjoy an exclusive 10% discount for our listeners by using the code HopForward10

    NIRVANA BREWING
    Nirvana Brewery was launched in 2017 by a family of beer lovers with a simple mission; to dedicate itself entirely to the creation of quality alcohol-free craft beers. Coming from a family of beer lovers, when founder Becky’s dad Jim went teetotal, she wanted ensure that he would carry on feeling included socially and see his face light up again when handed a bottle. Since then Nirvana has opened up a whole new world of great tasting alcohol free beer for a growing movement of folks that like to have a good time but keep their senses intact.

    From familiar styles of beer such as stout, IPA and pale ales, to experimental brews including the world’s first kombucha beer, our tried and tested recipes produce quality alcohol-free alternatives, ready to be appreciated by craft beer enthusiasts and casual beer drinkers alike!

    Made with 100% natural ingredients, our fantastic full-flavoured beers come with their own distinctive personalities and benefits. Enjoy them to your heart’s content without compromising your state of mind. Just goes to show that life – and beer – tastes better when you do things your wa

    • 55 min
    The Under Beer Belly of a #Brewers Life - Part 02: Well Being and Mental Health in the Brewhouse [with Mike McGuigan]

    The Under Beer Belly of a #Brewers Life - Part 02: Well Being and Mental Health in the Brewhouse [with Mike McGuigan]

    When I floated the idea of doing a mini-series exploring some of the underbelly of the beer industry back in January, I was flooded with private messages from brewers and bar staff sharing their personal stories, many of whom started with the prerequisite: ‘I'd like to share anonymously…!’

    It seems that discussing topics such as workplace treatment, remuneration for overtime, expectations from business owners, and general emotional and physical well-being seems to be something that we talk about in hushed tones.

    As I alluded to in last week’s into to The Under Beer Belly of a #BrewersLife, while these examples certainly don’t exist across the board, they present themselves under the cover of darkness.

    Beneath the veneer of an X Pro or Valencia filter, you will hear stories of low pay, long hours, feeling undervalued and excessive drinking.

    Allow me to emphasise, I know many brewery and bar owners who run companies that treat their employees with respect and due care, rewarding them with good pay, flexible working hours, the correct training and PPE, and token gestures such as growler Fridays or team pizzas.

    But there are examples of inexperienced people entering the industry and working for peanuts because they’re desperate to get their foot on the brewing professional ladder, working for £12K per annum as a head brewer, with minimum pensions contributions and not much else to show for the long, tireless hours.

    The moral of the story is simple - for both employer and employee alike: “do to other people as you would have them do unto you”.

    Having put this contentious topic out there, I was contacted by a fellow Brit and former brewing professional - now living in America - who was worked for numerous breweries, both large and small, to discuss some of the issues surrounding well being and mental health in the beer industry.

    Mike McGuigan, who was worked for various breweries throughout 20+ years, left the industry little over a year ago having had the last straw working for a small, startup American craft brewer.

    He shares his personal story and reflection on - what I consider to be - one of the main issues that the beer industry is not facing up to: how many of its workers - the heart and soul of many brewhouses (it’s operatives) - are not tenderly cared for.

    In this episode, we look at some of the mental and emotional impacts of working in brewing, the financial ramifications for many of its operatives, the two way support that needs to take place between employee and business owners alike, and the excessive drinking that can creep in just to keep a lid on it all.

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    This week’s brewery shoutout goes to our good friends at Lord's Brewing Co in Huddersfield. Get their latest Handbook Session IPA - Pride Before The Fall - and more great beers from their webshop www.lordsbrewing.com using the code #hopforward for £5 off your order.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    The Under Beer Belly of a #Brewers Life - Part 01: Sexism [with Jaega Wise and Lauren Harkness]

    The Under Beer Belly of a #Brewers Life - Part 01: Sexism [with Jaega Wise and Lauren Harkness]

    Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the lesser savoury part of the beer industry that are less obvious to most while searching through Instagram or discussing their favourite beers over Twitter.

    I am, of course, talking about The Under Beer Belly of a #BrewersLife.

    We’ll be taking a deep dive into topics such as mental health, well-being in the workplace, sexism, alcoholism and more as we re-imagine what the beer industry might look like post COVID-19.

    This week, we catch up with Wild Card Brewery’s Jaega Wise and Dent Brewery’s Lauran Hardkness at SIBA Beer X in March to talk about sexism within the beer industry and how marketing plays a big role in how women are perceived, not just in beer but throughout wider society.

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    This week’s brewery shoutouts go to our good friends at Neptune Brewery (www.neptunebrewery.com) and Heist Brew Co in Sheffield (www.heistbrewco.com). Make sure you check our their wonderful beers and order them online.

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    Follow us on social media hopforward.beer to find out how we can get you ahead in the brewing and beer business through branding, marketing, and business development.

    • 37 min
    What is the Deposit Return Scheme and Why Should Brewers Care? [Discussions from SIBA Beer X with Barry Watts, Ride Brew Co and Loch Leven Brewery]

    What is the Deposit Return Scheme and Why Should Brewers Care? [Discussions from SIBA Beer X with Barry Watts, Ride Brew Co and Loch Leven Brewery]

    What is the deposit return scheme? On this week's episode of the Hop Forward Podcast, recorded in March at Beer X, we discuss with SIBA Head of Public Affairs, Barry Watts, and Scottish brewers Ride Brew Co and Loch Leven Brewery about how the proposed Deposit Return Scheme will affect brewers from across the country.

    While the focus and emphasis for the industry and the wider world is fixed upon dealing with the COVID19 outbreak, a larger emergency is looming over the face of the earth: climate change.

    If action isn't taken, the global impacts of climate change will overshadow a health pandemic, dwarfing it in terms of impact and day-to-day living.

    The Deposit Return Scheme is one of the many ways in which the UK government seeks to encourage recycling on a wider scale. But who is truly impacted here? The consumer or the producer, that is liable for the additional cost and management of putting containers into the market?

    A complicated and confusing topic at best, we sit down over a few beers to try to unpick the scheme, let alone the implications!






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    BREWERY SHOUTOUTS
    Every week, we're giving brewery shoutouts and exclusive offers for our podcast listeners to some of the UK's best brewers and beer businesses. These are breweries we've known and loved, or have supported the podcast in some way. Make sure you check out their beers...!



    McColls Brewery
    Get an exclusive Hop Forward 10% discount McColls range of beers using the code HOPFORWARD (1 per customer). Check out their divine Beet de Garde, 7.0% Beetroot Biere de Garde.


    Budweiser Budvar
    Become the Budweiser Budvar UK Larger Champion with their newly launched Stay at Homebrew competition.  Listen to the episode or click the link to find out more!


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    Follow us on social media hopforward.beer to find out how we can get you ahead in the brewing and beer business through branding, marketing, and business development.

    • 58 min
    Brewin' USA [with Lotte Peplow from the Brewers Association]

    Brewin' USA [with Lotte Peplow from the Brewers Association]

    Every April, people from across North America and around the world flock to America’s largest craft brewing industry gathering: the Craft Brewers Conference.

    Sharing education, knowledge and ideas, the trade show is led by the top minds in the world of beer and business.

    For many brewers and beer professionals, this is an annual pilgrimage to not only consume information but to sample great beers. It’s evident when you look at the wealth of resources for brewers to come out of the States how passionate Americans are over craft beer. The CBC is just one example, but you don't have to look far to see evidence elsewhere.

    One such forum aimed at promoting and protecting American craft brewers is none other than the CBC's hosts, the Brewers Association.

    The Brewers Association is a not-for-profit trade association comprised of over 5,400 brewers members, 46,000 American Homebrewers Association members, and allied trade, beer wholesalers, retailers and other associate members.

    However, the Brewers Association isn’t just a resource for America alone. Brewers and beer professionals from other countries and continents, including the UK & Europe, are able to join and enjoy member benefits. These include articles, access to seminars online, education publications, and their magazine, The New Brewer.

    How America will fare during the current climate is anyone’s guess, especially without getting too political. However, the land of the home and brave and its beer professionals will have to band together more than ever to see its 8000+ breweries come through the other side.

    The landscape of US craft beer has been changing of late anyway. The keynote talk at the CBC Online from Bart Watson entitled The State of the Craft Brewing Industry, highlights many of the changes.

    However, it will no doubt will look very different in the months and years that lay ahead as it picks up the pieces of their broken economy.

    So, in some ways, it’s hard to publish today’s episode - recorded at BrewLDN in February this year - and discuss with Lotte Peplow what makes American craft beer and their brewers great and the reverence for many beer drinkers across the world.

    Lotte Peplow, is the Brewers Association American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe. She’s a certified Cicerone®, Beer Sommelier, beer judge, beer writer, homebrewer, beer & food pairer!

    As you can tell, she’s really into beer…!

    It was a privilege to sit across a table with her backstage at BrewLDN and share some fresh beers to come from the States, to talk about American craft beer, why independence is so important, equality in the industry, and a wide range of other topics that - at the time of recording - seemed like the most important thing.

    Hard to believe now as our focus is redefined on merely surviving with our health, our business, and our industry intact.

    Any events that Lotte and I discuss on the show have been cancelled up until September. After that, who knows what might happen… both with the immediate events as hosted by the Brewers Association and the future of American craft beer.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Recovering from Crowdfunding '19 [with Redchurch Brewery]

    Recovering from Crowdfunding '19 [with Redchurch Brewery]

    Ithis week's episode of the Hop Forward Podcast, we catch up with Redchurch Brewery's Head of Operations, Rachael Reynolds, to talk about recovering from crowdfunding and the troubles that plagued the brewery in 2019.

    In essence, crowdfunding is a great idea, allowing die-fans and casual followers the opportunity to make a difference to a project; to do good while allowing others to brew good.

    As a relatively new practise, those looking to crowdfund have largely had to navigate through uncharted water.

    Although crowdfunding finds an unlikely beginning in 18th century Germany, where German authors would take cash pre-orders for books they had yet to write, it wasn’t until 2001 when a website called ArtistShare became the internet’s first fan-funding platform and became the blueprint for today’s modern crowdfunding sites, such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter.

    For a season, it seemed as if crowdfunding was the golden ticket to securing the growth capital required to kickstart or take a brewing venture to the next level. Brewers across the globe took to platforms such as Kickstarter, Crowdcube, and Seedrs to reach out directly to their fans and ask their communities for cash in exchange for perks and merch, and - as time went on - shares and part ownerships, many of which came with inflated valuations.

    But what happens when crowdfunding leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths?

    Most notably in the UK, when people think of brewery crowdfunding, two names often arise - Woolwich based Hop Stuff Brewery, which raised over £1.5m through investors only to have the brewery seized by the landlord after failing to make rent on account of unpaid debts, delayed accounts and other financial difficulties.

    The second is Harlow based brewery, Redchurch.

    But after the social media storm has died down, what becomes of a business like Redchurch Brewery? How do the news owners or the staff, the few faithful who endured the chaos, re-emerge and pick up the pieces?

    How do you go about rebuilding damaged consumer and customer relationships and tell them things are different now?

    How do you rebuild trust in a brewery and brand that’s had its name tainted and dragged through the mud by the actions of individuals who no longer represent the business? How do you reassure those who had their fingers burned first time around?

    This is one of the many challenges that the team at Redchurch have been asking as they look to re-establish themselves in the market.

    I was fortunate enough to get some time with Rachael at BrewLDN in February, to drink some beer and to hear their side of the story - casualties themselves of the poor decisions made by the original founders, albeit in a much different way.

    But I don’t want to give too much away…!

    What I want to do is to allow them to tell their side of the story, because there is always another side to the story...!
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    BREWERY SHOUTOUTS
    Every week, we're giving brewery shoutouts and exclusive offers for our podcast listeners to some of the UK's best brewers and beer businesses. These are breweries we've known and loved, or have supported the podcast in some way. Make sure you check out their beers...!
    THE CHESHIRE BREWHOUSE - Fantastic beers with brilliant artwork from Shane and the team. Get an exclusive mixed case from their webshop using the code HF12 from this link: Click here to shop now
    FULL CIRCLE BREW CO - New beers from Newcastle upon Tyne's newest brewery. Great collab series, specials and core range not to be missed. Click here and use the code HOPFORWARD
    TURNING POINT BREW CO - Disco balls and more, including a range of collaboration with some of the UK's biggest names in beer. Use the code APRIL20 for 15% off your order on their webstore.


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    Follow us on social media hopforward.beer to find out how we can get you ahead in the brewing and beer business through branding, mar

    • 1 hr 32 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

Shellie Ellen ,

I’m a fan

I’m really impressed with this... you learn and lot but it’s really entertaining. I really want a pint with this guy! I’ll keep tuning in :)

Thisisjon ,

Great show

Great, entertaining podcast with brilliant guests. A must if working in the beer industry or have an interest in beer.

nicklawmusic ,

Entertaining and informative insights into running a beer business

Really great content delivered in an engaging way with a variety of guests from the beer industry. Would highly recommend to anyone with an interest in beer but particularly to those actively engaged in the industry.

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