Duration A Year In View
Hello, Miranda founder at Duration here. Time for a little recap of all the happenings over in Norfolk in 2022! As ever we would like to thank all our customers and supporters for their unrelenting support in 2022 and are excited to dive into the cool waters of 2023 with you. Together in Beer!
What a busy year! We fired up the brew kit 116 brews that’s the equivalent to 232k litres produced or 407k pints. 67% was across our core and seasonal styles and 33% was special one-offs or collaborations. We released 31 unique beers in 2022 and hosted 16 collaborations and not just with other breweries – welcoming clothing brands, hop growers, a florist and even a local oyster catcher, forager and apple orchard into our list of co-collaborators.
As for breweries we felt honoured to invite over:
Newbarns, Edinburgh // Donzoko, Edinburgh // Burning Sky, East Sussex // Whiplash, Dublin // Gipsy Hill, London // Verdant, Cornwall // Pressure Drop, London // Forest & Main, USA // Beak, East Sussex // Cloudwater, Manchester // Bundobust, Leeds // Burnt Mill, Suffolk // Boxcar, London // Unity, Southampton //
Press & Awards
We were lucky enough be recognised across three awards this year taking our count up to 18! Our build project came in the top 3 of the Majors Gold Award for Best Conservation Project. Quiet Song our Wheat Beer and Turtles our Flagship American Pale scooped medals at the SIBA Beer X Awards in the Regionals. They will now go onto the Nationals later in the year.
Six of our beers made it into three new books Remember When The Pub – IPA and Bet The Farm – Continental Pale were included in World’s Greatest Beers. Bet The Farm Mixed Fermentation – Fermata Pale Ale featured in Modern British Beer, it was a triple entry for United Kingdom of Beer – 250 Top Beers with Doses – German Pilsner, Turtles – American Pale, and Fortitude – Imperial Stout making the cut!
This is in addition to numerous press articles including features by Delicious Magazine, Drinks Retailing, Brewers Journal and The Guardian.
Out & About
We felt honoured to attend countless Tap Take Overs and Meet The Brewer events hosted by our great ambassadors in the on trade and saw our beers pouring at some of the finest beer festivals across the UK and beyond. Highlights included These Hills the inaugural festival by Beak Brewing in Lewes, Little Summer Beer Bash, this year hosted by Verdant in Cornwall and Dark & Wild over at Northern Monk in Leeds. We also headed to Brussels for Wanderlust, Stavanger for What’s Brewing and Dublin for Fidelity.
Crowdfund welcomes 615 new Investors
In May we launched a nationwide tour to promote our crowdfund to expand the brewery, add to our sustainability credentials and renovate the south end gable of our stone barn into a destination taproom. We exceeded all expectations and raised £400k welcoming in over 600 new equity based investors to the fold. We have already installed the centrifuge and in December we completed on a large water treatment plant expansion as part of the crowdfund objectives too.
We brought in a sales team with Jeremy (consultant) and Craig (full time) joining us. Lee (full time) joined us in the warehouse. Last, but not least Bride (full time) joined us as an office admin and taproom manager having previously working part-time in the taproom. Hamish our operations manager became a shareholder under our staff equity scheme enabled by the crowdfund and we continue to be a Living Wage Employer.
Early in the year we increased our Cellar Capacity and installed a Centrifuge to bring better yields and efficiencies to our products. Being unpasteurised it also helps with making our beers more robust from a stability perspective.
We have also just completed on our Water Treatment Plant Expansion, making it ready to scale with production with ease and of course allowing us to have zero effluent waste and be more sustainable.
With the help from reviews and surveys from our loyal locals, planning approval was secured after a lengthy process to enable us to reinstate our outside seating. What had been allowed outside in covid had to be retrospectively applied for. This summer sales on site dropped without the planning in place, so thank goodness it’s now in for 2023! We have also had our planning approved to have ample parking provisions on site and an allowance for an increased number of vehicles into our village. All sound quite boring but are huge for our rural spot and on-site trade!
We are busy working with 5HT again to help us concept the South Gable taproom. Our landlord is also involved and much work is going on behinds the scenes with consultants to device and approach, seek all the consents based on our scheduled monument location and we hope to be breaking ground this time next year!
The renovation of South Gable end of stone barn will be a lengthy process. Negotiation of timeline and approach with landlord completed, important surveys are underway. There may be a need for new planning to allow for our cellar and structural detailing. We are hopeful bulk of the planning and tendering will happen over the next 12 months with the view to start the build project in earnest in early 2024. As well as the site being a scheduled monument and grade II* listed it is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) so lots of stakeholders involved to ensure we are sympathetic and sensitive to our very special location.
With all that we’ve endured we are pretty pleased to report an increase in webshop sales and overall a similar financial year to the previous. Given the fact that some breweries are reporting 40% losses in revenue and four of our friends sadly announced closure in the past month alone, we feel we have weathered a gruellingly tough climate well. Along with all the improvements we’ve made to ensure product consistency remains high and our GP is maintained we are happy with our position in our ‘all things considered’ mindset. Our spread of sales channels is pretty healthily stacked. Our largest sales this year have come via On Trade / Wholesale (45%) and Direct to Consumer (37%) is nudging up which is great for profitability. Off Trade / Retail (16%) is also growing especially locally and we have several stokes in the fire for Export (2%).
Currently the number of customers we have onboarded that are classified as On trade is 207, Off trade is 205, and Export is 16 and our customer base overall grew by 23% year to date and our sales team are busy developing some great relationships including reaching out to pub co and multi-site venues.
Domestically we have refocused on our key relationships and have taken steps to establish new trading partners in previously underrepresented markets. Regionally and locally, we have invested in the team and added a Norfolk based Sales Manager who has been activating new accounts, establishing new routes to market via wholesale trading partners and establishing a firm presence in key markets through permanent line activations. Our previous and ongoing investment in our direct-to-consumer tap room and web shop has proved successful. In November this year we ran our most successful sale promotion to date which resulted in a record-breaking week in online sales for which we are very thankful! This sets us up very well for continued success in the coming months/year.
We are streamlining our production and focusing our core range down from 8 to 4 beers which will drive higher volume sales, greater brand focus and growth. These mainstays will be supplemented by a curated range of seasonally appropriate beers and show-stopping one offs and collaboration brews. This shift will also be reflected in a shift to more session strength beers. Overall, this will lower the cost of goods and be more manageable from a brand development and growth perspective.
We will use our presence at events in a meaningful way and select where we focus our efforts based on commercial justification, marketing potential/opportunities and key relationship development. We are currently actively prospecting in at least 6 export markets with active and productive discussions with new potentially key trading partners happening in each area.
How would we define our mindset closing this year? Battered yet resolute. We’ve had 3 gruelling opening years, had to make lots of adaptations. Now facing continued economic uncertainty and price increases across the board of between 30-38% on utilities, ingredients and packaging materials we know it isn’t going to be easy. However, we have sown all the seeds for success investing our time and resource in our equipment, our team and our products. We have a beautiful and well recognised brand that is admired locally and by our peers. We see lots of potential for growth in several markets and our routes to market are evenly spread. We also know we have the drive and product confidence to enter 2023 with confidence whatever the climate. So onwards we go! Our taproom may be a way off but you can rest assured at Duration we will always look to the future seeking out the blue skies and making damn fine beer to enjoy whatever the weather.