Leeds Living helps Northern Monk celebrate its success and its plans for the future.
I was asked to attend the party celebrating the launch of a crowdfunding initiative to finance the next chapter in the Northern Monk Brewery story. There was a good turnout, even taking into account that it was the day that the county was hit by huge quantities of snow and freezing temperatures. I would not have missed it for the world and The Beast From The East proved no match for this Foxy Gent From The Occident.
The crowdfunding was launched this week, but even with limited prior publicity more than half of the target had already been reached. This is hardly surprising as the business plan projected profits would continue rising at the same rate, if not a higher one, than over the past four years when they have more than doubled year on year. The order book is bulging, with the only constraint on expansion being production capacity. Even so, the company is on target to brew a staggering – literally – 3,000,000 pints in 2018. It is not just quantity which is their forte but also quality, and Northern Monk has been voted one of the top 100 breweries in the world.
We were greeted by Russell Bisset and Bridget Hoult, the directors, who were on hand all evening to answer any questions which we may have had. Russell also gave an introductory speech and presented a short video explaining the history and aims of the company. It is very rare for a corporate video to be both informative and laugh-out-loud amusing, but this one succeeded in spades. Following the presentation and a very welcome can of Northern Monk’s Northern Rising beer, we were led to The Refectory for a buffet and a couple more brews. There was also a musical interlude from Hyde Park Brass, a swing brass band. The whole evening was a very entertaining and informative event for which I thank the directors. This bourgeoning business began with a small legacy from Rusell’s grandmother, who would surely have been very proud of him and his team.
I never give financial advice as there is too much at stake by the recipient and I do not intend to start now. I will say, however, that not only do Russell and Bridget have a fine attitude towards business, but they have also surrounded themselves with a great team and I have the feeling that I was present at the start of what I am sure will be a huge success that will help to move Leeds even further up the table of great brewing cities.
Returning to the subject of the launch party, if this was an illustration of their management skills I am happy to verify that they most certainly are able to organise a piss-up in a brewery.