Planning your festival sales: G2 Brewing

We're officially in the swing of festival season, and thirsty, hungry, and muddy revellers need food and drink to keep their stamina up. Go to any festival across the UK and you'll find a staggering choice of food and drink startups. Virgin StartUp ambassador Oli Hawkins is the co-founder of G2 Brewing, creators of refreshing microbrews in the Kent countryside. Here's his advice on selling at a festival, but not forgetting about your regular customers.

Summertime is finally here, and that can only mean one thing. Well, maybe a few things, but I am not referring to the intermittent sun, the smell of cut grass, or even ice cream. No - I am of course referring to BEER! (I am a brewer, I always refer to beer).

Summer and beer go hand in hand, and right now here at G2 we're out of stock because most of our beer is being sold to the numerous festivals in and around Kent and London. Beer festivals or any festival  really (as long as there is beer involved) are great! The people are great, the myriad of food stalls are great, the music is great, the atmosphere is great, great, great, GREAT! And now G2 beer will add to these already great events to make them even greater.

Before I decided to become a full-time brewer, I loved popping along to such events because you could be sure to find any number of smaller brewers, and sampling them is always enjoyable. This year, is of course different, because our beer is at these festivals and so I am not just going to be drinking but representing G2. Don’t get me wrong - I will absolutely be certain to sample other beers for market research purposes (cough cough). However I have much more of an interest in what is actually happening, and that brings excitement as well as a little nervousness.

From a business perspective, the festival season and other events like this that happen throughout the year ensure that you have a good turnaround of stock and helps get your brand out to people that may not have seen you products before. This offers a very nice boost to sales and publicity.

But you do have to be careful, because too much focus on these events can have repercussions in the future. Although it may seem great to sell all of your stock to the festivals and get caught up trying to attend, you have to remember that you do have regular customers, and although they might not buy the same quantity in one go, they do buy all year round. It is this consistency which brings in the real cashflow, so it's important to set stock aside for these regulars.

Furthermore, you do not want to focus all of your time to one-off events as although they are a big part of growth for any small company, you still have to grow your company in all other areas. For example, right now we have a number of side projects going on. These include improvements to our brewing equipment, searching for our first full-time employee (if you think you're up for the challenge, drop us an line), and the development of future beers.

We're also about to launch our third beer, called Crux, named after the constellation of the Southern Cross, which goes with our star-based theme and signifies the Australian hop that we have used to create this beer. It's our premium beer and delivers a 4.8% ABV to give a real full-bodied flavour, so be sure to buy a pint and let us know what you think.

The point that I am making is that short-term gain will inevitably lead to long term pain. Being focused on the here and now is important, but when you are running your own company you also have to be focused on what is going to be happening tomorrow. Focusing on the consistent customers will always ensure you have steady work and steady growth.

This doesn’t mean though you can’t enjoy a few G2 brewskies in the here and now - just make sure you don’t enjoy too many as there is always work to be done tomorrow. But it's summertime and all work and no play is not what we are about at G2, so slap on the lotion, turn up the tunes and sit back and enjoy a pint - you’ve earned it!

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