I remember sitting down this time last year and talking about what a significant year 2016 had been, both from a business perspective and on an individual and cultural level. A lot of people were happy to see the back of 2016 and it's fair to be said, there's probably quite a few happy to see the back of 2017 as well.
Fortunately, brewing is a relatively robust industry that weathers good times and bad, beer is enjoyed in times of celebration and commiseration and to be fair, we're not here to talk politics and religion, we're here to bring people together, to enjoy shared experiences and to illuminate peoples perception of the joy that four simple ingredients can bring. So with that being said, forget the uncertainty of Brexit, forget the increasingly hostile geopolitical environment and what is currently playing out as the most bizarre presidency on record, let's focus on what's good and pure, let's celebrate the year that was 2017.
It seems like a great place to start would be the growth of our team, our people are so important at Fourpure, they're the face, hands, brains and beating heart of the business. We rely on our team for the ideas and passion and the day-to-day graft that drives the brewery forwards. This year we went from 36 full-time employees to 54 and with a new face around the brewery each month it has been great getting to know them all.
The team at our end of year update;
The year started with a bang at SIBA BeerX. The Society of Independent Brewers Awards is an event that we look forward to attending each year, it's a relaxed networking event where we share ideas, meet some interesting people and drink some great beer. This year we were fortunate enough to pick up awards including a Highly Commended for 'Best Commercial Business' and Winner of 'Most Innovative Business' and 'Brewery Business of the Year'.
We traveled a lot this year, in fact, we covered 225,000km with 32 team members traveling to 15 countries. That’s enough miles to have traveled six times around the globe! As part of this, we reported back on festivals and events from as far afield as Germany, Croatia, Singapore, Japan and Australia. One of the biggest highlights of the year (and a large chunk of the distance covered) would have been our Juicebox 500 tour. In what proved a mammoth undertaking, we headed across the country taking in 11 cities in 11 days before heading off to Asia for another 8 events across Singapore and Japan.
We also had another big year in beer - we brewed 579 times for the year maxing out in June with 68 brews in one month. Whilst it's difficult to pin down an exact number of different styles, the general consensus is that we brewed 54(!!) unique beers this year. It's always difficult to pinpoint highlights as beer is such a personal and subjective topic, however, Bayside and Hop Tripper (collaborative West Coast IPA's with Tasty McD and Mitch Steele respectively) were very well received and it was great hanging with those guys. We also got a lot of love for Stargazer (Salted Caramel Milk Stout), Bath Bomb (Tropical Pale collaboration for Indy Man Beer Con) and our Peach Iced Tea Pale. We've already locked down another 20 beers for next year and can't wait to drop the list in January.
It wouldn't be fair to talk beer and not mention our flagship rebrand, the cans are still hitting shelves across the country and we still get that warm fuzzy feeling every time we see someone drinking a beer that we worked so hard to create.
Our packaging and logistics teams also had record-breaking years. The packaging team filled enough cases that if they were stacked on top of each other they would reach 30km up, into the ozone layer. This equates to 3.5 times the height of Everest, or if you prefer, as tall as 16,000 emus.
Our dray team moved over 1 million kg of stock and the Fourpure vans have driven the equivalent of Perth, Australia and back, then Perth, Scotland (and back). Our warehouse team moved more than 900,000 kg of stock with our forklift (yes forklift) driving to the equivalent of Nova Scotia, Canada. It should hit the US by January.
This year we also upped our merch game, brought our crowler machine online, launched our new website and added 4 more taps to our tap room, taking us to a total of 20 beers on rotation.
Finally, bust possibly most importantly, we installed a brand new, state-of-the-art 40hL GEA Craft Star brewhouse which was commissioned and brewed on for the first time in December. The installation of the new brewhouse coincides with an upgrade to our office space and taproom area. We will be launching the new brewhouse and taproom Feb 10th next year with the launch of SIX new beers, live music, street food, brewery tours, giveaways and more. Get your tickets here and join us for what will be one of the brewery parties of the year.
The last words have to be thank you. Thank you to our team that comes in and works hard every day, despite the pace and in the face of constant change they always give 100%. Thank you to all who have joined us, helped out and given love and support in 2017 - you're all amazing and we can't wait to see how 2018 unfolds.
From everyone here at Team Fourpure, we hope you've had a fantastic year and we'll see you in 2018.