It’s been a strange few months at Wild Horse HQ so we just wanted to take a moment to update you guys on what’s been happening here and what we have coming up now a bit of normality has been restored.
Back in March when lockdown came into force, we lost over 90% of our trade overnight as pubs and restaurants were forced to close. Without doubt, this has been the most stressful period in the business’ history for owners/founders Dave & Emma. With the help of the Job Retention Scheme, a Government grant and the amazing support of you, our customers, we emerge with a brewery in a strong position, and with the beers tasting better than ever before.
As soon as lockdown was announced, we took the decision to furlough all staff apart from Dave so that he could keep the brewery ‘ticking over’ and fulfil orders through the webstore. Through a combination of a new home delivery service, mini kegs and one overworked brewery owner we sold out of cans and made a serious dent in the keg stock we had in the cold store. This meant we were able to quickly get to the point where we could bring back some staff – Ryan H came back first to help with readying orders and packaging more beer to sell. Then, Ryan S returned to drive beer to people’s houses in our noble steed. Lastly, Aled, Chris W & Chris H have all returned on a part time basis to brew, design new recipes and sell more tasty beer.
Bringing staff back from furlough has brought its own challenges due to social distancing and hygiene guidelines. We’ve had to set up impromptu work stations for those who need access to a computer so we can socially distance, we all have masks to wear for when we cannot stay 2m apart and there is a LOT of hand sanitiser and handwashing going on at the brewery!
One of the biggest changes we’ve made is to our Special Release schedule. We’re normally so slammed with production of Buckskin and Nokota that we struggle to get lots of Special Releases brewed. The temporary closure of pubs, bars and restaurants has freed up some brewing capacity and we’ve been able to brew and can more Special Releases. Currently we have 2 new Special Releases being launched every couple of weeks or so. We’ll keep on doing that as long as we can and we’ve got some exciting stuff in the schedule coming up.
Which brings us onto the brewery shop & taproom. The bad news is that we don’t have any plans to reopen the taproom space in the near future. There are a few reasons for this but safety is our main concern. With social distancing requirements and concerns over a second wave of COVID-19, we simply don’t feel that allowing the public inside the brewery makes sense at this point. As a business, we don’t need to open up the taproom but our stockists do need to be open so we encourage you to support them during what will continue to be a challenging time for everyone.
These are also temporarily suspended with no set date for their return. I’m sure this is disappointing news but with our current social distancing measures along with the additional growler cleaning procedures that would be required, we just don’t feel we can make it work at this time.
Home Delivery / Click & Collect
The good news is that we are continuing our local home delivery service indefinitely, the Click & Collect service will remain and people are welcome to come to the brewery for walk up sales too. All our deliveries/collections are contact free, we have a counter at the front of the brewery with a contactless terminal and we do the rest!
Thank You / Diolch o Galon
Lastly, we just want to say a huge, huge thank you / diolch o galon to everyone who has supported us throughout this period. Whether you’ve had a local delivery, bought some beer from a retailer, made an online order or drunk too many Tramcars on a Tuesday night (we’ve been there!) then thank you so much! It’s been a pretty rubbish time for everyone and it is Wild Horse fans who have kept us going and kept our morale up when it’s threatened to dip.
The next challenge is for a bit more normality to return. Please support your local, independent businesses when and if you can. It makes the world of difference and it is very heartening to have seen the support we’ve had from you guys.
Stay safe and Iechyd da!