Boss Brewing was launched in April 2015 by myself and my fiancé Roy Allkin. We shared a passion for beer and loved to home brew from our garage; toying with the idea of starting a brewery for a while. What really spurred us on was attending a masterclass on 'How to Start a Microbrewery' - it turns out that the day wasn't about setting up a brewery at all - the overriding message of the day being 'DON'T DO IT!' And the fact that we did it anyway pretty much sums up who we are and what Boss is about: ambition, drive, determination and a self-confidence that we have something of value to contribute to the exciting craft beer market.
If I had to say which beer we are known for, our 'hero' beer if you like, I would have to say Boss Black. It won a SIBA Gold Award just six weeks after we launched and it is currently CAMRA Champion Stout of Wales. Most recently, it brought home a Great Taste Award. That one definitely has a craft beer following of its own! The funny thing is, it stemmed from (probably) our worst ever attempt at home brewing. We brewed a stout which was so awful that I couldn't even persuade my Dad to drink it (and he likes a beer or six!) That made us even more determined (that word again!) to brew an awesome stout, and now we have Boss Black!
I'm lucky in that the team has now grown to eight of us and I get to spend my days looking after the sales and marketing. I liaise with buyers and find more and more exciting avenues through which to sell our beer. I love people - I worked for the Alzheimer's Society before this - so now I get to do what is my dream job. Chatting to people all day long about their business, their customers and recommending which of our beers would suit their needs.
I would describe myself as a businessmum. Esme is now almost two and having her has undoubtedly contributed to Boss being where it is today; eight employees, its own brewery tap, contracts with national supermarkets and exporting to over five different countries.We're also moving premises to a site twice as large as our current site, which we've outgrown, and will be opening our second brewery tap by the end of the year. Having a little girl has given us a focus, an even greater eagerness to exceed and a purpose. I'm proud that I am building something for her future.
Our guiding principle is to always keep a sense of humour and have fun in everything you do! We don't talk about quality because as far as we are concerned, quality is and should be a given. Instead, we're all about having fun - beer is a social beast after all and there is a danger sometimes of taking it all too seriously. We intentionally make our beers so that they have excellent flavour, but are accessible at the same time. We call it 'repeat drinkability'. We're known for our hashtag #LikeABoss, which is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek way of saying doing something your way and not caring what people think!
My absolute biggest dream is to win international accolades for our beers.We've won over ten national industry awards for our beers in just two years, which we know is amazing! To begin to win international awards would be incredible.
People often ask us, 'why Boss?'. Well, historically the first ever brewers were women. Known as 'alewives', women originally brewed the beer both commercially and domestically. They were the 'bosses' of brewing if you will. Being one of the only female led breweries in the country, we thought this name was a good fit for us.
People ask me what it's like being part of a 'man's world' and in all honesty, it doesn't feel like that from the inside. I'm lucky enough to never have experienced sexism and people I work with respect my passion and knowledge when it comes to beer. I am, however, extremely passionate about getting women to see that there is a whole world of beer styles out there, and without a doubt, one to suit every taste. If I could in some way make even a tiny contribution to women's perceptions about beer and encourage even a few women to consider drinking beer, I'd be very happy indeed.