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How Crate made their taproom vital to their brewery growth

  • Episode 10 - 00hr 51mins
  • September 14, 2017

Crate co-founder, Neil Hinchley, joins Andy Thorburn to talk about how Crate was founded, and how they made sure that their taproom really worked for their brewery.

While gearing up for London 2012 Olympics, the areas around the Olympic Park in Stratford were launched into the process of gentrification- a word that has become somewhat dirty since. So when Neil Hinchley along with business partners, siblings Jess & Tom Seaton met, by chance, and decided to open the Crate Pizzeria & Bar in Hackney Wick, they wanted to make sure that the local artist community would be at the heart of what they did. Neil joins Andy Thorburn on this week’s episode, and they have a great conversation about the importance of having their own venue that serves their own beers. And while taprooms are becoming increasingly popular destination for beer drinkers, Neil and Andy also discuss what it took to make their venue so successful and how that has lead the brewery to be at capacity, contract brewing their lagers until they find a new site.

If you’ve not made it down to Hackney Wick, I strongly recommend that you do, Crate’s venue is brilliant, and their pizzas match excellently to their delicious beers. And while you’re there, give their Kombucha a try too.

Key Insights:

  • Taprooms are a vitally important way of growing your brewery, and controlling the quality of your product from mash to glass.

  • Attention to detail is essential to making any business successful, whether it’s a pizza topping or a hop variety.

  • Establishing a strong culture, and giving every member of your team a deep dive induction and training are crucial if you want to create powerful brand custodians.

Show notes:

  • 4:30 “As long as you keep everything pristine clean, and you’ve worked on your recipe, you can make okay beer” 3:10

  • 4:35 “To make excellent beer is extremely hard”

  • 4.53 Brewlab

  • 5:10 Redemption Brewery

  • 7:58 Pizza East

  • 12:12 Grace Dent writes about Crate

  • 16:22 What made Crate successful so quickly? Attention to detail of the entire offering, from the beers, the decor, the venue, the pizza thickness and the toppings.

  • 17:00 There are a lot of bars that feel very chainy,

  • 17:16 Every single member of staff who works with us has to spend a day down at the brewery learning the entire process from start to finish

  • 18:05 The biggest challenge was that, running a brewery is a full time operation, running a bar/restaurant is a full time operation. We decided to do both at the same time, and it was very difficult.

  • 19:55 Creating a culture within Crate has been fundamental to that success

  • 31:33 Jarr Kombucha

  • 38:17 The moment you lose sight of your product, it the moment that it’s at risk.

  • 49:02 That moment when you see someone drinking a beer in your bar and it puts a smile on their face, it’s the ultimate satisfaction.

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Neil Hinchley

Neil Hinchley

Neil Hinchley left a career as a radio producer at the BBC to pursue a passion that originated in his dad's backyard in Wales. After a chance meeting with Redemption Brewing's Andy Moffat, Neil decided to take his homebrewing more seriously and enrolled in an induction course with Brewlab. Another chance meeting lead to him and his business partners, siblings Jess & Tom Seaton, to open the Crate brewery and restaurant in east London's Hackney Wick. 


About the Show

Stories, insights and lessons from the incredible people behind the UK's craft beer industry. Andy Thorburn hosts a series of deep-dive interviews with various guests from the craft beer community. New episodes fortnightly.

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