Escape The Block
Today it’s not about the beer sales. It’s about you. And us… And a mountain.
Today – I am not here to talk to you into buying beer from us. Although, there’s a good bit of party planning at the end – a lot of cool events to celebrate relaunches and birthdays. So do read on … Or at least skip to that bit!
The first actually Welsh beer of our holiday was this fantastic Lager from Wild Horse, with matching beer glass thanks to our friend Bev at the Craft Beer Cave in Penrhyn Bay
Hi. How are you. You may have noticed it’s been a couple of weeks since our last general mailout*. And I assure you, normal service will resume for Saturday. For you see, Naomi and I have been up a Mountain. Amongst other things…
I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but it’s the first time we’ve had a break of more than one single solitary day in a row since July 2018, when we did more or less the same thing: Go to North West Wales to climb hills and drink beers.
* A mail out once a week, twice a week, or not at all, depending on if I forget, drink too much, or realise I’ve 3 months worth of bookeeping to do in a weekend
We had rather the day for it too. We chose to climb the Pyg Track, a route to the summit of Snowdon I’d not done before. And with just a touch of vertigo, one I found quite challenging in a couple of places. If any hillwalk contains the word “scramble” I tend to quit out and find another path. Freeclimbing will never be my thing. I get the heebies. This was close to that in a couple of places. Nonetheless, we got there. And unlike our previous climbs, we finally got to the top on a clear day…
It was pretty fucking stunning.
The absolutely agonising calves for 2 days were worth this view, no doubt
This long, and overly challenging climb given the level of fitness I *thought* I still possessed, gave me some time for some reflection on where we are as a business, and where our industry is. It gave me pause to think about one simple question: What is A Hoppy Place?
Naomi and I actually announced to the first two ever people, my Mum and her Partner Matt, our intention to launch A Hoppy Place – the last time we were on Holiday, as I say back in 2018. We caused a bit of a stir when Naomi started the conversation, shared over a Balcony in Clough’s masterpiece village of Portmeirion with; “we have some exciting news…”.
With suitable retractions and explanations, we got the message clear that our ‘baby’ was in-fact our beer business. And since then, I’ve stepped away from it no longer than the average parent might manage on any given evening. With all the lacks of sleep to match.
Shit analogy aside, and with apologies to any parents here who will certainly and quite rightly feel that rearing a lifeform is more difficult than pulling a pint: From there to here we’ve travelled a long way ..
We’ve built up one hell of a community… That’s you lot.
On the 19th of July, it looks like we’ll with any luck, finally have an end to Covid restrictions. That date will also be just under 3 weeks until our 2nd birthday Party. We celebrated our first in-between lockdowns… We’ve had 5 months of Normal trade of our brand-new business, followed by what will end up being 18 months of trade under some kind of restrictions.
And make no bones about it, we know the main reason we’re still here and planning our second birthday.
OK, Naomi, Jason, Myself and the people that have helped us with shift work, and not a small slice of emotional support – have plenty to do it with. But first and foremost it’s down to literally everyone who’s ever popped in to see us, or bought online from us, that A Hoppy Place is about to turn 2.
Just some of Clough’s riviera-esque Portmeirion architecture..
We think, and hope, that the reason we’ve managed to find so many friends and build some amount of loyalty is that it’s obvious to you all how much we care about our punters. A lot of you are close personal friends now. For the avoidance of any doubt, we have you all to thank. Not that it’s been easy.
We wouldn’t still be here without you. Without people asking how we were and genuinely caring for the honest answer, Would we have kept in on through personal trauma last spring? Would we have kept working hugely long weeks, with myself delivering thousands of web orders in a stupid, totally job-inappropriate blue coupe? Would I have pivoted our business time after time, from beer shop and bar, to online distribution hub, to online bottle share and digital beer festival evenings, and back again?
Mental Health is a massive buzzword at the moment, but it needs to be a lot more than just a buzzword. It isn’t a hot topic. It’s something we should all be more aware of, and more understanding of the impact of. We’ve all seen plenty of difficult conversations recently about this and many other industries, and the struggle of their employees, and their customers. A lot of them should have never been allowed to happen. Talking about them will make them less likely to happen again. Asking someone if they’re OK, with themselves or with others. Caring about the answer.
And that conversation I feel just cannot happen in the same way over a conference call. Beer is a people business. Drinking at home, you miss the main point. We enjoy food and drink for the experience of it. Or we should… So be mindful, be present. Be with people. Get down the pub and support your local. Re-kindle pre-covid friendships. Generate new ones. And if you know of people who don’t think a pub is all of those things, bring them to ours. We can show them what it COULD and SHOULD all be about.
So I wanted to take a brief moment to thank you all again. For being there for us. Fallowing us to be there for some of you. And for sharing good beer with good people.
We’ve been very, very close to burn-out. That’s why we needed a holiday. And it was absolutely wonderful. But now we’re back, and we’re feeling recharged enough to properly shout about what’s to follow.
It’s going to be epic…
Remember when the pub?
In the coming weeks we’re going to have plenty of exciting news and events. We’ll have not one but two exciting birthday collaborations to announce. We’ll have our “end of the end of the world” party that we hope to take place around the 23rd, 24th and 25th of July, we’ll have our birthday itself on the 8th of August (to be celebrated on the 5th and 6th weekend), and we may, if things go to plan – have even more exciting news than that to follow quite soon…
We’ll also be relaunching our monthly tasting event evenings, with a repeat of our food and beer pairing class first off. Set to run on the 20th of July and exclusively for just 14 participants. Our Hoppy Friend Cardholders will get the inside track on that, but everyone on our mailing list will get a link in before it goes out on Social.
There might even be a bottle share monday for August!
Expect to find out about all of this in the next week or so.
If you haven’t yet popped back in post-lockdown, we’d love to see you very soon. If you have, we’d love to see you again. Of course, I can also deliver to you still if you prefer. But most of all, thanks to each and every one of our customers, and to a little time up a Welsh Mountain (and in Manchester for some epic Bundobust based action) we are now refuelled, and ready for one hell of a relaunch month.
Penned partly in Snowdon, party in Manchester, and party from back home in Windsor.
In touch soon with an absolute shitload of parties and good times!
See you soon, and cheers!