As most budding entrepreneurs are often forewarned, it certainly helps to have a good idea and a healthy cash flow to build a successful business. For Sam Medd-Sygrove, his idea to launch a craft beer deli and wholesale delivery service has grown steadily to become a thriving business with an exciting future ahead thanks to funding from PNE Enterprise.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without PNE” explains CASK Wholesale founder Sam. “The start-up loan meant I could order stock in bulk at bigger discounts and help buy a van for deliveries.” For Sam, whose
experience of working as a live-in manager at a successful real ale pub
in Norwich, launching a business based on his passions suddenly seemed like a profitable idea. Like most start-ups, having a strong support network is what keeps them going during the tough times and early days, and
the same can be said for Sam. His father and older sister were keen to talk about opening their own craft beer deli and bar/café, his sister having nearly 20 years management experience in hospitality under her belt, and
his father a successful businessman. Together, they sat down and talked about how the business could operate and how they could distinguish themselves in such a competitive market.
The idea for the wholesale business came from spotting a gap in the market. Real ales and "craft "micro-breweries have soared in popularity over the past few years, leading Sam to discover there were a growing number of excellent craft micro-breweries who don't have the time or resources to distribute themselves in areas outside their own reach. As Sam explains, “frustrations began to arise after searching high and low for ideal premises to launch the Beer Deli aspect of the business, but we couldn’t find anything suitable.” Utilising his experience from running the pub in Norwich and the strong relationships he’d formed with local breweries, Sam put forward to them the idea of getting their beers outside of the local market. “I had two orders in my first week” Sam explains, “so I chucked the casks in the back of my pick-up truck and delivered them to pubs across East Anglia.” Starting the wholesale aspect of the business almost by accident, Sam found his proactive approach soon paid off and he moved to the North East with the business, selling much larger amounts in markets across the central belt of Scotland, the North East of England and East Anglia. The wholesale concept quickly took over and Sam is, quite rightly, incredibly proud of the business and concept he’s created – earning an enviable reputation for himself in such a competitive market.
With ongoing support from his family and PNE, Sam works closely with a Business Mentor to help him develop his business further and remain at the ‘hop’ of his game. Carefully adding to his selection of ‘core breweries’ whose stock CASK sell constantly, Sam also keeps a close eye on the UK craft beer market, reading reviews and blogs by beer writers to see who is making waves in the industry to offer customers the opportunity to discover something different with an exciting monthly Guest Breweries selection. CASK also makes it their mission to try and help some of the smaller, newer breweries make their first steps into new markets where possible. Hand Drawn Monkey, a brewery based in Huddersfield is a perfect example of the kinds of breweries and brands Sam feels drawn to with CASK. “Their beers are consistently good and they constantly bring out new experimental beers and collaborations with other breweries, keeping things fresh and exciting. Recent beers include a Mango IPA and a smoked oyster and beef jerky stout!”
Plans for the future include looking into opportunities within the import/export market and eventually opening a bar/beer café. The CASK Beer Deli concept is certainly still in the pipeline, as Sam nurtures ambitions to create a truly unique bar and dining experience. It would also be a perfect opportunity to work with other businesses, providing a platform for foodies across the region to enjoy traditional and the not-so-traditional local, regional and national foods and drinks, to be enjoyed in a relaxing, stress free atmosphere. Watch this space!