Here’s a quick recap of the unusual year that was 2021. In a lot of ways 2021 was a more challenging and stressful year than the one before it.
In 2020 we had hope - hope for a normal summer; hope for business as normal by Christmas - whereas 2021 was more a feeling of increasing hopelessness.
In 2021 the end did not seem in sight; we delayed countless things and suffered incalculable losses as we waited nearly every day of the year for the builders to come back. Restrictions and lockdowns damaged business and hampered meaningful planning.
In 2020 we put our heads down and positively forged forward - to raise more funds to complete the building project & to keep the lights on (literally).
In 2021 we still put our heads down and did our best but we felt a whole lot more like our future was not in our own hands.
A dark month at the best of times but this one was a deeper shade of black. Lockdown meant no need for beer so staff were furloughed. We were very happy to have secured the extra funding we needed to complete the already protracted building project and were expecting progress again from March.
We used the small window of time we had - and reallocated budget from capacity to quality - and signed off on the install of a hygienic resin floor. The prospect of a fully empty room and no production loss was an opportunity not to be missed.
January 2021 was our quietest sales month since it was just Rob at the brewery.
Planning the new brew house install and decommissioning the old set up. All of our brewing kit is the same as it was but we tried to install it as efficiently and future-proofed as possible, which took a lot of thinking.
It snowed a bit. We got the new floor finish - we love it.
Lots of thinking and planning. Lots of install work - steam, electric, hard piping, etc. We sent our first pallet of beer of the year off Orkney. No builders.
The first brew! A Scapa Special of course. And just in time as we had very nearly used up all the stock we’d built up in 2020.
Four months without brewing was the longest in Swannay’s history where no beer was fermented.
For the rest of the year we brewed beer but the challenges remained.
2021 was the most turbulent to date for Team Swannay. We said goodbye to three staff and welcomed three new staff to the crew.
We have a strong base to grow the team in 2022 and our first adverts in this regard will go out soon.
From day one at Swannay, Rob has overseen all production but in 2021 illness has meant Rob has had to step back from this role. We look forward to seeing Rob back in 2022.
Competitions weren’t possible in 2020 but we picked up where we left off in 2021 and took home awards for both cask and can beers (can award details to come soon).
We’re making good on our canning line investment but our work on making the best canned beers we can is just beginning. As we’ve said before, it is a learning curve going from packaging naturally carbonated cask beer (and we’re good at that) to packaging dry hopped, carbonated yet unfiltered canned beer. Quality - as it always was - will be one our main focuses this year.
We were happy to get to brew some different Bere beers in 2021 and will extend this range further in 2022.
Vs 2019 (-50%)
Vs 2020 (+5%)
We're still in choppy waters!
Despite trade still being quiet, January 2022 is looking a lot more promising already. The builders are back, the team is strong, we have good plans for the year. We are again filled with hope for what is to come.
Now we’ve looked back, we’ll start looking forward. We’ll share more about 2022 here soon.