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Brewing up a business: The Tweed Brewing Company

For Beer Week caught up with the Manchester micro brewers on a mission to reinvent the pint...

For Beer Week caught up with the Manchester micro brewers on a mission to reinvent the pint.

Founded by 22-year-old Sam Ward, the idea came to him, as all good ideas do, over a pint in the pub with his dad Dave and family friend and brewer by profession Anthony Lewis.

Based in Hyde, The Tweed Brewing Company has brought brewing back to the town for the first time since 1929 and with its quintessentially British name, they’ve set their sights on global expansion.

In collaboration with Small Business Saturday, spoke to father and son duo Sam and Dave about their successful first year in business.

What’s been your milestone moment so far?

Sam: We did a bespoke brew for the Midland Hotel in Manchester. They now stock our brew in every mini bar within the hotel so that's 340 rooms some of which have two.

Dave: They came to us with ideas and flavours to pair with the menu. Antony went through all the ingredients that we use and hit the nail on the head from the first attempt. He's a really big asset to the company.

Sam: The hotel has a massive following in Manchester and the North West, so for them to take on a brewery and a business that's not even a year old, to trust us with it first time and to invest in us is a big pat on the back.

Would you say you have time to stop and feel proud of what you've achieved?

Sam: Because the business is growing so fast, the phone is constantly ringing, we’re constantly out delivering and Antony is constantly brewing - and between all that there's meetings to attend so there's no lull in it, we just crack on.

Dave: I think we'll get to a stage where we can finally get take a step back, relax and go ‘look what we've just done’ and ‘look how far we've come' but that could be anywhere between twelve and eighteen months or so.

Sam: You get rare moments, we recently won the Pride of Thameside award for Start-up Business of the Year and that was a nice time to reflect on everything.

Sam: The drive of the three of us means that we’re all so focused on the end goal that we're quite happy just getting on with our tasks.

Dave: We all work well together, each of us brings our individual skill set to the table and it all gels together very well.

Sam: I think that's why this small business has done so well because we all know what we're working towards and what each of us are capable of. The results speak for themselves, we're a good team.

What’s the main reason you keep going?

Dave: The brand was created with longevity, quality and consistency in mind. We've got a goal as well as a passion for the brand, that's what keeps us going

Sam: When we first started up we all set our goals in our business plan and we've stuck to it. We haven’t got side-tracked and we've taken on opportunities that we think would be beneficial.


A photo posted by The Tweed Brewing Co (@tweedbrewco) on

Why do you think small businesses are so important?

Sam: As a small business we value the local spend within the local community more than ever before. We’ve gone out of our way to use local and independent suppliers whether it's the hops, the malts, the cleaning products or the tea bags.  

The small business community is full of good networking opportunities, everyone knows each other’s business.

You meet someone and all of a sudden two-three months down the line you get a phone call saying 'my mate’s looking for some beer, can you help him out?’ and they become one of your best customers.

What advice would you give to new business owners?

Dave: Do your research and find out who can help you. We had a lot of help from the Small Business Growth Hub and the Tameside town team.

Sam: If I was to set up another business, I would stress that marketing your business is probably the most important thing besides getting your kit and getting your product sorted.

Put a marketing budget to the side, social media is such a powerful tool and I can honestly say that without social media to a degree Tweed would not be where we are today.

I think, speaking to the older generation when you preach to them about the powers of social media and how you reach audiences that you would never ever think of, they look at you, like ‘what do you know?’.

But at the end of the day, Tweed speaks for itself now and it has got where it is today through those marketing efforts.

Don’t overlook it, don't do posters, don't do flyers, don't do anything else just look at social media and get good at it quick because it will separate you from the competition.

Why be a small business?

Sam: I would never tell someone who doesn't have a skill set or who isn't exceptionally good at something to start a business.

I think it's very competitive, regardless of what business you're in, so unless you're a hard worker and got bags full of fortitude and determination don't bother.

If you're passionate then do it. It will give you a certain amount of freedom in life and you reap the benefits of your hard work instantly.

If you want to get up when you want, do what you want, have a brew when you want but you also want to work ten times harder than you will ever work in any other job then I’d say ‘go for it!’.

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Image credits: Tweed Brewing Co


Melanie Luff

About the author

Mel wrote for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other global industry publications.


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