So, what’s being going on at Boss Brewing? Nothing too exciting or newsworthy, I hope?
Ah it has been a pretty newsworthy start to the year actually! Our trademark legal battle with Hugo Boss hit the headlines last year, but it took on a whole new lease of life when comedian Joe Lycett changed his name by deed pool to ‘Hugo Boss’. The publicity has been crazy and it’s been huge for our brand awareness.
We’ve received so many messages of support that it’s been pretty overwhelming. We have an episode of Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back dedicated to us and the Hugo Boss saga, and we’ve been involved with the filming, which was so much fun. Shaun Ryder and Bez from the Happy Mondays came along to the recording too. Their stories… wow those guys have lived! It airs on Channel 4 in April/May time, so keep your eyes peeled.
We picked up a couple of marketing awards too for our approach to the Hugo Boss fight and the way in which we spun a David v. Goliath campaign out of it. One was a SIBA award and the other was from the Chamber of Commerce. I always say we dealt with it all the Boss way – making lemons into lemonade, turning a totally testing time (when we could have been stamped out by Hugo Boss) into a publicity campaign that had the reverse effect of growing our brand, and poking the bear that is Hugo Boss along the way! It’s been fun being aggravating ha!
Onto the beer, you guys seem to be getting more and more experimental and adventurous by the day, incorporating peanut butter, peaches, Christmas spices and more into some of your releases – where are the recipe ideas coming from? And do you plan to keep pushing the boundaries?
We’re an interesting blend. We like to keep our core beers more accessible and approachable whilst still being full flavoured – Boss Blonde and Boss Bare would be two examples. The beauty of these beers is that the quality and drinkability of them is appreciated by craft beer ‘geeks’ whilst their drinkability means they make the perfect gateway beers for those that are new to craft. In other words, they aren’t too wild and whacky, too intimidating. We are laidback and want everyone to be able to get involved with craft beer and aren’t into the snobbery.
However, our specials give us free reign to be a bit more experimental and let loose – the peaches, peanut butter and Christmas spices that you mention. Inspiration for these recipes comes from everywhere really! Seasonal influences are obviously massively important to us – beers appropriate to summer, Christmas etc.
The idea tends to start with me as I’m speaking to customers and hearing first hand the sort of beers they want to see from us. It goes without saying that it’s massively important that we brew what they desire. Then we have a 100L pilot kit – it was our brew kit back in the day when we home brewed from our garage – which myself and our Head Brewer get testing new recipes on.
Nik has over 30 years of experience in brewing and has worked in breweries all over the continent, so he’s good at recreating whatever idea I have in my head! Having our own taproom is the perfect way of trialling new brew experiments live on real customers. Their feedback goes into it.
There are so many different influences and inputs, which makes it all the more creative. We’ll keep carrying on pushing the boundaries in line with the beer trends that we see unfold!
Rugby seems to be a recurring theme on your packaging right now too – is the brewery filled with big rugby fans? And can we all expect free pints at the brewery next time Wales win the Six Nations?
Ah we love rugby here at Boss! We reign from Swansea and rugby is massive here in Wales as you know. And what goes together better than rugby and beer, eh?
The brewery is in an old listed cinema building (a former WW2 munitions base!). It’s a stone’s throw away from the Liberty Stadium, which both the Swans football team and the Ospreys rugby team play at. So yes, as you can imagine, our taproom on-site is packed to the rafters with sports fans!
We’re the match day bar of choice now for many fans when either team is home, which is awesome to see. We’re a friendly bunch here in Swansea, so we always see a load of away fans in too. Except when we’re playing Cardiff…
And we’re not talking about Wales and the Six Nations this year. Ask us again in 2021!
Any big plans on the horizon or new beers the Flavourly audience should watch out for?
We always have big plans! We’re so ambitious and driven and have loads of fun along the way. Export is a big one for us this year – we see Boss going all the way and becoming a serious global player. We’ve set our sights on the USA next, so watch this space.
The Corona Virus has knocked all of us for six and every brewery and business across the country is having to rethink their plans. But ultimately, I think one of the things that sets us apart (that is clear in our powerful comic book branding) is that we are bold, determined, eternally optimistic and resilient. We know we’ll come out standing and it’s not in our nature to let this epidemic knock our confidence. Neither is it in our DNA to go quietly without a fight and we’re feeling really positive about the future. We just can’t wait for this all to pass, for as many people as possible to come out fighting fit and in good health, and to crack on with our big expansion plans.
In terms of new beers, there will be an ever-evolving range of interesting new releases coming out of the brewery. One that we are particularly excited to launch is our-barrel aged collaboration with Penderyn, which is very local to us as a distillery. We crafted a gorgeous malty, amber ale and are letting it soak for months in some of the distillery’s Madeira casks. The whisky notes are coming through amazingly and there’s these amazing vanilla, spicy and custard-like flavours on the palate. Yum!