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Success is brewing for enterprising alumni

Friday, August 15, 2014

Success is brewing for enterprising alumni

Master of Enterprise (MEnt) alumnus Paul and BSc International Business, Finance and Economics alumnus George have transformed their party trick into a fully-fledged brewing business. They started out by selling their homebrew at student house parties and delivering batches in a beat-up hatchback. But the duo’s craft beers proved so popular that they managed to secure a government fund and now sell to more than 60 stockists across England and Scotland, including a string of top independent Manchester bars. 

Paul said: “The Master of Enterprise (MEnt) degree played a really important part in getting ShinDigger Brewing Co. off the ground. It offered the perfect environment to start planning our business and the practical skills we were taught were directly transferable with regards to helping us do this. 

"We were also able to get vital mentoring and connections from Manchester Enterprise Centre, which has had a big impact on how far we've come today."

“The students and lecturers on the course also offered a great sounding board for our ideas and gave us useful feedback. A big draw of the course was how much it immerses you into the entrepreneurial world. You eat, drink and live entrepreneurship, with everyone else on the course just as passionate about it as you, so it is a great place to develop and learn.”

George said he is motivated by changing the image of ale. “We thought to ourselves ‘why aren’t our friends drinking something with variety like craft ale?’” he said. “We want to break down the perception of ale as an old man’s beer.”

From there the ShinDigger Brewing Co. was born, based on a style of manufacturing the duo call ‘gypsy brewing’.

“Basically gypsy brewing means we develop recipes in our flat on the homebrew kit and then upscale the recipe on another microbrewies kit wherever we can find capacity,” said George. “This enabled us to start up straight out of university with no money in our pockets by avoiding the initial investment in our own brewery.”

George and Paul currently have three beers in their range – the Pacific Pale Ale, West Coast Pale Ale and Black IPA. Now the beer enthusiasts are brewing up an idea for a mobile beer garden and have recruited a Manchester street artist to decorate their van.

Paul and George were also finalists in the Venture Further competition in both 2013 and 2014. Paul said: “Venture Further offers a great opportunity to develop a business idea. It forces you to take a deeper look and answer some really tough questions about it. The is also the opportunity to get some much needed start-up money to get the idea off the ground.”

>> View the original Manchester Evening News article

>> Visit the ShinDigger Brewing Co. website

Image of Paul and George © Manchester Evening News

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