February Update: Roadmaps & FOMO
I am writing this a day after the government’s announcement regarding the ‘road map’ out of lockdown. Friends and family are already calling and messaging me to say that things are looking up and wanting to know when I intend to reopen our doors. I am very much looking forward to being able to open our doors again and share stories and well earned beers with all of you. However, I still feel somewhat subdued by all of this. Maybe I have grown used to U-turns over the last year and have developed an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude (I doubt I’m the only one)?!
Thanks to all the support we have received from our customers, we are in a good position to be able to reopen our doors as soon as we get the green light to do so. Because of all of you, we are one of the lucky ones. It is at times like this that I reflect on the loss of so many other hospitality venues and the loss of so many jobs in my industry. I do not have enough fingers to count the number of friends of mine that have lost their jobs - their careers - because of how harsh this has been on all of us. I sincerely hope that when I am back pouring pints in your good company, things will be better.
A lot of people ask me, ‘How is it all going?’ when I am on my rounds each day. That is a funny one to answer. As I previously mentioned, we are in a good position and we are truly fortunate. But, at the same time, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. In the same week that we had our best week (I celebrated a little too much at the end of that week), we also had our worst day. One of the bizarre things in this trade is that there is never really a trend to follow, and it can be difficult to know what will sell and what won’t. That great week was also accompanied by me pouring several gallons of beer away, as one of the days was so quiet that I got my estimates for what I was going to sell completely wrong. For those of you who are shocked by the tragic loss of this beer, I will briefly explain the main pitfall of cask conditioned beer - once it is opened, it is widely acknowledged that many beers are past their best after just 3 days. It is one of the things that makes cask ale so unique, but it is also one of the things that makes it tricky to sell right now. Needless to say, I drank as much of it as I could, but there’s only so much one man can do...
It is not all doom and gloom though! You may have already met my partner, Maz, who has been kindly giving up her time to help me. Excitingly though, we now have another couple of friendly faces joining our little team. Emma and Becky have come on board to help with deliveries on the busier days, so you can expect to see their happy faces at your door soon. Trust me – they are smiling under the face mask. I promise!
We have a few exciting things in the pipeline as well. We are putting in our application for a “table and chairs licence” for the area immediately outside of Olaf’s, so that when we reopen you guys will be able to enjoy an alfresco pint or two. Of course, there are other bits of news about beers and food and décor but that can wait for another time. I will not have anything to write about next month if I tell you about everything now!
I have lost count of how many different beers we have sold this month. Be it in cans, kegs, bottles, or cask, you guys have lapped it up (all except that one cask...). The wall inside is starting to look a lot different to when we first opened in December. We have been all over picking up new beers and are now working on a trip to Manchester to source beers from some of our favourite breweries. Maz has been working on a project for International Women’s Day (more info coming very soon), as well as sourcing some exciting beers from the USA, hopefully arriving in a few weeks time.
All of this has led to us experiencing a bit of FOMO – fear of missing out. Due to the pandemic, and the ongoing forced closure of pubs affecting breweries, sourcing beers can be more difficult than usual, and, often we are only able to get a limited amount at any given time. This means that we have often had extremely limited stock of most of our beers and once they are gone, they are gone for the foreseeable future. So, if you suffer from FOMO do not hesitate if you see something you like – it may be your last chance for some time.
That’s all for now - I need to head out on today’s deliveries! Check back in in March to find out what’s going on at Olaf’s, and follow us on social media for daily updates!