#Passion2Action: Interview with Rob Berezowski, the founder of Brew Club

Brew Club is a place where people can come and make their own beer. We provide the space, equipment, and expertise to help people enjoy the hobby of home brewing 

G: What problem did you set out to fix in this world? 

R: People, especially in urban areas, do not always have the space to brew beer in their homes.  It can be costly to start home brewing as you need to purchase equipment and then you need somewhere to store the beer when it is fermenting as well as the equipment that you have bought.  The learning curve to get into home brewing can be perceived to be steep as well and there is fear that the end result will not taste good. We help people overcome these problems by providing a space for them to try home brewing without having to commit to a large up front investment in time and money for something they may not enjoy

G: How did you find your ‘Why”? 

R: I started brewing beer in my flat in Hackney Road back in 2013.  At the time, there were limited resources for home brewers so I first had to build my own equipment before I could even start brewing.  I then had to teach myself how to brew with conflicting and often overly complicated information found on the internet and in books. My brew days were often long, upwards of 8 hours, and it would be raining in my kitchen when I boiled as I didn’t have any outdoor space for brewing.  Beer was left in my lounge to ferment and on more than one occasion I came home to a beer explosion all over my flat.

I thought to myself that there must be people out there who wouldn’t want to go through what I did to start brewing. A facility where people could come and brew would have been great for me.

G: How did you convert your passion into a business? 

R: I quit my day job back in 2015 to launch the business. We wrote a business plan and got a start-up loan to get things started along with some savings that I had.  We have always had a clear vision of what we wanted Brew Club to look like but things have changed along the way. We recently relocated and that has allowed us to setup a taproom and craft beer bottle shop alongside the brewing space which wasn’t part of the original plan. 

G: How long did it take until you start making a living out of it?

R: When we first opened, Brew Club was a bit of a ghost town and it definitely invoked a sense of doubt as to whether the idea was sound, but we just kept working on the idea and getting the word out and sales slowly picked up. Around year 3 we started making enough for the business to be solvent.

G: What were the biggest obstacles launching the company and how did you overcome them?

R: Probably the biggest obstacle was lack of awareness in our product and company.  Word of mouth does work, however it is not really the fastest way to growth. Marketing and social media presence are probably the best way to overcome this hurdle and I have learnt that while it is important throughout the life of your business, it is paramount in the beginning.  It also gives you something positive to focus on if things aren’t going the way you intended

G: Why do you think people fell in love with your company? 

R: I think people really connected with the brand because of our personal touch.  We are on hand to help people out and our aim has always been to make beer brewing accessible to everyone and this has given people the confidence that they can brew great tasting beer.

G: How your company/brand is winning over the hearts and minds of the local community? 

R: Brew Club offers a unique service that no one else in the UK quite provides. For those who want to make their own beer, we offer a supportive community of brewers and beer lovers. As such, at this point, much of our promotion comes from word of mouth and satisfied brewers, however we also engage the usual social networks as well as occasional ads in beer oriented publications. 

G: What 3 pieces of advice would you give to the people who want to create something, but not sure how or where to start ? 

R: Put your customer first – make sure you are not creating something only for yourself.

Just start by taking the first step. You may not feel like you’re getting anywhere when you are taking baby steps, but you are.

G: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Who do you learn from how to grow your business? 

R: In the early stages of the business, I took advantage of the training offerings from the council. I attended several business and marketing workshops that they offered. These were very beneficial and took me a long way. These days, the learning tends to be more ad hoc, meaning I learn as I go along as needed. 

G: Who/what are your favorite CEOs/Businesses in Shoreditch or East London? 

R: Of course, there are many innovative. exciting, hip, and interesting businesses in Shoreditch and East London that I find inspiring, however I am immediately influenced by my peers in the local vicinity as I am able to discuss their business strategies and thoughts with them. For a few examples, Deviant & Dandy Brewery, Paper Dress Vintage, and the Oslo.

G: Where do you see your company in a few years’ time and what are your thoughts on the future of your industry how is it changing?

R: Brew Club has come a long way in the years that we have been running. A year ago we moved from our first location in Clapton to our new spot near Hackney Central. We have taken on many new customers as well and there has been clear growth. Obviously, this is a trajectory I would like to see continue, hopefully to the point where we can offer more outlets around the city, as well as expanding on our more experiential offerings – for example, incorporating brewing with food, beer tastings, and events, having more talks and workshops, etc.

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