The final brew of 2023 is now underway, so we thought it was high time to take a look at our year in beer! We’ve brewed a total of 382 times, creating 88 individual beers, adding up to over 2.5 MILLION pints – more than 1 million of which were our flagship, Moonshine! We’ve continued to cover a huge range of styles across all those beers, from the sweet and sour Unbeliever – Tropical Radler (2.8%) to our malty and robust classic Old Ale, weighing in at 8.0% ABV.
A major highlight of the year just has to be Black Mass winning the Overall Champion beer in can at the National SIBA Awards, and excitingly it’s got the opportunity to defend the title this year too, having recently scooped a regional Gold Medal in the Speciality IPA category for the second year in a row. It’s a beer that’s been with us since our very beginnings, so to see it named the best beer in the country and continue to be enjoyed by those who’ve been drinking it since 1996 as well as those new to their beery journeys really does warm our cockles (as does a can of Black Mass itself, it has to be said!).
Another big achievement for us has been taking our first steps into the no-and-low market, with the launch of our tasty and oh-so-refreshing alcohol free Sparkling Hop Water. There are two varieties available at the moment, a great choice if you’re considering Dry January. Find out more about our spritzy, mindful AF option here.
The spirit of community and collaboration which is one of the cornerstones of our identity has once again thrived this year. We were honoured to be part of Collabageddon, a fantastic celebration of collaboration organised by the excellent team at Elusive Brewing, which saw us paired up with Good Chemistry and Utopian – new friends we’re delighted to have. And we’ve launched a new series celebrating cask ale, working with fellow renowned cask-led breweries Ossett, Anthology and Loxley Brewery so far, with more to come in 2024. Our work with local charities has continued too – we’ve loved partnering with the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust this year, with our special beer “Swifty” raising £720 in support of their Sheffield Swift City campaign (and please do check out their exciting recent Ughill Farm news too), and we also took part in this year’s Half Pint Marathon along with True North Brewery which raised much needed funds for Sheffield Mind.
Cask beer still reigns supreme for us, amounting to over 75% of our total output – although it’s worth pointing out that we also filled a whopping 275,000 cans this year too! Moonshine is still far and away our biggest seller, but it has dropped slightly as a proportion of our total in recent years, now sitting at just over 40%, as our other beers gain popularity. Deception is our second most popular beer, with Heathen hot on its heels at almost 10% of overall total volumes.
The amount we’ve brewed, packaged and sold overall is actually remarkably similar to last year – we’d hoped for a little more growth following our production beginning to return close to pre-Covid levels, but can’t complain at consistency in the midst of continuing industry upheaval, which affects all of us within the beer world every day. Duty reforms, the cost of living crisis, and the ever-developing impact of Brexit are all things we’re continually working extremely hard to navigate. We know that these challenges may continue for more time to come, but we promise our commitment to beer quality, customer service, and love of experimentation will never change!
Export continues to be an exciting area of growth, despite the aforementioned Brexit challenges. It’s edged over 1% of our overall volumes this year, which although still a small number is an increase of 65% from 2022. Our beer has been seen in the Czech Republic, Denmark and France for the first time in 2023, with Italy being our biggest overseas market. Saluti!
Finally, thank you to everyone who’s supported us this year – whether that’s as one of our amazing trade customers, by buying a pint in a pub, some cans from one of the fantastic independent retailers we supply or from us directly (including our first ever pop up shop in the run up to Christmas!), or simply sharing a post on social media or sending us a message to let us know you’ve enjoyed one of our beers. It genuinely does mean a lot to us.
We’ll be taking on 2024 in our usual fashion – by continuing to make the best beer we can! We’re a team who are genuinely passionate about what we do, and we hope that shines through in what we produce. Our beer plan for next year already contains some very exciting new and returning recipes (did someone say Hop Smash?!) – but do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see, we’d love to hear your ideas!