Dave Grant is the managing director of Aberdeen's only micro-brewery, Fierce Beer, brewing over 50,000 litres of craft beer since ts opening. After starting to brew his own beer from a home brew kit, Dave has seen Fierce Beer grow from strength to strength. He caught up with BQ to tell us more...
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
As there is only three core staff involved in Fierce Beer’s operations, my role can be extremely varied on a daily basis.
As well as brewing, bottling and labelling the beers, I’m also heavily involved in the creation of the flavours for the different brews we deliver.
From hosting tap takeovers in numerous bars across the UK, to attending high-profile festivals and local farmers markets, to collaborating with craft beer giants and European breweries, there’s a lot to do at Fierce Beer. That’s not to mention all the operational work like orders and admin that I need to do too.
What is it the company does?
Fierce Beer is Aberdeen’s only micro-brewery, specialising in pack-a-punch full of flavour craft beer. We launched the micro-brewery in May this year, and have now brewed over 50,000 litres of beer since, bottling over 80,000 bottles by hand.
The company started as a home brew kit and is now a fully functioning micro-brewery with six fermenting tanks - two of which have already been upgraded to larger tanks due to demand- an in-house bottling machine, and an in-house labeling machine.
We’ve had quite a few international orders go our recently to Belgium and Japan, and we’ve just sent out second pallet to Holland too. Our beers are now also available in every city in the UK.
We’ve collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry and continue to collaborate with breweries from across Europe, eventually venturing into more international waters.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I come from an oil and gas background, having travelled and lived in some of the most incredible places across the world.
However, I have always had a strong passion for brewing and have always been interested in the idea of brewing my own beer.
Last year I started to brew my own beer with our home brew kit. We shared the brews with friends and family who seemed to love it. We then gave the beers to some local bars and restaurants that were desperate to stock it, and as a result of this reaction, Fierce was born.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Having clear targets and communicating them well. Inspiring your team to exceed expectations by showing that you care about them and growing and developing them throughout their career too.
Also, never compromising or saying, “That will do”.
Be your own worst critic and never drop your standards. The customer is king so if you aren’t happy with the product how can you expect your customer to be. I would rather start the whole process of creating a beer again than putting out a beer I wasn’t 110% happy with.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Managing growth. As we are a small business it can sometimes be challenging balancing cash flow and weighing up the need to invest in expansion. We have big plans for the brewery but it’s important to invest in things at the best time possible.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
By spending time with our clients and customers at meet the brewer events and catching up with industry peers at festivals and other events. Listening to client feedback is critical, and if that can be done over a beer or two, even better.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A pilot. I used to watch some amazing aircraft shows with my plane-daft father at Prestwick airport as a child. It looked like a great thing to do, and was extremely exciting to experience. I especially wanted to fly a Vulcan.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
Untidiness, as I like things to be where they should be. I like to think we have the brewery ready and pristine for visitors at all times, and when there is mess made, it’s cleaned up straight away. I spend time each day making sure it looks good and that it is clean and tidy. You never know who might just pop in.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
I’d love to see Fierce take on the international market, break Europeand push into the American market. Obviously it’s important that we walk before we can run, but I’d like us to be a recognisable brand within the UK and Europe in the near future.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Think hard about what you want to do in life, as you one have one. If you really want to start-up your own business and have a great idea, then do it. It is better to try, than to regret or not do something you would love to do.
Outside of that, ensure you do thorough market research, create a top quality product and have great PR and marketing.