Located in the heart of Birmingham's creative district, Clink is fast becoming one of the city’s most popular new craft beer venues. BQ found out why…
Tell us how Clink came about – what inspired you to launch the business and why did you choose to setup shop in the Custard Factory?
Clink was started by three friends, Richard Sadler, David Purcell and James Beckett. We all work together in an office located just a few minutes away from the custard factory. We're all keen beer drinkers and prior to starting Clink we went out drinking regularly.
During one of those sessions we thought about starting our own craft beer place and one thing led to another and we were suddenly in the process of opening our own place.
The custard factory location was chosen due to the fact that we really like the Digbeth area, there are some great places around such as the Mockingbird Theatre, Yumm Cafe and the Digbeth Dining Club is just around the corner. It's also convenient for us to get to and from our day jobs.
What is your USP? What makes you stand out to customers?
Our unique selling point was that we offered a cross between a bottle shop and a bar. There are a couple great places to drink craft beer in Birmingham City Centre but we wanted to provide a service so people could choose from a huge selection of craft beer to take home.
Did you receive any support when starting out in terms of advice or funding? How did you finance it?
We financed Clink ourselves with a bit of help from our families. We initially massively underestimated the cost it would take to open but luckily we got there in the end.
The first year in business is always a challenge for start-ups – did you encounter any specific challenges in particular? If so, how did you overcome them?
There's been no real challenges so far, it's been tough but we have some amazing customers who have supported us along the way. There's been quiet periods but so far we've managed to get through it. I suppose a general challenge has been building the relationships with breweries and suppliers so that they trust we'll look after their beer - and pay them on time!
What lessons have you learned since opening the business?
That things always cost more than you think they will! Also if you look after your customers they'll always try and help you out.
How much has it grown since its launch?
We haven’t grown in terms of staff size but the size of our shop/bar has grown. We were originally only in a small unit but after four month we were in the position to be able to expand into the unit next door which has now opened up and offers a lot more seating for our customers.
What do you put your early success down to?
It's hard to tell. I think our customers can see that we just really like beer and we're always happy to share a drink with them which they seem to like. We've made a lot of friends since we opened Clink which has been really good.
What are your plans for the future, where do you see the business going forward?
At the moment we're just concentrating on getting the expanded clink the way we want it, we've started organising events such as beer tastings and tap takeovers and it's something we're keen to do even more of.
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