And so there we were, sitting on the wooden benches outside Uncle Merv’s on the streets of Maboneng. It was a Saturday afternoon in late 2012. It was hot.
We were there to pitch. The head honchos of the Maboneng Precinct were there to listen.
“So, are you beer drinkers”, we asked as we kicked things off.
“Um no”, “Not really”, “More of wine a drinker myself” were the replies.
This was not the perfect start.
We were there to sell our vision of a microbrewery in Maboneng, in the heart of the city. After falling in love with the area, we desperately wanted our brewery to be located within the precinct.
It just felt right.
We had done our homework. We had sourced equipment, finalised the business model and developed our first beers. But we needed their buy in to finalise the site for the brewery, to make our dream a reality. There was a lot riding on this.
We had come prepared with a whole bunch of marketing material for the pitch. Posters, hand outs, glasses and, of course, beers.
After introducing them to the brand and the vision, it was time for the tasting. We took out some of the ice cold bottles from our cooler box which we had brought along, and proceeded to pour them into our distinctive SMACK! glass snifters. They instantly fell in love with the glasses.
“Wow I have never drank beer out of that type of a glass!” was a remark.
We looked on as they took their first sips. Five of them, three of us. It felt like an episode of Dragons Den. We waited for a response.
Finally, the head of the head honchos piped up, “Shit, this is fantastic! So different to your typical everyday beer. I love it!”
Other comments from the other head honchos followed, “Beautiful aroma” “Complex flavours” “It has lower carbonation than normal beers, I don’t feel so bloated”.
We went on to explain what the difference is between lagers and ales, and how different flavours and aromas are achieved. We highlighted that good craft beer can be appreciated in the same way that whisky and wine is. They listened intently, absorbing everything we said. The cloak of the fizzy light lager was being lifted. They were being enlightened.
They loved it. We loved it. They were sold.
We ended the afternoon by heading to their office within the precinct to sign the papers in order to finalise the agreement. Emblazoned across the walls of the office was the mantra that they subscribe to…
We put pen to paper and finally SMACK! Republic Brewing Co was born! We gazed up at the words on the wall… and everything seemed to fit.