DROPPING the alcohol, not the flavour – that’s the mantra of The Drop Bear Beer Co. a new brewery that brings female chutzpah to the male-dominated world of brewing.
Founded in Mumbles earlier this year by ‘Melburnian’ Sarah McNena, and ‘Swansea Jack’ Joelle Drummond, Drop Bear’s non-alcoholic beer is already making waves.
A decidedly Welsh-Australian enterprise, the brewery’s quirky name has antipodean roots along with a personal connection for the couple, who met in Sarah’s native Australia.
Explains Sarah, “The Drop Bear is essentially a bit of fun Australians have with visitors. Tourists are told to look out for this mythical koala bear dropping on them from the trees – and Joelle fell for the joke too!”
The pair aim to ‘disrupt’ the traditional view of the non-alcoholic beer market, and have successfully produced 100% natural beverages that are below 0.5% ABV, vegan-friendly, low calorie, low sugar, and additive-free.
At 0.3 ABV Tropical IPA is – as its name suggests – ‘tropical, fruity, and sessionable’, while the 0.4 ABV Yuzu Pale Ale is ‘fruity, tart, and fresh’. They will be joined this autumn by Drop Bear’s stout which promises to be ‘dark, edgy, and packing a’tude.’
At 25 and 27 respectively, Joelle and Sarah are at the heart of the healthy lifestyle-conscious millennial market they want to capture.
Says Joelle, “We want to prove that real beer doesn’t need alcohol to have fun, and we aren’t scared to push boundaries. We are millennials, and they are the fastest growing demographic. They and we want something with more kick and excitement, and a brand they can relate to.”
Likewise, female empowerment Joelle says is at the core of Drop Bear’s ethos, and the pair are keen to champion women in what is a predominantly male-dominated arena.
“We are the only alcohol-free craft beer company in the UK that’s run by women.”
Local government project manager Sarah, and former French and Italian translator Joelle, began their brewing journey in their kitchen.
Apart from Sarah having previously made some homebrew, the pair were complete novices when it came to creating a craft beer – but they knew what they wanted to achieve.
Says Joelle, “We started with a big saucepan, a jam thermometer, and a load of grain and gave it a go!”
By trial and error “there were long nights and an exploding fermenter”, the pair eventually came up with recipes they liked – and enlisted the help of experts in the industry to ensure their beers would pass muster in the highly competitive brewing sector.
Explains Sarah, “As we don’t have a brewing background, we contacted a master brewer and sommelier who looked at our recipes and gave us advice.”
Only a couple of months into production and Drop Bear beers are already making significant in-roads with a Michelin-starred restaurant a customer, and the opportunity to showcase their beer at an event in the House of Commons. Also, the beers are available to buy online from www.drydrinker.com.
However, without the current capacity to brew on a commercial scale at home, for now, Drop Bear beers are produced in Yorkshire, but the plan is to bring the whole process to Wales as soon as possible.
Says Joelle, “We want to show what Wales and women have to offer in the brewing industry.”
Joelle and Sarah have been helped in their brewing adventure by Cywain – a Menter a Busnes delivered project that supports the development of growth orientated businesses in the food and drink sector in Wales.
Says Joelle, “Cywain has been great, especially with networking opportunities and advice on running the financial side of the business. They have run a number of workshops and 1-2-1 sessions covering a range of topics such as sales, distribution channels, and business health.
“All of this is provided free of charge, which I’m sure you can understand is key for a business in its early days. Cywain are also just generally lovely people and we look forward to attending a number of events with them in the near future!”
Says Cywain Development Manager, Nerys Adams, “”It’s been great working with Joelle and Sarah over the past couple of months and seeing massive progression in such a short space of time. The girls have taken full advantage of the support on offer from Cywain attending a finance surgery, a sales and marketing workshop to name but a few.
They are working very hard to establish themselves in a male dominated sector and I’m excited to see what happens next for them. I’m sure they’re going to make a great success of the business and I’m delighted that Cywain is playing a part in helping them achieve their ambitions”.
Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre
LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.
In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.
This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.
RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”
“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”
“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”
“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”
“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”
“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”
Beware of fake E.ON refund emails, warns Action Fraud
ACTION FRAUD – the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime – has said scammers are impersonating Eon in an attempt to steal the recipient’s money and financial details.
The UK’s energy crisis has seen household utility bills rocket following the price cap increase this April, scammers are seeing this as an opportunity to fleece unsuspecting residents out of their hard-earned cash.
Action Fraud said today it has received 449 relating to fake emails – known as phishing – purporting to come from E.ON.
The emails state that the recipient is owed an £85 refund due to an ‘overcharge’.
Action Fraud has said the links to the emails lead to a ‘genuine-looking website’ but they are designed to steal a personal details.
Phishing is a method used by scammers, using fake emails or web links which look trustworthy and familiar, to gain access to sensitive information such as passwords and bank details or to infect your device with malware.
Phishing emails are a very common type of cyber attack and because they’re made to look like they’re from an official source, they’re easy to fall victim of.
They could be from a business you’re a customer of – your gas and electricity supplier, for example – asking you to manage your account or pay a bill.
If you’ve had a suspicious email from someone claiming to be from E.ON, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org for their cyber security team to investigate, if you’re a customer or not, and then delete it immediately.
Email safety tips
E.ON has listed four things you can check if you’ve received an email claiming to be from us.
- Check the sender’s address
The senders email address may look trustworthy at first, but the name after the ‘@’ (the domain) can give you a clue as to whether it’s bogus. For example if the email is sent from: @eonHelpDeskUK.com, this is likely a malicious phishing attempt, as we’d only send emails from @eonenergy.com.
- Is the greeting personal?
A genuine email will address you by your full name, and not a generic term like ‘sir’, ‘madam’, or ‘loyal customer’.
- Be cautious
If you’re using a mouse, hover over any links you’re unsure of before clicking on them, just to see if the link address looks genuine. If you’re unsure, go to the website directly instead of using the link in the email.
- How does it look?
Check the grammar, tone and design of any emails which you receive. Look out for inconsistent fonts, unusual characters and punctuation.
Remember, if you’re unsure, forward the email to email@example.com and our cyber security team will investigate.
Ownership change for 200-year old hotel in Llanelli hotel following significant funding deal
A 200-YEAR-OLD hotel in Llanelli is set to get a new lease of life after its new owners secured significant funding from NatWest.
Nickesha Graham-Burrell and Balfour Burrell obtained a £420k funding package from the bank to purchase The Ashburnham Hotel in Pembrey following the retirement of its previous owners.
The Burrells plan to strengthen the impressive reputation and operation of the £650,000 annual turnover business including considerable investment in landscaping and internal refurbishments at the seven-acre site, and a future vision to add guest lodges to the grounds.
The couple also plans to improve sustainability by installing electric vehicle charging points on-site.
Balfour, a former construction project manager, will take over as general manager. All current staff will be retained as part of the changing of hands, while the new owners hope to create more jobs in the local area as the business expands.
Built as an independent inn in the early 1800s to provide accommodation for businesspeople in the area, the hotel inherits its name from the Earl of Ashburnham, who lived at Pembrey house until the 1920s. Most notably, the property accommodated aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart for an overnight stay following her transatlantic flight in 1928, where she became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
The deal was completed in March 2022 and secured the freehold of the hotel alongside all existing furniture and fittings. Jo McCarthy, commercial finance broker at B2B Finance, Andrew Styles, business development manager and Paul Dunne, relationship manager, both at NatWest, supported the transaction.
Nickesha said: “Ashburnham Hotel is an extremely important business in the local area and sits in idyllic surroundings close to Pembrey Country Park and Ashburnham golf course. It is rich in history and still plays a huge part in the local community offering everything from weddings to business meetings and dining opportunities.
“The hotel has seen many changes over the years and will undergo internal and external refurbishment to create a sophisticated and luxurious feel. We’re excited about the future of the business and are committed to ensuring it remains authentic as the operation expands.”
Paul Dunne, Relationship Manager at NatWest for Carmarthenshire, said: “Working with Nickesha and the team to secure this funding package has been a pleasure. I am confident the funds provided by NatWest will help to inject refreshed life back into the much-loved hotel and encourage additional employment opportunities in the area.
“The hospitality sector has faced a particularly challenging time on a national scale, however, SMEs such as The Ashburnham Hotel will play a huge role in our economic recovery and Natwest is delighted to support this venture.”
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