In a few days I will be on a flight to New York City with my husband, four suitcases, and two carry-on items. The rest of our indispensable and essential items (this includes our Belgian beer glass collection) will be crammed into a large crate and shipped on a slow cargo ship. The stress of emptying the three-story house we have rented for the past two and a half years and being ruthless about it is something else. Then there’s all the cleaning we have to do after we empty out the house. We are so far behind….
If you’re on the Sacre Brew mailing list, I’ve already explained that I’m leaving the UK and moving back to New York City. I could blame the climate here but the truth is that my parents are octogenarians and I’m their only child. They’re doing alright but can use a bit of help with stuff. And they’re at an age when things can happen very suddenly. I’d rather be nearby than an ocean away, as I realized last December when my father was hospitalized for a week. He’s fine now but my mother didn’t tell me until after he was released and home again.
I thought about keeping Sacre Brew going but after a quick analysis realized that it would be very difficult. It’s one thing to not get paid very much (or not at all, in my case) when you’re busting your ass on the business you own. Finding someone else to do that is absurd. Since the Brexit referendum, everything’s gotten very expensive and complicated. So much so that I probably would have had to close Sacre Brew anyway. I could have cut corners but that’s not my style.
A Sacre Brew supporter, who has been along for the ride for some time and even funded my premises license last year, approached me about the possibility of buying the brewery. Well, we talked about it a bit and he’s got this bunch of friends who are total beer nerds and have always wanted to have their own brewery. I was very open about the costs but also offered suggestions for reducing them. They wanted to keep the brewery in the same premises, which was only a bonus for me, since I wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of moving out. I said I’d talk to the landlord about them taking over the lease – though the landlord is the Wolverhampton City Council and getting through to this particular department has so far been fruitless. We’re hoping if they just keep paying the rent, no one will kick them out. Eventually they’ll have squatter’s rights (does that still exist?).
I was contacted by a few people who wanted to buy my equipment – but only parts of it, and mostly the same bits. It was apparent that selling the equipment off was going to be one big headache. So, to sweeten the deal, I offered to teach the folks who wanted to walk in and take it over how to brew, how to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the equipment, and even gave them some of my recipes – modified for lower costs, of course.
In the end, they decided to go for it and follow their dream. We started “training” in late March and by mid June they were on their own. Their name is Punchline Brewery and I hope you give them a chance. I tried to teach them everything I know! I tried two of the beers we did together last week at my bon voyage party and they were excellent.
As for me, I’m vacillating between paralysis and freakout with all this stuff we have to deal with at home. But once that’s over – and it will be over soon – I’m looking forward to getting back to family and friends in NYC. I fully intend to stay in the beer business; a friend made a business proposition to me which I’ve been researching. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing but I’m confident that something cool and exciting will come together.
Thank you all for your sympathy, feedback, and good loving over the years. I hope my beers gave you a little bit of joy now and again.