Continuing our Start Your Own series, we interviewed Jesse and Tom, co-founders of Jubel, to find out what it takes to quit your job and start brewing your own beer!
We stumbled upon a dangerously refreshing beer tradition at a ski bar in the Alps but couldn’t find anything like it back home. We spent our evenings and weekends learning how to brew and ended up using the rest of our student loans to brew 5,000 bottles and said if we sold them at an iconic music festival we’d quit our jobs to do it full-time.
And somehow we did!
Jubel is a naturally infused and unpasteurised peach or elderflower lager that is gluten-free and vegan. At 4% ABV it is light, refreshing and perfectly balanced.
What inspired you to start Jubel?
Jubel was the style of beer we wanted to drink that no one brewed and that was why we started brewing. We both had corporate jobs that we didn’t exactly love and were keen to give our own business a go. We felt like if we didn’t do it while we were young we’d regret it for the rest of our careers.
What skills have helped you grow your business?
Pretty much everyone says no; suppliers, customers, investors.
We’ve had to learn not to take no’s for an answer because there’s a lot of them. We’ve also been fairly relentless about perfecting our product and I don’t think we’d be growing like we are if we didn’t have a product that people love. When people told us it would be really hard work they weren’t wrong, but we absolutely love it and it feels like a full-time hobby.
What have you learnt about the launch period of a business?
Naturally people don’t seem to trust new products or brands so the most important thing is getting credibility. Showing your product sells well to one customer makes the second more willing to take it on. Having one investor makes a second more likely to invest. Proving you have demand for your product makes a bigger supplier more willing to work with you. Getting as many little case studies to give us credibility was really important in the early days.
What skills did you come to the business with already?
Jesse was on the grad scheme at Mars as the Maltesers Brand Manager so brought some marketing experience with him, as well as previous internships with AB InBev and PwC so a smattering of beer and finance knowledge too. Tom was in sales at FTSE so between us we had a pretty good balance of finance, marketing and sales.
How do you see bloggers / online influencers potentially helping your brand in future?
It feels harder for brands to earn people’s trust these days and traditional marketing and advertising doesn’t seem to cut it. Bloggers and influencers are huge in helping a brand build credibility when they’re being authentic and genuinely like something enough to share it with others.
It’s just classic word of mouth marketing that technology has helped to amplify.
What’s the most challenging thing about setting up your own business?
We sat down on day one and had no idea what to do. You don’t know half the questions to ask let alone the answers. In a normal job you usually have a manager or colleague to help out when you’re new and clueless but not when it’s just yourselves. Getting over all these hurdles was fairly tricky but if you’re willing to ask the stupid questions there’s a lot of people out there who are happy to help.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started?
If we had known back then what we know now I don’t think it would’ve been as fun.
It wouldn’t have felt much like an adventure if we knew what we were doing.
That’s been one of the most challenging but most enjoyable parts of it; there’s loads we don’t know and every day is different but that makes it exciting.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is thinking about creating their own products?
Probably to make sure there’s a market for it. We used a small amount of savings and the rest of our student loans to learn how to brew and brewed a 5,000 bottle run to test at a music festival to see whether anyone wanted to drink our beer. We sold out and people loved the beer so it gave us the confidence to quit our jobs and go for it.