Meet Cardiff’s enterprising Crafty Devils
Best friends Rhys Watkins and Adam Edinborough started Crafty Devil Brewing three years ago after being given a tour of the Otley Brewery in Pontypridd.
The pair were inspired by the success of Otley, which Rhys describes as ‘the Godfathers of craft brewing’ and decided to give brewing a go themselves.
From there the dream grew and they went out and bought their very first brew kit, a 100-litre kit, which they hunted down on eBay.
Once they picked up the kit, they got down to work and set-up their first operation from Rhys’ garden shed at his home in a suburb of Cardiff Canton.
They started off selling their beers at local farmer’s markets on weekends but as demand grew, the duo knew they would quickly have to upscale their operation.
Prior to Crafty Devil both Rhys and Adam had successful careers in very different fields. Rhys was a business change and development specialist in the public sector and Adam was a commercial pipefitter working on some of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects.
“We operated from Rhys’ shed for nine months,” Rhys told BQ, “but as demand quickly outstripped demand, we moved to our second site in January 2015.”
This saw the pair invest in their first commercial premises and they moved into their new brew site at Papermill Business Park in early January.
The move into their first bricks and mortar site was a huge step for the guys but one they relished and it proved to be the next stepping stone for the businesses growth.
But one challenge that has continuously thrown a spanner in the works has been that of finance. Being based in Cardiff, Rhys believes, has been a real stumbling block to the pair raising capital.
Rhys added: “We have received no support from any funding bodies mainly due to the fact we are a Cardiff company which seems to translate to the fact that you have money already. Funding in Wales is usually reserved to the poorer areas of the country.
“We initially invested £500 each to fund the business but to further fund our growth we have relied on investment and loans from friends and family plus a crowdfunding campaign where we raised £11,000. We are currently trying to attract private investors.
“We have also been lucky in the fact that we have received mentoring from people we have met on the way, most notably Jeff Smith from Indigo Vision and Big Moose charity, who is both inspirational and very knowledgable.”
And like any craft brewery in the UK, the other challenge they have faced has been competition. Which is no real surprise giving the exponential number of breweries being started up across the UK year-on-year.
However, Rhys believes their USP of ‘striving to create the best beer possible’ has helped them combat this. “Our USP lies in the quality, innovation and branding,” he said. “We strive to make the best beers regardless of cost and we charge what the beer is worth.
“We strive to be one of the most respected brewers in the industry and we feel we are currently on that trajectory. We are always being innovative, you will often find a new beer from us every month. We also feel our brand is getting stronger and becoming more well known by the day.”
It has now been three years since the pair ditched their day-jobs and launched Crafty Devil and they haven’t looked back since. Having moved into their third site, twice the size of their previous premises, they’ve also seen turnover soar and the growth is showing no signs of slowing down.
“We are currently doubling turnover every year, Rhys said. “This year we are about to announce a turnover of circa £350,000, this is £200,000 up on the previous year. As we move forward this is projected to reach circa £500,000 in 2018.
“The brewery has just moved into new premises twice the size of the last. The business also owns the Crafty Devil Cellar Bar and Shop which is now being run as a separate entity to the brewery but under our directorship.
“Looking forward, I think the key to our success will be the continued growth in our local market which will give us a strong foothold in the city we love, we will then look at moving into export and will continue our quest to have a presence in the 10 biggest cities in the UK.”
The pairs three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
We only have one:
Stop thinking about it and just do it!
Published: 27 April 2017
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