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Saracens captain: rugby discipline translates well into Brewing

By Liam Coleman , 14-Feb-2017
Last updated on 17-Feb-2017 at 10:53 GMT2017-02-17T10:53:36Z

Challenges: Wyles (l) and Hargreaves (r) found the transition to brewing 'interesting'
Challenges: Wyles (l) and Hargreaves (r) found the transition to brewing 'interesting'

When former Saracens captain, Alistair Hargreaves, retired from rugby he decided to tackle a new challenge, setting up his own brewery with teammate, Chris Wyles. 

Wolfpack Lager, the speciality of The Wildman Craft Beer Company, is now available in 50 pubs across London. Hargreaves told The Morning Advertiser about how skills learned in rugby have helped him in the brewing industry.

Why did you choose brewing after rugby?

Chris and I were both conscious we couldn't play rugby forever, so we were always looking beyond the field of play. We wanted to move into something that we love and opening our own brewery was pretty close to perfect. Loving beer ourselves and as enthusiastic home brewers, we decided to give it a bash.

Have your rugby skills helped in your new role?

There were little things, the discipline, work ethic and communication skills. Those things are really important when running a business and on the rugby pitch. Chris and I have grown up in team environments so we like being around people and the social aspect of beer is what really attracted us to it.

Beyond that, I guess we are built for manual labour, so the physical side of brewing was never too difficult for us.

And what about the business side of brewing?

Saracens were fantastic in supporting us as we made the transition into our next career. While we were still playing they helped us with training in marketing, product costing and building customer relations because they believe that if you're a more rounded person off the field, you'll be better balanced on the field.

What challenges have you faced?

Our plan to sell lager was a challenge and an opportunity. We saw it as a challenge because lager has a pretty bad reputation in the UK. But it was also a really nice opportunity to pack flavour into a drink that would maintain the drinkability of what lager is all about.

How does it feel to see your lager on tap?

I don't think it's something that I'll ever get sick of. When we first started, we said: “Imagine walking into the pub one day and seeing a stranger drinking a pint of our beer”. To see it growing and to see more people enjoy the drink is an amazing experience.

What are your targets for the future?

We are planning to open a tap room in Queen's Park in west London by May. 

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