MA500

‘I had to go where the beer guys were’ says Hawkes Cider founder

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Trading places: Hawkes opened its venue on the Bermondsey Beer Mile in 2015
Trading places: Hawkes opened its venue on the Bermondsey Beer Mile in 2015

Related tags: Cider

Hawkes Cider moved to the Bermondsey Beer Mile to follow the beer crowd, founder Simon Wright told delegates at The Morning Advertiser’s MA500 conference in London today (13 February).

Wright outlined the challenges and opportunities of operating in the iconic area of the capital at Hilton London Tower Bridge.

He said: “We moved to the area in 2015. Before that, I had a little unit in Forest Gate, east London. I moved to Bermondsey because I knew, as a cider maker, that if I was going to succeed anywhere I had to go where the beer guys were.

“Craft beer has taken off and cider hasn’t really exploded into that area but it is slowly getting there. To succeed, we had to go where the crowds were.”

Pushing weekday sales

When it comes to the busier and quieter times of operating on ‘the mile’ that are a little trickier, footfall from Monday to Friday is an opportunity to tap into.

Hawkes said: “We are really busy on Saturdays and getting a little busier in the week but not that much. We have been talking about how to encourage more people to come to the area outside of a Saturday afternoon. We do 80% of our business on a Saturday.”

The history of the capital is a big draw for people to come to the area, especially when it comes to its beer background.

Beer history

Wright added: “London has always been one of the central points for the brewing industry in the UK. In the early 18th century, the brewing scene was pretty much at the heart of the global brewing industry.

“The people who come to the beer mile are super interested in food and drink. The location is also important because it is easy to get to. The biggest challenge is rent.”

Wright also outlined how while there are plenty of businesses along the mile, there are still opportunities there.

He said: “I was also worried about saturation [of the market] when I moved into the arches in 2015 but we aren’t there yet. The allure of the mile is the railway arches and the mystique of the area makes it come to life.”

Related topics: Cider

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