How two photographers from Dublin set up an exciting brewery project in a Dalston carpark
27th November 2016
Andreas Pettersson from Sweden and Steve Ryan from Kilkenny are two photographers that I got to know when they lived in Dublin. They both upped sticks and moved to London a number of years ago, working on a number of great projects since.
Their 40FT Brewery project was one particular project that I was really impressed with and wanted to find out more so off we went to London to catch up with Andreas and find out how it all works.
Andreas and Ben
40FT was setup by four friends. My app-developer brother Fredrik Pettersson, Diplom Braumeister and our Director of Brewing at the 40FT Ben Ott, Steve (who is also the founder of Root & Bone magazine) and myself.
We had been experimenting with home brewing in our home in London for a number of years and started playing with the idea of scaling up and seeing if we could turn it into a business.
Myself and Steve we’re renting desks at Bootstrap Company, a social enterprise that offers affordable works spaces for startups, small businesses and charities. They had a disused carpark out the back where a small bakery had just set up and we decided that was the place for us.
Setting up in a 40-foot shipping container was the smart way to go for us. For starters, we could easily create the light industrial space we needed and also get cheaper rent. Secondly, given that we have a short rolling lease from the council when the day comes that we need to move on, we can just pick the brewery up, put it on a truck and drive it to a new home.
40FT was and is funded from our own savings, small family loans and a start up business loan from a great organisation called East London Small Business Centre. We registered the business in January 2015 and sold our first pint on the May 1st.
We don't really market 40FT a whole lot. We focus on making beers that people really like. Our social media works really well, helping us find new customers and keeping old customers updated on what we are up to. We find that a lot of our sales are from word of mouth, from people who have like our beers and tell others.
Also, now that we have our tap room, we throw events and we get to meet our customers face to face and that's a great way having a dialogue with them about how we do things and what our plans are.
Space is tight in our containers so we are keeping it simple and scaling patiently. Next year we plan have all core 4 beers in cans, continue to grow and to come over to Dublin in February for a little festive introduction to 40FT.
We’re in no rush.
Things We Like, Things We Learned
What do you wish you knew before you started?
- How the English pub system is run. A lot of the pubs are owned by pub groups that then are tied to a distributor or a brewery.
- The art of dealing with contractors!
- How to handle tax!
What are you glad you didn’t know before starting?
- The sheer amount of time it all takes
- That we would grow so quickly
- That the work load never seems to get any less
What 3 businesses inspire you?
1. The Web Summit
What Paddy and the team have done was amazing for Ireland and the global entrepreneurship scene.
2. Trouble coffee company & Coconut Club - San Francisco.
Never been but love the reason why it exists and how it connects people. Started by a woman called Giulietta Carrelli. The Cafe only sells coffee, cinnamon toasts and coconuts.
People might brush it off as a hipster cafe but its really a beautiful story how Giulietta brought to gather the core things that was important to her and helped her through her schizoaffective disorder, a condition that combines symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolarity.
Being open about her own struggles she to created a space where people feel comfortable to be them self and only sell them the things that helped you.
3. Elon Musk, Tesla, solar city, SpaceX
That man is amazing. They way he can take on the biggest industries and challenge them on so many levels. To have such a strong vision and be able to see new solutions .