Nothing to say, yet
Barry Flanagan, the owner of a brew pub in County Kildare, finds inspiration for new ideas by observing products in stores and online. He looks for opportunities to improve existing products or create new ones based on market trends. His pub serves as a testing ground for new products, receiving feedback from staff and customers. To fund his ventures, Flanagan has obtained grants from the local enterprise office, with the canning machine and bottle filling machine both being 50% funded. He also discusses the importance of having an exit plan for his businesses, particularly with regards to involving future generations and potential investments. The Kombucha Brewery, a separate company, aims to become the top functional healthy drinks beverage company in Europe. Flanagan is open to bringing in new investors to help grow the business. What inspires you to get ideas, and where do you source them? What inspires me is to, I suppose, see ideas that are, whether they're online, whether they're in stores, but also, I suppose, a drive that I would have is to see a product that's either on shelves or in store that I could make better, or I see a market for it then as well. Maybe to put my own bit of research behind it, put my own slant on it with the team that we have. Where we probably get a lot of our ideas, we're actually quite lucky that we have a pub, that we have customers coming through the door that are driving market trends before they're in reports, so we don't have to wait for three months later for, be it Insight reports or Mintel reports, we actually see the actual market trends happen there then before they're documented. So any reports that I see, I've actually probably been, it's historical data where we're able to validate, we're able to test new products, whether it be a new flavour of kombucha, whether it be a new beer, whether it be a completely new product, we're able to actually test that with our staff first and foremost. If it clears stage one, as we call it, of our staff, then it goes on to stage two, that we're able to put it out into the marketplace within our own pub, and then test it with customers, and they'll give us genuine feedback then as well. So the inspiration comes from the whole world that's around us. Obtain grants or funds, or your capital, in order to start up your ventures. Yeah, so luckily enough, Insight and Lab13, our canning machine, has been 50% funded by the local enterprise office, it's a very, very simple procedure, there's a lot of, I suppose, it's online that you can do the application then as well, you need to put your business plans, you need to put your forecast in, but once you've kind of done one application, and they know you as a client, it kind of becomes a little bit more streamlined then as well. So then when we moved out to the Kombucha Brewery, which is the new 4,000 litre brewery, we ended up looking for finance, as in not finance, grant funding from the local enterprise office for our bottle filling machine. So everything else in the brewery is actually self-financed through cash flow, so I don't owe anything to the banks, but the bottle filling machine has been 50% funded from the local enterprise office then as well. And that's the same thing, just another application that they go in, you need to justify, well why should they spend money with you, when there's other people looking for the money, but you just go in front of them and you tell them your story, you tell them where the potential is, what you want to do, and where you want to go, and then obviously with the concrete evidence that you're going to do what you say you're going to do, then they'll be able to buy your funding then as well, so you pitch your business to them then as well. So as I said, thankfully we haven't got funding from any banks in recent times, but that's not saying that now as we get bigger that we won't. Barry, thank you for all this today, but I'm not finished yet. I'm wondering, do you have an exit plan in general, or harvesting your business, where does that leave you? Yeah, so it's where you put all this hard work in and you realise you can get away from it, but then ultimately building these businesses up, you need to think about an exit plan. So because the two companies in Salins, the brew pub and the brewery, are family owned businesses as well, I'm conscious that I'm a younger generation coming up, a five year old and a three year old, so I want to be able to be in a position to be, and they might not want to go into it, but the exit plan there is to keep the ship a rolling until they're of an age that they make the decision to either want to go into the business or not. With Kombucha Brewery, that is going to be its own separate company, where I will be able to have that outside of the family jewels as I call it, outside of the family companies, where I will be able to target investments coming into the Kombucha Brewery. But the Kombucha Brewery alone isn't just going to do Kombucha, we'd like to be the number one functional healthy drinks beverage company in Europe, so we have a team of seven people currently working in the Kombucha Brewery, so it doesn't necessarily mean, as I said, that we have to do Kombucha, we can do non-alcoholic sodas, probiotic sodas, we can do water kefir, we can do tonic waters, something that will add a benefit to someone that actually purchases, that's health conscious or wants an extra boost. So exit strategy there is that in two years' time, we predict that we'll be doing three million euros of sales, and obviously I need to justify that there's a wage of me running it that can be absorbed inside the business. But if someone turned around to me come say 2025 and decided they wanted to put a heap of change into it, I'd be very much open to it. It's not where I want complete control of the business, I want 100% of it as it is, it's a minute book to invite new investors in, that might be able to run it better than me or take it to the next level. I'm very comfortable with that position and I could be an advisor of it or if they wanted to get rid of me, if they wanted to give me a lot of money, I'd be happy to leave them at it. But it's where, yeah, by 2025, I would envisage that in the pro-culture aspect of the business, that matters. Thanks Barry, that was Heidi Flanagan interviewing Barry Flanagan, first cousin who owns the only brew pub entrepreneur in County Kildare.