Rotherham entrepreneurs raise the bar when it comes to pub snacks

Two Rotherham-based entrepreneurs hope to grab a piece of the lucrative pub sandwich market after successfully reinventing the humble pork rind.

John Walker and David Mace launched their pub snack business, Beerpig, in November 2019. Despite losing their entire customer base due to the pandemic just four months into their business journey, today, Beerpig’s tasty pork cracklings Beerpig, sold hot straight from the bar, can be found in over 250 pubs and clubs across the UK.

Insurance broker John came up with the idea of ​​producing warm pork rinds when he decided to conduct an experiment at home. To his surprise, John discovered that the process of heating the greaves improved their flavour, and after sharing his discovery with friends, the Wickersley entrepreneur decided to explore setting up a business to sell warm greaves to the pub industry.

Central to Beerpig’s growth plans was the creation of a bespoke warming cabinet, allowing pubs to sell hot cracklings. At the same time, John embarked on a quest to design and create the perfect pork crackling that was suitable for heating, had the required shelf life, and met all food safety standards. Armed with some Beerpig Crackling samples and some business cards, John and David ventured out to visit several local pubs and secured their first orders.

Since each heating unit required a significant investment, John knew that the key to business success would be securing repeat orders. He also recognized that by serving the pork rinds on washable porcelain plates, he would also help reduce single-use plastic or cardboard.

However, John and David also knew that to build and grow the business they would need extra help and turned to Launchpad, a free business support program aimed at helping new entrepreneurs and SMEs in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw realize their potential.

Working with experienced business consultant Darren McDool, John and David realized it was vital to protect the Beerpig name and successfully secured a trademark to protect their unique brand. Together they developed a short-term and long-term business plan that set out the company’s ambitious growth plans for the next six months and over the next three years – the six-month short-term goals were successfully achieved in just six weeks of operations. . With Darren’s help, Beerpig moved from John’s head office to Rotherham’s Fusion Business Center in Templeborough within the first month.

During this time, John and David also participated in a series of free workshops provided by Launchpad, giving them the confidence to create and develop their own website from scratch, further protect their brand, and learn how to market their products further. effectively.

Poised to enjoy a significant period of expansion and growth, disaster struck just four months into Beerpig’s trading journey, as the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the pub industry from opening. Overnight the company lost its entire customer base and with Beerpig’s headquarters full of cracklings, John and David realized they needed to diversify their business model. They quickly reworked their plans and began selling shares online through their website and Amazon, immediately receiving rave reviews from pork scraper fans across the UK.

Recognizing the challenges the hospitality industry faced during the lockdown, John and David worked closely with their pub patrons, replacing all snacks that had reached their expiry date completely free of charge. Since the reopening of the hospitality industry, Beerpig has enjoyed a significant period of growth, with the number of pubs stocking its wares rising from just 30 in January 2020 to over 300 today. Beerpig sells a tonne of Beerpig Pork Crackling to pubs and clubs across the UK every week, and the company hopes to expand its pub operations to over 1,000 outlets by the end of 2023.

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John Walker, co-founder of Beerpig, said: “Grinds are the most popular pub snack in the UK, but despite their popularity, the way they are sold today has hardly changed since they were first developed almost 200 years. I felt that selling warm pork rinds would be something that would be popular with drinkers, so after adapting and perfecting our recipe, we quickly started getting regular orders; however, when Covid-19 hit, we were forced to completely re-evaluate our business model. Imagine starting a new business selling to pubs and bars only for ALL of them to be forced to close their doors in a matter of weeks.

“We reached out to Launchpad for help quite early in our business journey and Darren and the team have been incredibly supportive. We knew that for our business to be successful it was important to get everything right from day one. Tip One The one we received helped us get our terms and conditions right, protect our brand, and refine our business plans.The workshops we attended helped us build our customer base, grow our online presence, and understand what it takes to running a successful business Launchpad has provided a constant source of support throughout our business journey, and the help we have received has allowed us to not only believe in our ideas, but also lay the groundwork for significant future growth.”

Launchpad Advisor Darren McDool added: “Beerpig is an exciting company with a bright future ahead of it. Like any true entrepreneur, John and David spotted new opportunities when faced with adversity, and despite being forced to radically transform their original plans, almost overnight they were able to adapt their business model and take advantage of new ways to generate revenue. for business.

“Building a strong brand can be an important way to distinguish your services from the competition. John and David knew they were entering an incredibly competitive industry and recognized the importance of distinguishing their products from others. Crucially, they also knew that was vital to protecting their brand and spent time successfully registering their company name and logo, as well as developing custom equipment to heat their products, as well as getting their terms and conditions right from the first day they started trading. not only help new entrepreneurs understand what it takes to build and grow a successful business, but also help them create strong foundations, paving the way for future growth.”

Beer Pig website
Launchpad website

Images: SCR Launchpad

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