Giving up a well-paid job to work all week without a break – often putting in 16 hours a day – might not seem a favourable option to many.
But Richard Muir, owner of Muirhouse Brewery in the Manners Industrial Estate, says he is living out his dream.
After last week’s article on Nutbrook Brewery in West Hallam, I visited Richard’s modest business unit to see another example of a succesful microbrewery in Ilkeston.
“Last night I was here until 10pm and I was in at 6am,” he explained.
“It’s not usually that long but I’m here everyday, even Saturdays and Sundays.
“I love it because you’re doing it for yourself and you make all the decisions – right or wrong.
“But when you walk in a pub and see someone enjoying your beers, it gives you a real buzz.” And when he says he makes all the decisions, he isn’t joking – it’s a one-man operation with wife Mandy often giving a helping hand.
Richard, 41, barely spent a penny in two years and took out a small loan to move in to the unit, which was the former home of Blue Monkey brewery – the most succesful brewery to come out of Ilkeston in recent years.
Unlike other breweries, Richard makes his beers to order and has more than 20 on the books.
He supplies pubs locally, including the Gate Inn in Awsworth and the Five Lamps in Derby, but he said picking good pubs is key.
“You’ve got to put beers into the right pubs,” he said.
“If you supply a new pub without seeing it first, you don’t know how they’re going to sell your product.
“I like to go in without them knowing, have a pint and check whether they’re clenaing their pipes.
“It’s like any business – you’ve got to build up a good relationship.”
Like at Nutbrook, Richard said diversifying and offering more to the customers is part of the key to success.
He frequently shows beer enthusiasts around the brewery and has teamed up with offers website Groupon.
Erewash MP Jessica Lee visited Richard, of Long Eaton, earlier this year.
“Like any starting small company, there comes that life-changing decision to stop working full-time, invest in the business and, basically, go for it,” she said.
“Richard, with the support of his family, decided to do this and now the brewery goes from strength to strength.
“He is a real inspiration, always using local produce where he can.
“With the pub and brewing industry worth £22.7m to the Erewash economy and sustaining around 1,700 jobs, it is vital that we continue to show our support to people like Richard and his family.”