Where to begin? It certainly feels like we have all been teleported into some dystopian future but the crazy thing is, this ‘new norm’ has now become our reality. It’s been a while since we’ve given you a round up of all the things that have been happening at The Grumpy Goat and we thought the start of 2022 would be a good time to reflect on everything that we have achieved through these challenging times and give you a snap shot of what the future might hold for us.
We found a new home
In late 2020 (when we were deep in the realms of the Pandemic) we were fortunate enough to move into a bigger premises on Union St (Smelly Alley). We had outgrown our small unit in the Harris Arcade and had been on the look out for something bigger for a little while when we stumbled across our new unit. We were super excited about the premises from the very first moment we stepped through the door for a number of reasons, it had a great layout, a fantastic location and the extra space for our business to grow into (giving us potential to grow our range of cheese, craft beer and spirits and the opportunity to try out new things). Moving a business during a Pandemic seems like a a pretty crazy thing to do when there is so much uncertainty but the reality has been really positive.
Rebrand, half goat, half man
If we take a look at the positives of the Pandemic we would have to say it gave us the opportunity to stop (momentarily) and reflect. A rebrand of our beloved goat character seemed like a good idea and while we were giving him a bit of a make over it also seemed like a good idea to invest in our website to give it a fresh look and make it more user friendly. Our first initial step when planning the rebrand was to find designers that we felt comfortable with and who were able to understand our brief in order to maximise the brands potential. We reached out to a few design agencies but eventually settled on a company in Manchester called Glorious Creative. They impressed us with their fun, slightly quirky, yet professional approach when they pitched their ideas to us. We worked with the guys at Glorious over Zoom (which many of us have become familiar with), which I guess we can say this is another positive of the Pandemic as we may not have considered using a design company so far away if we had our pre-pandemic heads on. We truly had a great experience working with Glorious Creative to give The Grumpy Goat a fresh new look and we hope you like what we’ve come up with?
In the last year we have managed to expand our little goat team, which now makes a total of seven. Charlie, Anne-Marie, Eve, Andy, Richard, Cary and Millie. Everyone brings something different to the table and we are super proud of everyone’s determination and hard work (especially during our frantic Christmas period where our cheesemonging skills are put to the ultimate test) in helping The Grumpy Goat to grow and expand in many new directions while delivering excellent customer service.
The World Cheese Awards
In November 2021 Charlie and myself (Anne-Marie) were invited as guest judges at The World Cheese Awards which took place in northern Spain (Oviedo). This was both of our third time judging in the annual awards, where we have previously judged in London in 2017 and Italy (Bergamo) in 2019. Judging at the awards is huge honour and it gives us the opportunity to meet other cheese specialists from around the World while learning about new and exciting developments in the cheese World.
Can you believe our silly little business turned 8 in December 2021?! We really deliberated about how we should celebrate our Birthday with it being in December and Covid still being very much a risk. Eventually we settled on the idea of celebrating by inviting a DJ to set up in the shop (Dave Crocker) and offering our lovely supporters and customers a free beer and a mince pie. We felt confident in doing so as our new unit has bi-fold doors which open up the whole front of the shop, so people could just grab a drink and stand out in the open air. A huge thank you to everyone that wrapped up warm and celebrated with us, it felt truly magical and the perfect way to celebrate our birthday considering everything that was going on with the Pandemic. It’s certainly been a rough ride for businesses over the last few years and we couldn’t be happier that we reached our 8th Birthday! A heartfelt and huge thank you to each every one of you that have supported us and kept our spirits high.
Events have always been a big part of The Grumpy Goat and it feels fantastic to be able to hold them on our own turf. Since we have relocated to Union St we have hosted an array of events including, a beer and chocolate pairing, a wine tasting (local producers), gin tasting and we now host a monthly beer club which takes place on the last Sunday of each month. Our new website has an events section, so please check this regularly for updates. This month we are hosting a charity 5k run in collaboration with Big Drop Brewing Co to raise money for Reading Refugee Support Group. The cost of the ticket is £5 which goes straight to charity and you get a free pint of Big Drop beer (alcohol free) at the end of the run. Lots of people have already signed up but you still have time to sign up if you would like to get involved.
January can be a tough time for some but I also think it can be great time to plan and look ahead. In 2021 we had hoped to open our small bar/ taproom above the shop but with the complexities of Covid we decided that 2022 would be a better year to make it happen. Our aim is to have it open by Easter, but we’ll keep you posted on this one. At present we already run a local delivery service (deliveries on Wednesdays and Saturdays) but our aim for 2022 is to see us shipping nationally. This is a project we have been working on for a little while and we should should see this come to fruition in the very near future. Our craft beer festival Craft Theory which we co-organise with South Street Arts Centre will return this year (dates to be announced soon) and we are super excited to make it a spectacular event especially when the last one took place in 2019! Here’s to a year of great festivals and fun!!!
It appears that we’ve had a lot to say (I could of written more) and we thank you for taking the time to read our recap of whats been happening and what the future may hold for The Grumpy Goat. We also cannot thank you enough for your continued support over the last 8 years and even more so over the last couple of years as it’s not been an easy time for anyone. But we can promise you this, that our 2022 calendar will packed full of things for you to enjoy, get involved in and put a smile on your face. Here’s to a positive, happy and silly 2022.