‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them’
‘Have you seen that Tweet? Who are Clink?’
A movement or scene is often started by dreamers, people with an idea and a passion, and the courage to try to make them come true. Others may follow suit, each with their own dreams, and the courage to pursue them.
Now in Birmingham, like most cities we suppose, there is a low-level swirl of rumours around the beer scene over who is doing what; most famous or maybe infamous, being that of Birmingham Tap, (similar to Euston Tap) is going to open soon…for the last 2-3 years. So in mid-July a tweet declared that ‘Clink’, a new bottle shop and tap-room, would be opening at The Custard Factory in Digbeth. We had people getting in touch with us asking if we knew who was behind it, the short answer being, not a clue. Out of nowhere a new venue was opening a few minutes’ walk from the Bullring. To quote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid “Who are those guys?” So one wet Monday evening we went along to find out…
Our first question was who are these courageous souls, who are brave enough to pursue their dreams? The guys in question are Richard Sadler (no relation to the Black Country brewers of the same name), James Beckett, and David Purcell; 3 colleagues who work together at Fazeley Studios and spent time together drinking in the bars of Birmingham.
We met with Richard and James to learn more.
Dave – So how did you get into beer?
Richard: I’ve been interested in beer since I was old enough to drink. About three years ago I got turned on to craft beer thanks to Brewdog and cold fresh Punk IPA. I had always liked beer but when I tried that, it was on another level, and I started thinking, where can I get more? As I got more and more in to it I become more passionate.
James: I became a more selective drinker, after growing up drinking lager, thanks to a family friend that started Northern Monk in Leeds. They have also proved helpful in providing advice once we’d decided to open our bar.
David: I grew up in Hereford and was a real ale drinker from the start, especially Wye Valley as they were local. I even had a few of the seasonal specials with a nettle beer being one that still lives large in the memory. My epiphany beer was Steph Weiss by And Union in Munich which in a roundabout way led me to discover Cotteridge Wines and their huge selection of beers…
Dream Becomes Reality
We asked the guys how Clink went from dream to reality, and the answer was beautiful in is simplicity;
While working together we were all just batting the idea around jokingly really, and it just spiralled out of control. And we went into it head first. It all happened really quickly.
They had discussed their passion for beer, including their admiration for places like Cotteridge Wines, and dreamt of opening their own space, when one of them said, ‘Lets do it’.
They have received advice and help from various parts of the industry:
Other bottle shops, breweries, people who fit bars, nearly everyone was really welcoming.
With the likes of Cotteridge Wines offering encouragement:
Yeah they’re my beer heroes. I was really nervous at first because I thought they might be annoyed about us doing it. Jaz messaged us on Twitter and said ‘I’m going to come down’ adding to my nerves but when he come down he was so nice and friendly. We are lucky that we have been able to build a good relationship with them.
The guys set about making enquirers at a number of different venues, but working in Digbeth the Custard Factory seemed like an obvious choice, and so close to where they all still work.
The Custard Factory have been supportive, with their Twitter account being most people’s first inkling that Clink was happening.
The reality into action
Clink is a bottle shop, boasting a fantastic selection of bottles, from some of the best breweries from the UK, Europe and the USA, along with eight taps with the ability to buy, and fill growlers.
We just wanted great beer, beer we would like. We get the beers direct from breweries where we can.
The guys have become the first Birmingham Venue to take on Untappd Verified Venue Status
We are just trying it out. We all use Untappd ourselves and liked the way you could put your whole beer menu online, we have had quite a few people pop by because they have seen we have put a beer on. We wondered if it would be worth it and it seems to have been so far.
Who is their customer base in Digbeth? When we meet them it was perhaps a little too early to get a clear sense of their average…well anything really.
We have literally no demographic, all ages have been popping in so far. We have had some customers from surrounding businesses, including one place that has a beer fridge in their office, and another that buys beer for their employees on a Friday. We think it is great that such a diverse group of people are into good beer.
When we spoke to the guys they had only been open for a week or 2, and they were still figuring out a lot of stuff, but their passion and commitment will see them through. They are still trying to settle on set opening times, and learning when their busy times may be, but will always answer if you tweet them for information. They have been known to be flexible, with a focus on just enjoying engaging with customers, and staying open a little longer when busy.
Future plans for Clink include possible Meet the Brewer events and possible tap take overs, but the main focus is making a success of the shop, and enjoying making their dream a reality.
Perhaps in the future we could look at opening something else, perhaps open something on the Pershore Road, maybe a tap-room or something, with all the awesome places already there, Wildcat Tap, Stirchley WInes & Spirits, Cotteridge Wines, The British Oak. It could become a bit of a beer mile.
Whatever the future plans we are chuffed to see these guys having the courage to pursue their dreams and hope others will look at the actions they have taken and also choose to follow their own dreams.
We are excited to see the progression of this great little venue, and look forward to popping back to chat to the lads when they are fully settled in.
Are you considering starting to brew? Want to open a bottle shop? Or Bar? Do you want to add to the scene/movement here in Birmingham and the surrounding areas?
Well listen to Uncle Walt’s words and make it happen.