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BUSINESS PROFILE: Angus alcohol-free beer business looks to change perceptions

Morgan Humphreys, founder of Clean Cask.
Morgan Humphreys, founder of Clean Cask.

Morgan Humphreys set up Angus business Clean Cask to change people’s perceptions around alcohol-free beer.

Q. Why did you start in business?

A. I have always loved craft beer and discovering new styles and breweries. After doing an 80-day sober challenge, I realised how many quality, alcohol-free craft beers are being produced and yet most pubs still only stock one or two major brands. People decide not to drink in the pub or at a restaurant for many different reasons and I believe they should have the best choices available to them. That’s when I decided to become an alcohol-free beer distributor.

Q. How has the business been impacted by coronavirus?

A. With the closure of pubs and restaurants, I no longer had any trade business. So, I decided to open up sales directly to the public as well. This is going very well and has confirmed to me there is a market for my products. Now that the hospitality trades are opening again, I am running both sides of the business and working with some great companies in Dundee.

Q. Who has helped you along the way?

A. I have had a lot of support from my family and the local community. Business Gateway also has so many great resources – I’ve attended some great networking events for women in business and during lockdown I accessed its online webinars and fully funded market research support.

Q. What has been your biggest mistake?

A. Expecting everything to go right first time! I can be a bit of a perfectionist and sometimes I will hold back on doing something until I feel like it’s ready to go.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement?

A. Launching my website. I had never worked on any web development before and it took weeks of late nights to get it ready.

Q. What are your hopes for the future?

A. I am really passionate about the quality of the products and I’m excited about being part of this rapidly growing industry. I hope that in the future when I say I sell alcohol-free beer, it will seem just as normal to people as selling alcoholic beer. I want people to understand you can get just as many styles and flavours such as lagers, ales, stouts, sours – even gluten-free, vegan and isotonic beers that can actually be good for you. Just because you choose not to drink alcohol, does not mean that you should have a limited choice.

Q. Are you hoping to recruit in future?

A. I’d love to take the business to events such as music festivals, student events and even sporting events, so I would definitely need to recruit some help at that point. Many people have also found lockdown extremely difficult and might now be looking at changing their drinking habits.

Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?

A. Not being able to walk away from your desk at 5pm! I spend a lot of time researching beers and speaking to breweries so
that I can personally endorse the quality and flavour of every product I sell.

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

A. Starting a business is a rollercoaster. You are going to have both good days and bad. You should prepare yourself for this and try to manage the bad days as
best you can – give yourself some easy wins and get through it.

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