Glenrothes’ Coul Brewing left the Fife Business Awards virtual event after not winning their initial category only to discover a brand new award had been created just for them.
A Glenrothes-based brewery received a surprise last week when they found out they were the recipients of the unexpected Inspiration Award at the Fife Business Awards.
Family-run Coul Brewing had turned up to the virtual event waiting to find out the outcome of the only category they had entered – best performing business under 10 employees. After not winning the category, founder Robyn Duncan-Dean logged off from the event, only to be told she had to log back in due to the surprise announcement.
Looking back on the evening, Robyn says how unexpected the surprise award win was.
She says: “Everyone seems to be enjoying the fact I had logged off when it was announced. I ended up getting a phone call from my husband saying the organisers were trying to get a hold of me. Then I checked my email and they were saying please could I log back on, so I tried to do that and it wouldn’t let me so I had to sit and wait for them to allow me back in.
“I wasn’t expecting it. We didn’t win our category, which was fair enough. I had a market in Ladybank the next morning so I was still thinking about the car I had to pack, beers to label – it doesn’t stop being a small business owner, unfortunately. So I had logged off thinking that was the end of it but it was really nice of them.
“I never even knew it was a category and I think it was something they came up with afterwards but I think they were just really impressed at the way we’d started the business. Our brewery is based in a single garage so we’re really quite small. We’d totally converted that, we designed our tanks, we brought them in and everything has been plumed in.”
Judges at the event said they created the Inspiration Award purely to give Coul Brewing the recognition ‘for their efforts’.
They announced on the event website: “This business has, in a very short space of time, achieved remarkable results and levels of operational sophistication that sets a template and benchmark for any new business and aspiring entrepreneur. On this basis, the judges felt they deserved to be recognised for their efforts in the form of an Inspiration Award, created just for them.”
Having been based in the town since 2017, the team at Coul Brewing have still managed to juggle full-time jobs while running one of Fife’s hugely successful small food and drink businesses.
Robyn says: “We started making beer in 2018, though it was 2017 when we actually formed the company and designed all the tanks and ordered them. Those arrived in January 2018. It took another couple of months to get everything plumed in.
“We’re basically running a brewery out of a single garage while all still juggling full-time jobs. The beer has been really well received and has already been nominated for quite a few awards.
“Our first batch was actually made for our wedding which was in June 2018. Then we launched the first four: Baby Badger pale ale, our Source Code IPA, our 80s Revival and the Full Spectrum Stout. They were launched in August 2018 and then March 2019 was the Emperor’s New Clothes, which is our vegan-friendly beer, and then we’ve launched the sixth one – our lager – in March of this year.”
With several of Coul’s beers having won awards already, will the surprise Inspiration Award have an impact on the way they do business?
Robyn says: “I think the award will help make us known more locally. Since the start of this lockdown period we weren’t very sure what we wanted to do and we had beer in the tanks that was due to be sent out to pubs. So we had probably two weeks at the beginning figuring out what we could do and what we were allowed to do.
“In that time, all of the stock we had sitting around basically sold out. We do a home delivery service or we ship as well. There were a lot of people who weren’t wanting to go out and had started looking for deliveries and more local services – a lot of them said they didn’t know there was a brewery in Glenrothes.
“It’s just been crazy busy for us since the start of March – I’ve barely been able to keep up – and the last few months we’ve almost always had two or three of the beers out of stock.
“So I think the Inspiration Award will probably help the people who follow local businesses in Fife know that we’re there.”