Breakthrough Stories: Woodman’s Wild Ale

After being introduced to Breakthrough by one of his friends, Stuart decided to bite the bullet and attend one of our workshops.He has since gone on to launch Woodman’s Wild Ale, an artisan microbrewery which specialises in seasonal beers.

Woodman's Wild Ale

Tell us about your business
Woodman’s Wild Ale is an artisan microbrewery specialising in seasonal beers brewed using wild and foraged ingredients.Stuart Woodman

Tell us about your Breakthrough journey so far?
I’ve been in business for about 18 months, following on from being a self-employed foraging and wild food instructor. I have been slowly but surely gaining a great reputation for the flavourful and unusual beer I produce, alongside running a successful series of food and beer pairing events.

What was the reason you decided to bite the bullet and get in touch with Breakthrough?
I was recommended the program by a friend who was on it and I felt I’d really benefit from some support and advice.

What is the best bit about the support you’ve received?
I’ve met some really supportive and encouraging mentors who have made me realise just what a good business I have started and the potential I’ve got to make it even better.

What did you do or change as a result of our support?Stuart Woodman - Woodman's Wild Ale
It’s been more or less ‘business as usual’ but I have become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses and I am looking to employ people to help me in those areas which aren’t my strong suit.

What main challenges did you have to face and how did you overcome them?
Running the business on a small budget has been the most difficult thing initially and there have been a few tough months, but the support of friends and family and the overwhelmingly positive response from complete strangers has really kept me going.

How has your business evolved in the past 12 months?
The realisation that the business needs to grow and do things a little differently to be sustainable has been key to my plans for the future. By staying true to my values and beliefs and not trying to follow trends, but to focus on my unique selling point, I feel like the business is becoming stronger as time goes on. I have applied for BIG2 funding and I’m in the process of looking to buy new equipment to help grow the business. It will lead to me making the transition from sole trader to an employer and is the first in a series of steps towards growing the business towards where I want it to be.Stuart Woodman - Woodman's Wild Ale

What are your plans for the future?
I am aiming to run more events and connect even more with consumers, developing a strong brand that people love and are inspired by. Eventually I would love to run the brewery from a smallholding and have a restaurant and tap room as well as grow many of the ingredients I use in my beers.

Words I Live By
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams.

Reasons I love What I Do
I get to spend my time working in a landscape I love.

My Breakthrough Moments
Being featured in the BBC2 documentary Back to The Land with Kate Humble.

You can catch Stuart on Back to The Land  Episode 1 on the BBC iPlayer (44:00) 

If you’ve been trading for less than 12 months and would like to find out more about our start-up support, please tell us about your business by completing this short form and we’ll be in touch.  Read more about our Breakthrough Programme or by giving us a call on 0845 600 3660.

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