Hull craft brewer launches crowdfunding appeal for new £350k retail and experience site

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 11 Sep 2017

A Hull-born entrepreneur who launched her own honey-based craft beer company is crowd-funding for investment to open a new retail and experience centre.

Hannah Rhodes, originally from Holderness Road, set up the Hiver craft brewery four years ago which uses honey in the beer’s fermentation process.

The business is now based in London, but the east Hull entrepreneur says she would love to return to Hull and grow the Hiver brand in the City of Culture.

Hannah Rhodes, the creator of Hiver beer

Hiver has one retail site where they also offer experience sessions where customers see the firms bee hives and brewing process.

But Ms Rhodes, who is trying to raise £350,000 in investment, says the company has not yet determined where the new retail site will be, and is open to the idea of coming to Hull.

She said: “I want to launch the flagship Hiver experience and retail site and go to town with it, but it’s still very much in development. We've got an idea of what we want it to feel like, but still don’t know the location.

“With investment we can put the money into a new retail and experience site. Instead of a normal brewery tour we decided in the early days to invite people, like people from Selfridges and renowned restaurants like the Hand and Flowers, to come down and have sessions that involve things like beekeeping alongside tasting.

The beer is made with honey in the fermentation process

“I would love the opportunity to do something in Hull, and we don’t want to be something that is just London based.

“I’m from around Holderness Road and went St Mary’s. I left to work a scheme at a micro-brewery in London but since then the scene here has really flourished, and it’s something that would be great to be involved with.”

Unlike common brewing techniques which involve using sugars solely from hops in the fermentation process, the alcohol in Hiver is a result of adding honey prior to fermentation, rather than as a flavouring later in the process.

A Hiver beer tasting

“It’s a really traditional way of making beer, dating back to the 1400s before hops were the source of sugar in beer,” Ms Rhodes said. “Prior to that people would local honey from the own hive, and it creates beer with an extra depth that we wanted to replicate.

Read more: East Yorkshire Brewery sees growth in Italian exports after new collaboration

“We specialise just in the honey beer; we’ve got three core beers. A blonde beer, a honey ale and an Indian Pale Ale. All the ingredients use for Hiver are from the UK, and all our honey is from British beekeepers too.

“Hiver’s about four years old now, we have over 1,000 stockists, from small shops to Michelin starred restaurants, and bars like Pave on Princes Avenue.

“It’s been amazing so far. It was difficult to start but within six months we won a national competition to find Britain’s next top supplier. I think that gave us a lot of credibility and we’ve just grown from there.

“We have grown from a few initial customers to distributing the beer all over the country. Last year we had £500,000 in revenue and saw 100 per cent growth since last year.”

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