1.Who’s behind the business and what were you doing before?
My name is Ed I was born in Bristol and have lived here most of my life, I was first plunged into craft beer when I moved into a flat above the Famous royal navy volunteer 7 years ago where my tastebuds had to quickly evolve as the normal larger I was used to drinking was definitely not on tap. At the same time, I started a food and drink marketing company with a friend also called Ed, which landed me right in the middle of the craft beer explosion and everything around it.
A bit more about me, I am 36, creative and dyslexic. In my life, I have been a salesman, a tattoo artiest, a graphic designer, a web developer, a marketer, a business owner, a leader and what feels like many other things with mixed success. Over the years I have had many ideas, I always write them down and almost always do nothing about them TIME TO CHANGE THAT!
Over the last year, we have all had a lot of time to reflect and one of the things that become clear for me was that I was ready to branch out and spend time on a passion project, I consulted my scribblings and it was obvious Craft Beer Chocolates had to rise and get its chance.
2. How did the idea come about and why hadn’t anybody thought of it before!
4 years ago whilst working with a venue in the city centre, organising an event for a wine tasting we needed to sauce some chocolates to match the wine in my search to find a supplier I found myself on the door step of Guilbert’s Chocolates (did you know they make chocolates for Buckingham Palace) working with Alan went well and the chocolates hit the spot. Whist having a casual conversation with Alan asking about what I did he mentioned that he once put beer in chocolate and it was good.
For the following weeks that’s all I could think about, from all the beers available what would make an amazing taste combination, what would the brand look like, where would I sell it, who would buy it and why? I wrote it all down and there it stayed.
3. Which breweries are you using and what was their reaction when you approached them?
After chatting with the other Ed and deciding we would give Craft Beer Chocolates the time needed to launch it I couldn’t wait to chat with some breweries to see what they thought. It wasn’t a hard conversation to have, I first approached Bristol Beer Factory who were excited and happy to join me offering as much help as they could, it turned out that they had been down this road before when they first launched their milk stout this was good validation that I was on the right track. I then approached Electric Bear and Moor Beer who both joined and also offer anything they can to help me launch CBC.
4. You’re using Guilbert’s chocolate, tell me why you wanted to use them and why their chocolate is ideal for your creations.
It always had to be Guilberts he was the one that sparked the idea and for all the reasons I was there in the first place, Alan and his team work hard to create and supply premium chocolates! Other than obviously recommending you try my chocolates I have to say you should try Guilberrs ‘Blackberry Absinthe Truffles
‘ SO GOOD.
Alan has supported me from day one, his knowledge flavour expertise has been imperative in getting CBC chocolates to be something we can all enjoy, these chocolates are not just for beer lovers!
5. How did you go about creating the beer and chocolate combinations – other than lots of sampling I guess! – and what were you trying to achieve?
In all honesty it’s part luck and mostly drawing on the knowledge of the breweries and Guilberts to make sure we are starting with the right flavour profiles. When we tried Electric bears sour beer I was a bit nervous as I couldn’t imagine how it might come out, its actually my favourite chocolate. There are so many beers to try and breweries to work with it’s just the beginning of some really exciting collaborations.
6. Who are the chocolates aimed at?
The initial idea was to provide something for beer lovers and as we get closer to Christmas take advantage of the difficulty present hunt commonly faced ‘What do you get for dad?’ So I created ‘The 4 pack’ chocolates and the matching beers in a box, shout out to Tom Doyle for having the idea of putting the chocolates in a beer can. As my friends and others have tried the chocolates it quickly becomes clear if you like chocolate you will love our silky creamy amazingly tasty truffles, I think I will have to start selling them in big bags.
7. How will you be marketing them and how can people buy them? How much are they?
We are just launching CBC now luckily my day job is working at a Bristol-based marketing agency called ‘The Cake Mix’ so everyone is excited about getting stuck in to spread the word, as long as I keep them well supplied with chocolates 😉
One of the great things about Bristol is how proud we all are of our independent business and I hope that once Bristol gets a taste of our chocolates they will feel proud about us too and share CBC with their friends.
8. What are the long-term aims for the business – presumably, you see a big untapped market out there?
I am really excited about the future the trick will be getting the supply and demand right so we can keep offering more and more beers, there are so many I can’t wait to try and collaborations that need to happen. I don’t know where we will end up but I know it’s going to be a fun journey full of flavour, beer, friends and chocolate.