Sitting down with Gruff Jones (1 half of the Booze Brothers) is always a treat, he was honest about the highs & the lows of running a business and of course we spent plenty of our time discussing the ins & outs of alcohol! PS there’s genuinely Avengers Endgame spoilers ahead!
P: Let’s get the hard hitting questions out of the way, what was the last film you actually went to the cinema to watch?
G: Avengers Endgame
P: Was it worth the wait?
G: Honestly I preferred Infinity War, once you introduce time travel to a film you’re in dangerous territory for plot holes…and there’s a lot
P: Do you have a favourite Avenger?
G: It was Thor but now that most of the original cast seem to have left I might need to pick a new one, but I’ll be right there front row for the next Spiderman film so we’ll see!
P: So The Booze Brothers , give me the Wikipedia page summary.
G: We’re a mobile bar company. Specialising in bespoke spirits & cocktails, for example if we cater for a wedding we might make one drink based on the groom & one on the bride, putting it together based on their personalities or funny stories we’ve been given. So the mobile bar is currently the centre of the business but we are expanding, we’re looking into creating our own Booze Brothers products, basically our business is anything alcohol!
From right to left, Ieuan Jones & Gruff Jones, The Booze Brothers themselves
P: An aspect of business people may often overlook is the name. I know that Booze Brothers wasn’t the only option on the table, in fact your first day at the hub we had a bit of a think tank of alternative names, do you remember some of them?
G: Yeah so with Booze Brothers there had initially been some legal issues in regards to the copyright of the name so we had to think of some alternatives in case we couldn’t sort that out. I think my favourite of the names was The Liquor Lads because it rolls off the tongue (no pun intended!)
P: Now before becoming Booze Brothers you already owned an off licence here in town, what inspired the move into this new direction?
G: It actually started with the Garden Village Fete which was weirdly enough exactly a year yesterday (30th June at time of interview). They had come to us to stock their bar for the fete which we were happy to do and at the time the Gin craze was starting to really take off, so we asked if they wanted to include Gin as part of the stock we were supplying.
G: But they said, honestly we don’t really know anything about gin. So we offered to come down for the day with a gazebo to mix and serve gins for the day. So that’s what we did and it went so well, but even then we didn’t plan to build an entire business around it. A week goes by after the fete and we’re receiving emails requesting us and all these events and before we know it we’re booked in for 15 events! So we saw out the year with a gazebo bar and now we’ve scaled up and have a brand new converted horse trailer.
P: Already in a year that’s such a journey to have been on. What do you wish that you’d known at the start before doing all of this?
G: Don’t overreach. You know we have a multidimensional business, there’s the store, the product & the mobile bar. You can overreach on one but overreach on all of them and you’re constantly playing catch up! I just wish I had known I had time to calm down and there wasn’t a need to rush everything.
P: At this point in the interview I’d like to slip you a £20 note so that you can tell us why having your business based here at The Wrexham Enterprise Hub has been so beneficial for you?
G: You said it would be £50! The biggest thing is the sense of community of people who actually care about you and your business, like actually care! When you have your own business you find that not everyone is happy to hear about your success and it can make you second guess yourself but in the hub everyone wants to know about how your event went and they want to encourage you, it makes such a difference! I haven’t found anything like this place anywhere else.
Gruff enjoying a healthy lunch with Wrexham Enterprise Hub Manager Carl Turner
G: And the networking is incredible here, you, Carl & Victoria are always pointing me in the direction of useful contacts to link up & work with. A great example is The Love Wrexham magazine, we wouldn’t have been in the very first issue if it wasn’t for the hub!
P: It’s been just over a year for you now as Booze Brothers so what stands out as the moments your most proud of?
G: That first village fete because we put a lot of time and effort into it and it was a big risk to do something so different. Also this year we had two festivals on at the same time, one in Chester and one in Bethesda, I have never felt stress like it! But everyone pulled together and sitting back after it was done I was really so proud of what we had achieved.
P: I can’t really have you here and not ask a couple of alcohol related questions. First up what’s your favourite cocktail?
G: Anything rum based! When it comes to cocktails the taste of the rum always comes through the mixers which means you get the flavour and you moderate your drinking because you’re aware it’s there.
P: Ok so if we go out for shots, what are we having?
G: A lot of shots have been ruined for me because of university and rugby. Funnily enough I used to hate Tequila but now it’s one my favourite ones, as long as it isn’t a supermarkets basics!
P: Importantly, do you have a go to hangover cure?
G: For me at uni I just needed to be debriefed on what I had done the night before to make sure it wasn’t anything bad but food wise it’s chicken nuggets. You can’t go wrong with them and you can even get them delivered now!
P: So the future of Booze Brothers, what’s next?
G: At the moment we’re nearly fulled book until September so we’re focused on making those events the best they can and then it’s attempting to get through December as that’s a busy one for the bar and the store itself. Going into next year we’re looking to pick up another unit and double our team to have about 24 members of staff. Which means we can really look at going after festivals next year
P: So it’s Glastonbury 2020 then?
G: Exactly we’ll get biodegradable beer cups going and we’ll be sorted.
All of us at the hub wish Gruff and his team the very best going forward in the second half of this year and fingers crossed they ‘make it through’ December!