What is the best idea of the millennium? Drinking beer to save mankind, that’s what! Yup, you read that right. Two Fingers Brewing Co has launched a new micro brewery that is helping the fight against prostate cancer. ALL of the profits generated from the sales are donated to UK’s leading charity for men with prostate cancer (Prostate Cancer UK). I was absolutely ecstatic about this business so I reached out to the company to see if we could have a chat. We were unfortunately unable to share a beer or two (the Atlantic Ocean made sure of that) but a great discussion insured and I was able to learn much more about the future of beer. Below is my conversation with co-founder Matt Sadler.
Seven guys started Two Fingers Brewing Co. Who are they?
Matt Sadler, Stephen Cross, Simon Connor, Dave Buonaguidi, Will Waldron, Dale Michael and Tom Rowe.
What is underlining commonality that links all of you together?
There are a few: we’re all men, we all love beer, we all met whilst working in marketing and we all believe in using our skills and passions to try and make the world a better place.
Who drinks the most beer?
Probably Will. But Two Fingers Brewing Co. isn’t about “more” beer, it’s about “better” beer. In every sense of the word.
I have to ask. What event sparked the idea of this company? Who got the epiphany of selling beer?
Several of our colleagues at the advertising agency where we worked were affected by prostate cancer. We came to realize how high the chances are of us, or any man, getting it – so we wanted to do something about it. And we were too lazy to run the marathon so we thought we’d launch a beer brand. In fact, the only beer brand that isn’t just better tasting but better for men everywhere, because it gives all profits to prostate cancer charities.
We were too lazy to run the marathon
Were there any other products or services that you considered?
No. We were moving offices at the time and our new place was going to have its own bar. So, we thought “if we’re going to have our own bar, then wouldn’t it be great to make our own beer? And if we make our own beer, wouldn’t it be even greater if that beer gave back to the guys that drunk it, by using all its profits to fight prostate cancer?”
Once we’d had that thought, the link between beer and men and men and prostate cancer seemed so strong. The idea of joining the fight against it seemed as easy and enjoyable as reaching for the bottle opener. It felt so right. We knew that we just had to make it happen.
You guys sell all over England and to this one guy it Spain. What’s his deal?
Haha! Our flagship beer, Aurelio, is stocked by several of the UK’s biggest and best retailers including Morrisons, Tesco, Ocado and Booths – so we sell all over so England, plus Scotland and Wales too. The “one guy in Spain” is Morrisons in Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory that happens to get a lot more sunshine than back home in Blighty. [Editor’s note, learn geography]
You have an interesting name, to say the least. Did you guys come up with any other names before stopping on Two Fingers?
We did. In the early stages of our development, we were called Karma Brewing Co. because Karma is all about giving back. But, we had to switch after trademark searches revealed that name was already taken – so we upgraded to Two Fingers. We love Two Fingers because it has bags of personality and purpose. It’s a two-fingered oath to making great beer for a great cause. It’s a good old-fashioned two-fingered salute to prostate cancer. And our logo is a cheeky nod to the infamous prostate cancer exam, although that’s done with one finger instead of two.
You guys started two fingers in 2012, officially launched in January 2014 and have been expanding since. It sounds like an awesome journey. What would you consider the most memorable moment in the past 3 years?
Honestly, there have been so many memorable moments that it’s hard to choose. One that I’ll always treasure, though, is going to buy our beer in the supermarket for the first time, just less than two years after we first had the idea. It was a real thrill to see Aurelio on the shelves at Tesco. I even got Clubcard points when I bought it!
Starting a business usually leads to meeting new people. Is there anyone that you’ve met since you’ve launched that has had a considerable impact on your life or business?
We’ve met many, many incredible people on our journey and really couldn’t have done this without their support and encouragement. The best way to see the people we owe the most thanks to is by visiting the partners page of our website – but everyone that supports us, advises us or just drinks our beer makes a real difference. [The partners are Hepworth & Co Brewers, Chesapeake, Martson’s, Cube Business Services, Brabner’s, GXS, Sutton Winson, Persuasion, arc, Lewis Silkin, Brandbank, Beavis Morgan and, of course, Prostate Cancer UK.]
What was the most unexpected event in your journey?
Shortly after our launch last year we had a phone call from the organizers of the Empire Film Awards saying that they would like to make Aurelio their official beer for 2014. We ended up at the awards, surrounded by celebrities, enjoying Aurelio and meeting all sorts of people, from Stephen Fry, to Simon Pegg and even Tom Cruise. It was a pretty amazing experience and something I would never have predicted when we first decided to fight prostate cancer, one beer at a time.
How have you guys helped Prostate Cancer?
The two main ways we help fight prostate cancer are by raising funds and raising awareness.
Where funds are concerned, in our first year we sold over 80,000 bottles of beer, raising over £8,000 ($12,000) for Prostate Cancer UK, our official charity partner.
Raising awareness is also a vital objective, because the more aware people are of prostate cancer, the more likely men are to have life-saving health checks. Here, despite a marketing budget of virtually zero, we managed to reach 12m people through media coverage about us, our beer and our mission. A PR value of £270K ($412K).
We also believe beer is the perfect way to break down the barriers between men, who don’t often talk about their health but do love to share a beer. The kinds of conversations that result from sharing an Aurelio or two could be considerably deeper and more meaningful than your usual beer.
Your beer is inspiring people all over the world. Thank you for that. Is there one person or organization that inspires you?
As far as making a difference to men’s health is concerned, Movember have been an inspiration to us since day one – and we’re proud to count the Mo Bro’s as our friends and brothers in arms. In the same way that Movember has risen from a small group of friends to a global phenomenon, their story inspires us to keep taking our own to the next level.
Our belief that prostate cancer should be fought year round, however, was also one of the things that inspired us to use beer to fuel the fight against it. It’s a way to connect with men, week in and week out.
Where beer is concerned, we’re constantly inspired by all the fantastic craft brewers both at home and abroad who are making beer more exciting, and delicious, than ever. Now, our aim is to stand out from the pack with beers that aren’t just better tasting but better for men everywhere. Beer that men (and women) can truly be proud of.
When can we hope to see this in North America? If I were you I would start in Montreal, we love beer over here!
North America is one of the best places in the world for beer but, sadly, it’s also one of the worst places for incidence of prostate cancer – with one in six men contracting the disease in their lifetime. These two things combined mean that we would love to give beer lovers across North America the chance to help mankind by drinking beer. We’re keen to expand in a sustainable way. However, we also know that North America can be trickier than other parts of the world when it comes to alcohol and intellectual property laws. With enough support and enough demand, we’ll hopefully be there sooner, rather than later.
Aurelio “Golden Artisan Beer” has already won multiple prizes. What’s the secret to your beer tasting so good?
Aurelio, our flagship beer, combines the refreshment of a lager with the fine flavors of an ale, for all beer lovers to share and enjoy. Aurelio is brewed with Sussex pale malt and a touch of crystal malt, but all the magic comes from the Admiral and Goldings hops – which spice up its refreshing, clean and crisp character with perky citrus flavors that spring to the palate. Just the way we like it.
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