Hands on at Hope on Hopkins

Lucy and Leigh Beard: Yoco Merchant #137

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SMALL BUSINESS

Hope on Hopkins is a small artisanal distillery in the heart of Cape Town that makes hand-crafted gins and spirits for discerning drinkers.

This story captures an entire work day at the distillery, from the moment the business becomes operational until it’s time to finish off the day. There is more to running a distillery than meets the eye.

7h30 - 9h00

The day begins early in the morning, with a cup of hot tea in the kitchen and Mr Scruff the dog…

BOTTLING. BOXING. LABELLING. PACKING.

Lucy and Leigh live on the same premises as the distillery, their home merges into their office and work space, and so does the life of their pets.

Whilst Lucy finishes some house chores, Leigh is already downstairs, busy helping with the bottling, labelling, boxing, and packing process. There is no time to lose as the orders need to get out.

YOU KNOW IT'S A BUSY DAY...

…when Mr Scruff needs to be taken to doggy day care centre, as his naughty habit of stealing and eating the bottle corks gets in the way.

9h00 - 11h00: FORKLIFT PROBLEMS...

Down the road at the warehouse a batch of bottles is being delivered, but the forklift suddenly stops working. The timing could not be worse: The truck is parked in the middle of the road as it starts to rain.

Leigh now has to get onto the phone to try sort this out by trying to find what the problem is – from distiller to logistics manager to mechanic, all in a matter of a few minutes…

11h00: BACK AT THE DISTILLERY...

…Bernard is busy mixing gin with alcohol to finalise the latest batch before it is bottled.

12h30: OFFICE ADMIN AND A COFFEE BREAK

After countless emails, hand writing labels, and a morning of admin and the usual office chaos, it’s time for a quick break at the local coffee shop. This gives Lucy and Leigh a breather and time to reconvene and discuss the rest of the business for the day.

13h00 - 15h00: DEEP DIVING INTO THE POT-STILL

The pot-still needs to be cleaned after every use and this requires some serious manual labour…

15h00: SETTING UP AN EVENT

Lucy leaves to set up a drinks station at an office event in the city. She has already sent stock ahead, but she still needs to grab a few decorations to add the final touches.

16h00: BACK AT THE WAREHOUSE...

…bottles are sorted and labelled. Handmade is clearly a term taken seriously by the Hope on Hopkins crew.

IT'S ALL HANDS ON!

A few thousand bottle labels have to numbered, and since the forklift has broken down, deliveries have to be manually taken care of too. With both tasks the team gets directly involved.

17h00: GETTING THE NEXT BATCH OF GIN READY

There is a short gap before a client meeting begins, so the time is used to prepare the mix for the next gin distillery run. Here Leigh mixes and weighs the juniper berries and coriander.

17h30: AFTERNOON MEETINGS AND GIN TASTING

As the late afternoon sun shines through the windows of the tasting room, the team meets with one of their clients to discuss some product ideas while having a gin tasting – it’s all part of the job!

18h00: LAST MEETING AND THEN IT'S TIME TO FETCH MR SCRUFF...

The last meeting of the day with a client in the US commences via Skype. It’s been a long day for the Hope on Hopkins team: working hands-on on various admin tasks, problem solving, stock taking, packaging, labelling, distilling, cleaning, delivering, set-up…a typical small business run by a proative team!

…and fetching Mr Scruff from the doggy day care comes with a sense of relief, as an indicator that the work day is coming to an end, and some personal down time begins, until the next morning…

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