EP-301 Stacey Ayeh, founder of Rock Leopard Brewing

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Manage episode 289632485 series 2300559
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While Rock Leopard is relatively new to the scene, Ayeh is not. He’s worked in the alcohol industry since 2002, when on a trip to Sweden he discovered Kopparberg cider. Seeing its potential he persuaded the company to let him be the UK agent, launching a brand that went on national prominence. Sadly larger distributors saw its potential too, and without an exclusivity agreement Ayeh was forced aside. That was the first of several setbacks that have come to plague Ayeh, but never define him.

After frustrating experiences at controversial start-ups like London Fields Brewery and Magic Spells, he finally struck out on his own, determined to have complete control over his career. He founded Rock Leopard back in 2017 but spent years learning to brew himself, refining his recipes and getting feedback from the industry. Unfortunately, many retailers were resistant to buying his first few commercial contract-brewed beers and Ayeh suspects it had little to do with the liquid.

In this episode we talk through his early career before exploring the possible ageism and racism that made opening Rock Leopard so hard, and how cornering Paul Jones of Cloudwater Brew Co at a tap takeover changed everything for the brewery. We also look at how Ayeh’s experiences have led him to add a strong equal rights campaign element to his brand, something he admits to being much more passionate about than the excellent beers he now produces.

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