How it all began
How did it all begin?
I suppose it all began in the 1970's when the young dipstick in the photo (me) went to Redrice School - a third rate public school in Hampshire. Whilst most of my time there was lousy I did pick up a nack for photography, a skill that will be put to good use in future years. More importantly, myself, Jon Bretherton and a few others used to creep into the cellars of the school to make beer and wine. To be honest it was all rubbish, and I doubt if we ever drank any (must have been bad for a 14 year old not to drink it!). But the stage was set and the learning curve of 2 essential skills had been started.
The wilderness years
After leaving Redrice I basically bummed around for many years doing nothing that would help my later life. However, boredom with my job at the time lead me to do a degree in Micro Biology at Plymouth Polytechnic and a PhD at UEA. Since homebrew is simplified microbiology and I stayed in Norfolk after my PhD two more bricks had been put into the foundation of my homebrew career. After my PhD I worked in food research for a while (another brick), before setting up (and then abandoning) a series of businesses that involved printing, web design, database design, and finally a full blown commerical winery making a variety of fruit wines that I even sold to the Sandringham Estate. I enjoyed this last job, but unfortunately rises in the price of glass, fruit, and taxes made this venture not viable if I wanted to produce wines of the quality I liked (we made a rasberry wine from 100% raspberry juice). We also made some pretty unusual wines such as Christmas Pudding wine made from real Christmas puddings, a hot chilli wine, and Mother-in-law whine made from dragon fruit and rose petals.
You need a cloud to get a silver lining
All of my past ventures could be seen to have come to nothing. But did they? They taught me advanced homebrew, marketing, databases (so that I could write a complete shop management system), web site design, product photography, and a knowledge of business. I look upon these less succesfull businesses as my apprenticeship for my current career.
Goodlife homebrew opened its doors as a web only operation in the early months of 2009, and went into our current premises in May of the same year. Since then we have grown over 400% and now offer not only Homebrew, but also everything needed to make preserves.
Well, nothing ever stands still in my life, and it will be obvious from our website that we will be offering everything to make cheese, yoghurt, and butter later this year. Many of you will also know that our 4 meter shop extension should be starting any day now (March 2012). Once that is complete we will be the largest preserves outlet in the country with a couple of items that will be unique to us. As for the distant future, bread making, bee keeping, more shops, who knows? But we will keep this page updated, so watch this space...
11 March 2012