Loka Polly - 2018 in Numbers/End of Season Awards

As the festive season rolls over and we bring 2018 to a close, I thought it’s only appropriate to bust out a final blog post of the year, and because I have a thing about even numbers, I couldn’t possibly leave the number of posts this year on five (breathe, breathe; it’s fixed now). I was mulling over a number of scenarios for the content of this entry, but I felt like everything serious was pretty much covered in my previous ten month retrospective post in October.

Having watched an inordinate amount of Gillette Soccer Saturday over the festive season (because FESTIVE FOOTBALL!), I clocked that it’s that wonderful time of the year when the bloopers and fun stuff comes out to play, so I’m following suit with a not-so-serious “Year in Numbers”/”End of Season Awards Ceremony” type post, to illuminate some of the lesser seen things that happen behind the scenes here at LPHQ, and put into perspective how far we’ve come in twelve months in list form, because who doesn’t love a list? Numbers first.

LOKA POLLY in Numbers - 2018

  • 77, 544 individual cans

  • 4,308 Cases

  • 1,634 Kegs

  • 1 Cask Pin

  • 73,317 Pints of beer served

  • 81,829 Total litres brewed

  • 62 Different beers brewed

  • 1000+ coffees consumed

  • 3 members of staff

  • Five collaboration brews

The First Annual LOKA POLLY End of Year Awards.

Best Soundtrack

Anybody who has worked at a brewery will attest that for all the lifting of 25kg bags of grain and throwing kegs around, there’s a lot of watching and sitting involved. Without our Spotify account we’d be pretty lost here at LPHQ so we’ve listened to a LOT of music this year (some of those minutes on those Spotify Wrap Up posts are AMATEUR numbers!), we’ve selected some of the best that made an impression on us the most:


  2. Super Duper Excellently Excellent Slammers

  3. Tiny Rebel Radio

  4. Chris Hall Beer “DANK”

Winner: 3. Tiny Rebel Radio

We love our South Wales baes Tiny Rebel, and their monthly nuts music taste. Congratulations for winning the first ever Polly award!

Best Staff Member Write-Off

We work in beer, so it’s inevitable that we end up enjoying the fruits of our own and other brewer’s labour a little too much. This award recognises our finest efforts at partying, but ultimately falling a little short:

  1. Arron at The Little Summer Beer Bash

  2. Sean at Indy Man Beer Con Session One

  3. Scott at Derby Beer Con

  4. Scott at Vessel Beer Fest, Plymouth

  5. Scott at the Hopwater Cellar 3rd Birthday Tap Takeover

  6. Scott at the Loka Polly Christmas party

Winner: 3, 4, 5, 6. Scott (we couldn’t settle on one)

Our young padawan is new to the game, he’ll get better with time. In the meantime, congratulations Scott!

Underrated Behind-the-Scenes Hero

Whilst the day to day running is taken care of by our core of three, there’s a whole symphony of people who help out behind the scenes of Loka Polly. This award recognises the wizards who make the nitty gritty stuff work so seamlessly here at LPHQ:

  1. Phil Wheldon’s questionable motivational speeches

  2. Mark and Bruce absolutely bossing it every canning day this year

  3. Mel Wheldon’s catering

  4. Heidi and Lottie, for being all dog-like

Winner: 3. Mel Wheldon’s catering

It was a close one - Mark and Bruce deserve their own awards for their canning day efforts, but Mel’s lifesaving canning day food and brews are next level. (And the whole awards concept was her idea on the basis of this, so it would be Scrooge-like of us to award anyone else).

“Oh, that’s a bit rubbish” Thing That Kinda Sucked Most of the Year

Whilst most of the time everything runs pretty smoothly at LPHQ, we’re like any other business in that sometimes things happen which are not so cool. We’ve ridden each respective wave and come out of them stronger, but highlighting the bad things is just as important as highlighting the good sometimes to look back on how we’ve grown as a company.

  1. Polly wants a recall. The canned version of our collab with Alphabet unfortunately having to be recalled completely after a CO2 purge issue on packaging. This was extra devastating because it was so good when it was on form!

  2. THAT post on the UK Craft Beer Forum. We get on with everybody on the UKCBF; they’re our beery internet mates. Save for one, who was removed for a pretty incoherent, unnecessary post. We won’t go into the details, but it kinda sucked to see a business owner slating a fellow young business. Look it up if you really want, it’s a spectacular car crash of a thread.

  3. One of our original distributors going bust. We’re not daft, we know how business works. Sometimes they just...don’t. But not getting paid for a couple of orders we’d really grafted hard on was a bit of a kick to the gut, given that cashflow is an extremely sensitive part of a young business.

No winner on this one, they all sucked in differing measures, but we’ve learned from each setback and come out of it a much stronger brewery.

Outstanding Contribution to the Cause 2018

To say there’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes at a brewery is a complete understatement. Getting to enjoy the fruits of your labour is all that little bit extra enjoyable when a mammoth effort has been put into making it happen. Here we’ve selected just a couple of standouts from 2018 that are worthy of merit.

  1. Sean, for doing solo double brew days and then hopping in the van the next day for a full day of deliveries like an absolute machine for the first six months of our existence.

  2. Phil, for being completely cool with us taking over half of his workshop when he realised we were outgrowing Polly’s stable much faster than anticipated.

  3. The brew kit itself, for working to maximum capacity pretty much constantly since we launched. It’s ragtag and a bit rubbish, but we love it to bits

  4. The wholesalers who took our first beers, for having faith in a brewery they’d never heard of. Those beers are a million miles away from what we’re producing now. Thank you for bearing with us whilst we worked out our brewing processes.

    Winner: 1. Sean, for those solo double brew days and then delivering for hours on end

A total superhuman effort, and with absolutely zero complaining whatsoever. Sean’s commitment to the cause in this, a fraction of the total day to day business, displays how much care and passion he has for Team Loka. Bravo!

“Punch me, I must be dreaming” Surreal Moment of the Year

We’ve said it plenty of times and we’ll say it once more to round off the year; 2018 has been an absolutely surreal rollercoaster ride. We’ve gone from two guys brewing out of a stable, to rubbing shoulders with some of our brewing heroes - this list could just be condensed into “2018 as a whole” but we’ve picked out some extra special highlights that we still look back on and think “Did that really happen?”:

  1. Sharing a room with Cloudwater, Amundsen, and Other Half at Indy Man Beer Con

  2. Rolling up to Newport to do a collaboration brew with Tiny Rebel

  3. Finally getting to see our beers being enjoyed overseas

  4. Everything that went with pouring at The Little Summer Beer Bash

  5. New tanks arriving in July, doubling our brew capacity six months after we’d launched

Winner: 1. Sharing a room with Cloudwater, Amundsen, and Other Half at Indy Man Beer Con

There won’t be another experience like it - a festival both Sean and myself had attended as punters in years prior, and suddenly we were there, behind a bar and pouring our own beer in the same room as some absolute behemoths in the brewing game. Amazing.

And with that, 2018 comes to a close here at LPHQ (read as, I ran out of ideas for awards). On the last day of the year it’s been awesome to look back and reflect on the weirdest, drunkest, most incredible year of our lives. From myself and the rest of the team here at Loka Polly, I would like to personally extend our thanks to our suppliers, our distributors, the bars who take our beer, and most importantly, the drinkers. You’re the reason we do what we do. Happy new year and here’s to a prosperous 2019 from Arron, Sean, and Scott.


Sean Wheldon