For this month’s Man Crafts feature, we’re talking beer! I’m welcoming Jason Booth, from Hop Shots, to talk about his online business selling dry-hop kits. First established in September 2013, Hop Shots has grown to become a full-time job for Jason.
Not sure what the heck dry-hopping is? Check out the interview below to learn all…
Man Crafts: interview with Jason Booth from Hop Shots
Hello! Before we talk about your business, tell me a little bit about yourself – where are you from and what are your interests outside of running your shop?
Hi Mike! I’m from Huddersfield, in the heart of beautiful West Yorkshire. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m pretty hugely into beer! Real ale, craft beer, the lot. Huddersfield and West Yorkshire in general have a fantastic beer scene with around 15 breweries in the Kirklees Council area alone. Outside of that, I have a ton of hobbies including playing my many instruments, hiking and camping.
You run a really cool online shop – can you tell me a little bit about what you sell?
Cheers! I sell gift packs that allow the user to ‘dry-hop’ their beer in the glass using a variety of hops and even hop and tea blends. Dry-hopping is a technique that many breweries use to enhance the flavour and aroma of the beers they brew. Our kits give you the option to really boost the flavours in a beer, whether it’s some ales you got for your birthday that aren’t your thing, some tinnies from the local newsagents, an aged beer that didn’t quite go the way you’d hoped or even a dud home brew!
What first inspired you to launch your business, Hop Shots?
I used to be the assistant manager at The Grove pub in Huddersfield. It’s known by many as one of the best pubs in the UK for it’s massive selection of draught and bottled beers, whiskey and unusual spirits. My job meant that I got to order beers that I wanted from around the world to sample – I absolutely loved it! I also had a few opportunities to go to breweries and help to brew collaboration beers. As I learnt more about the brewing process and all the amazing techniques and ingredients used, I thought: “People need to know more about hops, they’re amazing!” I figured, if dry-hopping is just late additions of hops to a beer, why not take that to the extreme? And it all grew from there really…
Tell me about your work space, where do you prepare all of your Hop Shots goods and what is the process involved?
At the moment we are pretty small scale, so I literally do everything by hand in my studio at home. I cut deadfall into small slices then sand, drill and brand them to turn them into tags for our hop cages. I source hops from around the world and sit at my desk measuring them out into smaller portioned foil bags. I handwrite tips and recommendations in our information booklets. I also put stickers on EVERYTHING! I love stickers…
What’s the best thing about running your business?
The best thing is the smell every time I open a bag of hops. Fresh grassy pine, citrus aromas, apricot jam, spice – hops can smell of all sorts of amazing things and I love it! I also love getting to attend trade sessions at beer festivals. It means I can network with some of my favourite brewers and bar folk and just talk beer all day!
What advice can you offer any readers who are hoping to start their own creative business?
Once you’re happy with your concept, products and branding, open an Etsy shop as soon as you’re able. It has a huge audience and is a great way to gauge peoples’ interest in your product, especially for creative types. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to people about your ideas. It’s essentially market research and some of your close friends and relatives might even bounce some great ideas back at you.
And finally, let’s end on something fun – tell us one interesting fact about yourself!
I’m a multi-instrumentalist and write music under the moniker [STØY] using unusual, creepy samples and a load of noise! (You can find my tunes here). I’ve also been in a ton of bands ranging from death metal, through prog pop to a Frank Zappa tribute band.
Don’t forget, you can check out more of my Man Crafts interviews by clicking here. If you’re a male maker or creative business owner and would like to be featured, give me a shout! Just email email@example.com with a link to your site and an overview of what you sell and I’ll be back in touch. Cheers! – Mike.