Real business story

It's The Small Things podcast: Louisa Ziane, co-founder and COO, Toast Ale

Toast Ale is a new approach to brewing and building a brewery. It makes beer from unwanted bread and has already saved over two million slices. The business has done it by developing a unique, partnership-focused approach that’s allowing the team there to punch above their weight.

Our sixth episode of It’s The Small Things looks at craft brewery Toast Ale. The highly-focused core team of four employees and two contractors is running a large operation for its size; the brand is stocked in Waitrose, the Co-op and Ocado among others.

The business is on a mission to reduce food waste. That focus on sustainability runs through the business, dictating how they work and treat staff.

Toast is a registered social enterprise and, in 2018, became the first brewery in the UK to be certified as a B Corp. The company also reinvests 100 per cent of its profits in charities trying to change the systemic causes of food waste.

What’s more, Toast is a business that welcomes copycats. The team has shared its brewing recipe to encourage other breweries to use bread as an ingredient and broaden its impact.

Listen and watch to find why they think it’s a good idea to give away their recipe, how working with partners gave them access to flexible manufacturing resources and looking after staff wellbeing during periods of growth.

The full podcast episode is available on all major platforms and immediately below. Click through to find it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Acast, Spotify and SoundCloud and subscribe to make sure you don't miss out on new episodes.

Go behind the scenes

“We found that because the original designs were so minimalistic they weren’t popping on supermarket shelves. People just weren’t picking the product up. We reviewed the market, our own sector and other verticals, and saw that bright colours and decluttering were making brands jump off the shelf.”

Louisa Ziane – Toast Ale

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Hear what a typical day for Louisa is like

“When making changes I’ve learnt not to move too quickly or do too much at once. You have to have a clear focus and a realistic timeframe in which to deliver the changes. We have made errors in the past when we’ve tried to do too much at once.”

Louisa Ziane – Toast Ale

Developing a goal setting routine can help you drive change

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Making changes

“We have a daily check in to see how everyone’s doing and also any issues that have arisen during the day that we need to tackle as a team.”

Louisa Ziane – Toast Ale

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Top takeaways

Tapping into other manufacturers’ latent capacity is a great way to scale without having to make capital investments.

Having a formal plan allows you to identify bottlenecks and dependencies, and understand if your team has the capacity to complete work effectively.

As your company grows, it’s likely that you’ll get a better understanding of what works with your customer base. That might mean it’s time for a rebrand.