The founder of ‘pub for tea’ concept Brew has told M&C Report that his research shows the scope for drinking tea out could rival coffee.
Alex Holland, who has currently raised 34% of the target £180,000 to open the first two Brew, A Pub For Tea outlets in London ahead of a planned franchise rollout, said his concept was based on “taking the twee out of tea”.
He said prior to launching the crowdfunding campaign he had researched previous attempts at launching tea chains and identified failures and weaknesses.
He said: “Tea is the second most popular drink in the world and in the UK it’s more than that, it’s a part of our national identity. Yet when we spoke to people in cafes they said they were drinking coffee even though they didn’t really like it. The coffee sector has done a fantastic job of selling their experience as a non-alcoholic affordable treat.”
Holland believes the secret is in a wide selection of loose leaf tea and injecting “American style cool” into the venues.
He said: “The taste of loose-leaf is incomparable and our challenge is to get that across from people and avoid it being seen as elite or the preserve of gourmet gehttos. If we can channel the kind of passion and expertise that has gone into selling real ale and craft beer I think we can do that. There is a huge passion for tea that is relatively untapped because most people don’t expect to get a good cup of tea out. It’s a ridiculous situation that you can get a better pot of tea out in France than you can here.”
Hollland said the decision to also sell alcohol would widen the appeal to customers and ensure an all-day trade. Brew will also sell light food and cakes matched to the teas and will offer guest teas on tap.
The venture is backed by Franco Manca co-founder Giuseppe Mascoli as lead investor and Iqbal Wahhab, the man behind the Cinammon Club and Roast, as a non-executive director and mentor to Holland.
Holland said: “They have both taken formats that were widely loved but maybe lacking in inspiration and redefined people’s attitudes to them.”
Asked how he had persuaded them to back his venture he said: “I just got in touch and told them I think we have similar ideas and that I would love to learn from them. Luckily for me they agreed.”
Albion Tea, the company behind Brew, is seeking £180,000 for 27.80% equity. The company intends to pay dividends once it has reached the franchising stage.