The Battle of the Brewery and the Biro

DSC_6961~2Whilst biros mightn’t be the first thing that would spring to mind when opening a brewery, bear with us a while. You see, we’re not yet at the stage where we have nano-ipads strapped to our wrists where we can punch in figures and instantly record brew sheets, batches, stocks and deliveries. And people such as the taxman want you to keep track of these things rather than sort of guesstimate them at month’s end. So we still go about the place with all sorts of 1980’s paper related paraphernalia such as forms, clipboards, notepads and hundreds of post-its here and there as reminders which rarely get read, let alone done. On some quiet downtime or hurtling towards month’s end, these all get transcribed by our transcriber in chief into technological format and sent along the wire / wireless thingy to our so far so good, satisfied taxman.

Having the calligraphic means to write those all important figures is therefore really really important to us. We’ve gone through dozens of biros since we first started – probably more than got us through 18 years of education when the internet wasn’t even a thing and you waited ten minutes for the commodore 64 to load. So your average everyday biro isn’t much use in our brewery. They hate liquid wort, dislike steam and excessive heat and don’t do so well being shoved into damp pockets let alone writing on stained pages. And yes, we tried switching to pencils for a while but the lead kept breaking at the ‘best’ possible moment and sharpening them with a hacksaw isn’t a long term option for keeping five fingers on each hand.

Thus began the quest for a calligraphic implement worthy of our brewery. One that could withstand the high pressure high octane world we live in (honestly!). We tried rollerballs, ball points and fountain pens. 0.5, 0.7 and even 1mm nibs. Cartridge, disposable and pump action (yes, really!) filling systems. Days, nights and weeks were spent examining and comparing them. Tests were made, missions set, results recorded and scores awarded.

A 3am discussion about nib size is not what we expected when opening a brewery. But there it was, as important to our business as the beer is. Our forms have all these little boxes to write in various figures. The 0.5mm nibs we we found too thin and we struggled to keep within the lines with the 1mm. So 0.7mm it suitably was. Fountain pens, whilst providing an entirely admirable artistic flourish to our everyday brew logs felt in some way devalued when scribbling and scrawling across a beer stained tracking sheet. That narrowed the field down to rollerball vs ballpoint pens, the merits of each having been fiercely debated as decision time loomed.

In the end, the majestic rollerball came through, gliding across brewday logsheets with effortless ease, ignoring hot wort splashes and fiery steam alike. Even better, we came across impressive space age liquid gel rollerballs whose ink dries before you’ve even finished writing the letter! So there you go. 0.7mm rollerball liquid gel writing implements are our calligraphic means of choice for recording our fabulous brewery related endeavours. Nothing less will do.