Oliver Peel

Electronic Engineering
Talking about
Starting a business

When Oliver Peel and Mickey Lynch saw the success of a friend’s fledgling catering company, the pair decided to turn a shared interest into a business and begin brewing their own craft beer.

Oliver, currently in his final year of a MEng in Electronic Engineering at the University of Leeds, had previously run his own printing business and Mickey works as a barman and brewer for Leeds Brewery Tap. Pooling their skills and experience, the pair devised recipes for their own beers and developed the strong brand image that new craft beers need to stand out in a crowded market. Filled with energy and ideas for their venture but needing to develop a robust business strategy, a friend suggested that they approach the University of Leeds’ business start-up service, Spark.

“Kairen and Richard at Spark have helped us every step of the way so far,” said Oliver. “They’ve given us a great deal of support, including essential funding via the Proof of Concept fund and an enterprise scholarship. They pushed us to think seriously about the business, and Spark’s weekly workshops on different business topics have been massively informative.”

The craft beer industry originated in the US and has taken off in the UK in recent years. “In Yorkshire, the craft beer movement is growing all the time and it’s very much a community that’s happy to share its secrets,” said Mickey. This was borne out when Oliver and Mickey were invited to the RW Randall brewery in Guernsey by Robert Barnes – Spark professional adviser and brewery chairman – to gain some valuable industry insights.

Oliver and Mickey already have meetings planned with potential investors but, whatever happens, they believe they have the skills and passion to move the business forward. Oliver said: “We’re doing what we love and creating a range of beers both classic and modernised in the American craft beer style. With the support we’ve received from Spark and the contacts we’ve made from networking – both with Spark and within the craft beer community – we know that we can make the business a success.”

Mickey added: “Our Irish Wolfhound branding is bold and strong – new beers need that distinctive identity. We understand the industry and, thanks to Spark, we also understand how to create a viable business.”

You can follow Oliver and Mickey on X @WolfhoundBrewCo.