Earning a Living

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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

Unfortunately, I can't answer your first question, as I'm not a salesman either.  Maybe naive, but I'm trusting my enthusiasm for the product and a well-designed web site to create and sustain demand, coupled with social networking (along with a well-targeted advertising budget of course).

It may sound like a lot of products from the way I described it, but it's only 8 varieties.  A couple of them could be brought in at a later stage and two are seasonal, so maybe a core range of 4.

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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

So, I typed an answer to this and then went out, only to come back and find that it disappeared into the ether.

In a nutshell, and I mean this constructively, I think you're probably barking a bit up the wrong tree asking on a forum such as this. I would not think that anyone here is going to provide you with the information to replace some solid and pretty extensive market research. Maybe your family connections with the trade and with France will be more helpful on that score, or, if your French is good, then websites such as this might be able to help? http://www.happybeertime.com/daily-beertime/.
I don't know much about your target market, or should I say it seems unclear who you're hoping to target. A few years back, there were probably enough Brits around to stimulate the owners of various bars and hotels to give your wares a punt, but from reading a number of these sorts of forum over the years, the average Brit seems to wax far more lyrical about the availability of cheap plonk (and a fair number wax even more lyrical about their seeming mission to single handedly create a European Wine Drought ) whereas I've no recollection of reading among the many posts over the years asking "what do you miss from the UK" any mention of beer among the wistful ramblings about baked beans, cheddar and Marmite. There have been many successful (and indeed unsuccessful) business ventures shipping over people's weekly groceries from Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's, and I have no idea whether these have included, or been able to include a few bottles of much-missed beer, but if they have, then you could have some competition right there. If you're targeting the French, never underestimate the power of prejudice. {articularly of the "not from round here" variety. Try getting a Frenchman to admit to enjoying a New World wine.
Another issue to address might be that if you can find enough people who are real beer buffs, then you will have to convince them that the particular tipple you're proposing will meet their expectations....from what little I know of beer bores, they can be a very fickle breed, and if they are keen on Old Theakston's Incredibly Peculiar Brew, you might not convince them to change to Speckled Thrush Partially Peculiar Pale
Ale..

What I would also say, in conclusion, is that if I were starting, or thinking of starting a business, I would be very wary of taking notice of anything that I had to say, or of basing my business plan on the ramblings of a couple of strangers on a forum.Big Smile [:D]

Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

I realise that during all those years I spent in France almost never seem to mirror other poster's experiences, but I shall tell you mine.

I am not really a drinker and never was and the older I get the more the idea of it displeases me, but that is me.

My husband however does like a drink and always has.  He used to a like a good session beer and our local in England used to sell Theakstones Bitter which he always enjoyed, he does like 'real' ales. When we moved to France, he started drinking french beers and some wine. He would enjoy his evenings out in the pub when we were home on holiday, but initially that was just about every two years. When friends came to visit us, we would ask for baked beans and I would ask for Fry's Turkish Delight and custard powder, but sometimes could get that in France, but never did he mention bringing over beer, even once the widget was invented, as we had moved to France donkey's years before it was in general use.

If we saw some english beer, because eventually we did from time to time, he may have bought 2 or four cans, but they were expensive and duly treat as a treat. In comparison to french or beligan beer was very expensive. And a bottle of half decent french wine could have been bought for the same price.  Paying prices like that for a session beer, no, our budget would never have been up to it.

You will have to find out exactly how to register where and when you could sell beer. The social security payments could well initially look like Mickey Mouse figures, but will probably be right, because for the self employed, social charges are usually very high. Simply they are high in France, this is how I look at it........workers pay quite a lot and the employer's payments are also high and so a self employed person more or less cops for both parts, being the employer and employee of themselves....

Learn french if you are thinking about running any sort of business. I doubt that your family could help you with how much it would cost to run a business in France. And personally, I have my doubts that it would work enough to make a decent living. I'm not even sure that gites would to be honest, but I just watch french news on french tv regularly and know that a lot of people are struggling in all sectors.  That would be a question to ask on here, how did gites do in your proposed area in 2013, there again, every place is different and it would depend on what you were offering and for how much, wouldn't it!

Basically things are hard in France at the moment.


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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

I'm appreciating the frank responses - many thanks.

Don't worry, if this was to be my main research, I wouldn't have any right even considering a business.

However, it does give me a flavour of the climate from people actually living there and I will take all of your comments on board.

My French is pretty good - a bit rusty on the vocab at the moment from lack of use, but close to fluent when I've been immersed for a while.

I'll mull it all over during my drive home on this particularly wet and murky evening and continue dreaming.

Thanks again folks.

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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

Thank goodness for common sense. Please excuse me (and I can probably speak on behalf of a fair few people on here) if anything I wrote earlier sounded even vaguely patronising, which was far from my intent, but if you were to stick around here or any other Francophile forum for longer than a couple of weeks, you would swiftly appreciate that some of the older hands have seen many, many posts over time from people starting out on the journey to their French idyll, starting from "I'd like to move to France, whereabouts do you recommend" and progressing through various stages of  similar naivete.
Obviously, if your French is competent, you're already far better placed than many.

The link I provided earlier was one thrown up by going to Google.fr (which I recommend rather than using Google.uk) and typing in "demande pour bieres anglaises en France" or some permutation thereof. Another link this threw up was this one: http://www.alesinfrance.com/products.php?lang=fr&display=aisle&aisle=1 which may be of some use. There's even another link to a dissertation that someone's done on the topic....

Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

I would like to point out that we can buy English bottled beer from our local L' Eclerc. Bishops Finger, Abbots, IPA, XXX (I think Batemans), Bombadier, HobGobblin, Spitfire and St Peters Porter (my favourite at the moment) amongst some others. They range in price from €1,85 to €2,80. So reasonable in my view.

Those French friends who do drink beer, and they're not many of them that do, like the wheat ales, normally Belgian.

You might do well close to one of the big cities, but then you would probably come up against the Frog and Rosbif chain of pubs that brew their own beer.

And I would like to reiterate what other posters have said, you won't make a lot of money and the bureaucracy will do your head in. But if you want to do it for fun, then why not ? Life's too short.


I'm not a geek, I am a technically aware early adopter
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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

That pricing info is very interesting - I'd have a job competing with the €1,85 and could just about manage €2,80 for the occasional promotion on a 500ml bottle.

I'd been basing my figures on sites like Ales in France, which typically sell at €3,45 to €3,85 plus delivery, so this is precisely the type of local knowledge i was hoping to find.

More food for thought - perhaps I need to look at a different product line, but will take the earlier advice of consulting a Chambre de Commerce.

Thanks everyone.
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Re: Bottled English Ales in France

Matt your enthusiasm is great but the French system will soon beat that out of you and so I wish you success but doubt youll actually find and from your post about prices I now really doubt it. 
If you want a business in france, open a pharmacy, the French are paranoid about health and pop pills for everything, You don't see many pharmacies closing compared just about any other business in france.  keep the beer for your own enjoyment.

Passivpool Energy "A++" rated Swimming Pools, the lowest running costs in the Universe.
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