Market Leaders Pick Their Market Leaders: Who is the toast of the brewing industry?
Wednesday 28 April 1999
Beer Company, Whitbread Plc
THE PERSON who stands out most clearly from the pack is David Thompson, chairman of Wolverhampton and Dudley. He guided them through the acquisition ofMarstons. He is a businessman who brought his viewpoint into the industry on various topics and stuck to it in the face of contrasting opinion. He has a bold and broad approach. I'd also like to nominate Bobby Neame from Shepherd Neame. He gradually built up a family business and developed interesting beers against all the odds, because he is not a big player. He got his beers into the marketplace and managed to sustain interest in them. Bobby is also a prominent spokesman for us. He and his vice-chairman Stuart Neame have done great work for us in the duty battle. Personality is something that matters very much in our business - which really is the hospitality business. The more outward- going people tend to succeed. Both nominees have positive personal qualities.
Fuller Smith and Turner Plc
MY NOMINEE is not a high-profile national player, but a regional stalwart - George Bateman of George Bateman and Sons. He managed to unite the family and the business in a time of massive crisis. A few years back, a part of the family was keen to sell, but George fought this and rallied his family. He made the right decision because the company went from strength to strength and they now own about 60 pubs. He has also managed to place their beer brands firmly on the brewing map. His success was due purely to his determination to succeed. He is a truly inspiring man. He had the long-term vision important to expanding a family business from one generation to the next - he's not just looking at instant profits like some of the pub breweries.
From Ebbe Dinesen
Carlsberg-Tetley Brewing Ltd
I OUGHT to nominate Captain J C Jacobsen, who first produced Carlsberg in 1847 with the declared aim to "develop the art of making beer to the greatest degree of perfection", but I'd prefer to nominate someone making an active contribution to today's industry. One I particularly respect is Stuart Neame, of the Kent brewers Shepherd Neame. Like us all, Stuart objects to the unfairly high levels of taxation on beer. But, as a regional brewer whose consumer heartland is worst affected by floods of cheap imports, Stuart has made righting this situation a personal crusade, and he has fought a tenacious and high-profile legal battle to overturn the Government's policies. I respect his stand and the passion he shares with everyone else who is a success in this industry, to produce quality products without compromising on the brewing art.
Adnams and Company Plc
THE BREWING industry is in turmoil partly because we have so few strong leaders with clear strategic vision and the confidence to stick to their objectives. So many companies allow themselves to be dominated by the short-term demands of institutional shareholders, and few companies have responded adequately to the needs and expectations of the consumer. This is particularly true of companies proud of brewing "real ale" - witness the demise of Marstons.
The keys to sustainable success are strong brands, effective and flexible systems, and highly motivated teams with a clear sense of purpose and a real commitment to customer satisfaction. The company that has probably come closest to achieving these objectives is Fullers, under the leadership of Anthony Fuller and Michael Turner. In the not-too-distant future, I hope Adnams will also be a contender.
Greene King Plc
IT IS tricky to have to pick out someone specific in the industry because the business has changed, integrating other aspects of the hospitality trade rather than the purely linear business of brewing. But the management team that impressed me is running Fullers. The combination of Anthony Fuller and Michael Turner has turned around the fortunes of the business and put it where it is now - occupying pride of place in London.
Brakspear and Sons Plc
I HAVE a high regard for David Thompson of Wolverhampton and Dudley, probably because of his impressive intellect. He is also passionate about beer, which is becoming increasingly rare in the business. David doesn't come from the production side, but he still has an absolute enthusiasm for beer which is so important. I'd also like to nominate Mike Foster, Brakspear's new chairman. He's been with us for six months and as far as I can tell, he is bomb-proof - it is impossible to fluster him. He's a calm and collected individual, which is vital in any business.
Arkells Brewery Ltd
THE PERSON who instantly springs to mind is Jasper Clutterbuck, who recently retired as chairman of Morlands. He was a former Whitbread director who took over Morlands when it was ailing - it had no beer brand of its own and its tenants were unhappy. When he was in charge, Morlands was approached for takeover by one of those large predators, but Jasper fought them off and built up the brewery - they now have their famous brand, Old Speckled Hen. Thanks to him, it went from a sleepy family business into a decent-sized profitable company. As for people in the business at the moment, I much admire Anthony Fuller. He's flavour of the month because of his beers and his profitability. He managed to handle the families involved and he's kept them all interested and united. He's also a fighter for the brewers' business and chairman of several trade organisations. There was a traditional divide between family-owned companies and national breweries and he managed to present a united front to the Government for both sides of the industry.
WE AT Camra admire three breweries in England at the moment for three different reasons. The Neames at Shepherd Neame are doing great work promoting the harmonisation of beer duty across Europe - they are losing a lot of money through bootleggers who pop across to France for cheaper alcohol. Then there's Wolverhampton and Dudley in the charge of David Thompson. It has shown outstanding commitment to the community pub and oversized glasses so the customer always gets a fullpint. And finally, Fullers, under the aegis of Anthony Fuller, which has been extremely successful in promoting real ales.
Shepherd Neame Ltd
THE MAN who most impresses me is Brian Stewart at Scottish and Newcastle. The moves Scottish has made with him at the helm have been superbly timed to position the company at the forefront of the business. The industry is changing to integrate other hospitality-based businesses, but Brian has ensured Scottish and Newcastle hasn't become absorbed in the leisure area to the cost of its brewing base. His clear vision helped rejuvenate our trade organisation, BLRA, and helped him to remain a spokesman for the industry while still being an architect of its reconstruction for the 21st century.
THE INDUSTRY is made up from many diverse companies, but those who stand out for me are Brian Stewart of Scottish and Newcastle, who has turned a regional company into the largest national. of Whitbread is also a man from the top end of the business who deserves praise for developing Stella Artois into one of the most popular beers in the country. Stuart Neame of Shepherd Neame has to be mentioned because he's fighting a cause for the industry - to streamline British beer duties with European ones.
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