Marketing guru sends his message in a bottle; People & Business

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The Independent Online
John Murphy, the founder of the Interbrand marketing consultancy, is expanding his new brewing venture. The 53-year-old marketing guru has used almost half of the pounds 8m he made from the Interbrand sale to Omnicom two years ago to set up St Peter's Brewery, a micro-brewery established in a 13th century manor house near Bungay in Suffolk.

He has already bought three idyllic pubs nearby and today sees the launch of St Peter's Golden Ale, a bottled beer which Mr Murphy hopes to market internationally. "I'd been working for major brewers for 15 years and it struck me that even though we have a very strong brewing industry we don't have a very strong international brand."

The beer comes in an unusual oval-shaped bottle and is described as "halfway between a lager and a bitter". It has already been accepted by Tesco. Mr Murphy hopes to secure distribution through other large supermarkets before taking the brand overseas.

A stock market flotation is also under consideration for later this year to help raise the brand's profile as well as new funds.

As if this is not enough, Mr Murphy is also chairman of Plymouth Gin, a buy-out from Allied Domecq last year. The gin will be re-launched in the US next month. The plan is to re-establish the historic name as one of the world's premier brands in a market dominated by Beefeater and Gordon's. "Plymouth used to be the brand that was always used in pink gin," Mr Murphy tells me. "We have great hopes for it."

Manchester United has swooped in the executive transfer market. The Premiership leaders have signed Peter Kenyon as deputy chief executive, a newly created post. Mr Kenyon, 43, who is a lifelong United supporter, is currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of Umbro International, United's kit sponsors.

Mr Kenyon will move from Umbro's offices in South Carolina to United's theatre of dreams at Old Trafford. His role at the club will be to develop the United brand overseas, where the market for Giggsie duvet covers and United whisky is thought to have a good deal more mileage.

Michael Spencer, head of money brokers Intercapital, has entered the London marathon in a bid to raise pounds 10,000 for charity. The former 40- a-day man (that's fags, not miles) says he will be disappointed if he does not complete the 26-mile circuit in under four and half hours.

He describes his training schedule as "in arrears", but hopes to catch up in a fortnight's time when he is on holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique, "though I suppose it will be a bit warm". Mr Spencer completed 25 kilometres last week and claims the weight is falling off him. "It's great - you can eat what you like and the weight still comes off." He is raising money for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Steve Morgan, the Redrow founder, claims his retreat to the tax haven of Jersey will not affect his ability to maintain a hands-on role at the house-builder. The millionaire businessman says he can jet in from Jersey to Redrow's Clwyd head office in the same time it takes managing director Paul Pedley to pootle in from his Runcorn home.

Mr Morgan is a frequent flyer. He regularly flies from Jersey to Liverpool just to watch his beloved Merseysiders play at Anfield.

Mike Hennessy, managing director of Kalon, the paint group, is singing from a different hymn sheet again this year. For reasons we can only guess at, Kalon chooses a different song title to accompany its results presentations each time. Last year it was "More than I can Say." This time it was "Somewhere over the Rainbow". This was selected to reflect the possibilities of the merger with Euridep, the French group.