Rector makes small beer of ailing churches

City Diary

Scottish & Newcastle and Bass had better watch out. A Sussex rector has floated his own brewery and he's got God on his side. Not that the Reverend Godfrey Broster of Plumpton Green has any very ambitious plans for expansion or acquisitions.

He has launched Rectory Ales to help cover the horrendous repair bill for the three churches in his parish - one Saxon, one 12th century and one 19th century. After all, he says, the main brewers before the Reformation in the 16th century were the monasteries.

Rather than pass the begging bowl around once again he has rounded up his parish flock and offered them 1,500 shares in Rectory Ales at pounds 2 each, with a minimum subscription of pounds 100 and a limit of pounds 200.

"It's been over-subscribed," Mr Broster says proudly. "I got the idea from a prospectus for a flotation which I invested in myself."

He reckons brewing two or three barrels of traditional ales a week could generate profits of pounds 1,000 in the first year. How about the dividend policy? "I hope to pay a dividend - I haven't said I won't - it all depends on trading. We'll have to wait and see."

Local pubs have agreed to take the strong Rector's Revenge (abv 5.4), Rector's Pleasure (abv 3.8) and Parson's Porter (abv 3.6). Any plans for lager? "Oh no, that needs cooling apparatus - you'd really have to go big for that. I do brew the odd stout on request, though." And the flotation's been done without without paying a penny in advisers' fees. A miracle.

A secondee from the Japanese version of the DTI, Miti, will soon be helping UK firms to develop more business - with Japan. Hideo Suzuki has started a two-year secondment to the DTI. Based in the DTI's automotive directorate, he will work closely with the UK car industry to help build relationships with Japan and increase trade in the automotive sector - one of the DTI's target areas under the Action Japan campaign. No doubt Mr Suzuki will help to rev up the motor sector.

The Dispatches programme on Channel 4 tonight puts the boot into "the lucrative world of the liquidators - asking why hundreds of firms have been closed down, some perhaps unnecessarily - and exposing sharp practice among some smaller practitioners who engage in improper financial manoeuvring".

All fair enough, I suppose, but it does seem to be kicking a sector when it's down. The senior partner at one of the biggest insolvency firms told me gloomily on Monday that "the trend for company collapses in the UK is still down. It probably won't go up again until 1998. We're having to lay people off." Poor things.

What is it with the Bulgarian football team? Not their defeat last night at the hands of the French in Euro96, but their constant switching of hotels in the North-east, to local chagrin. First Scarborough council forked out pounds 20,000 to put them up at a hotel, only for Hristo Stoitchkov to decide it was boring.

The Bulgarians then booked rooms in the Swallow, Stockton-on-Tees, which would have meant the Romanian team moving out on the double. Just as the Darlington council was crowing about this coup, Stoitchkov whipped his team off instead to the Holiday Inn in Seaton Burn, just six miles from Newcastle, where they were playing.

Cue outrage from Darlington. "What kind of hotels are they used to in Bulgaria anyway?" pondered one observer.

Just when Will Hutton and his ideas on the "stakeholder economy" seem to be everywhere, here comes a bunch of businesmen who have seen the light. The likes of Martin Sorrell of WPP Group and Stuart Hampson, chairman of John Lewis, have signed up to help found the the Centre for Tomorrow's Company, a think-tank devoted to reforming British business. An inquiry by the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) forms the basis for the group.

The report advocates the Hutton-ish "inclusive approach". This is pretty touchy-feely stuff for hard-headed businessmen. "Until we free ourselves from adversarialism in business relationships, UK supply chains will continue to underperform." No more price wars or contested bids, then?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn