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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

Sheridan Maine: Financial Accountant

£150 - £190 Daily Rate: Sheridan Maine: One of London's leading water supplier...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor