Thursday 9 December 2021

The Brewers Congress, London 2021 part one

Having won tickets for to the Brewers Congress I had a fun day out in London. The talks were a mixed bag, but there was some good stuff in there and lots of free beer. 

First up was the rich guy who bought us a bottle of expensive beer to share in PortlandGreg Zeschuk:

Cheers Greg!

I hadn't known who he was before so I was glad to see this mystery solved. He did a talk about his brewery and building a team. Team building is important as you can't do everything yourself! Goals must be defined and everyone in a team has a role to fill. He uses selective hiring where as many people as possible will be involved in hiring and consensus must be reached before anyone is offered a job. He uses 'social engineering' to bring together people he thinks will work well together. Selective firing is also used though; "talented terrors aren't worth it!"

He was followed by another rich guy with a glorious American accent who did a talk about his lovely looking brewery in Norfolk:

Talk of the day for me was from Aaron McClure of Sharp's Brewery, who gave a very interesting presentation despite having what looked like a raging hangover:

Production at Sharp's rose rapidly, though it seems to have peaked in 2017:

They have a policy of putting people first and put time and money into it. 

The goal of making Doom Bar the number one cask ale brand no doubt became easier once they were owned by a large multinational corporation. But they're still only going to manage rapid growth if they have enthusiastic staff so aim to align their goal with how their values, mind set, behaviour and ways of working. 

Lots of brewers burn out and leave the industry so they have a range of support tools available, including doing pad work by the look of it. I suppose that helps get out some of your frustrations.

The support developing their staff, whether that's people keen to work towards a new role or just learn more about the job they currently do.

They engage with their staff, letting as many people as possible have a go on the pilot brewery and even stopping production for a table tennis tournament!

The success can be measured, such as by the high staff retention rate.  

Bi-annual anonymous staff surveys are also carried out.

Then there was a panel discussion on cask beer followed by a short intermission before FW Charlotte Cook was up to talk about hops, more on which will be revealed when I get round to writing it up. 

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