Breweries are missing a trick

12 January, 2007

As runners-up in the Drinks Retailing Awards Best Independent Beer Retailer category 2005, winners in 2006 and finalists again in 2007 I am sure you will see that we are committed to offering our customers the best beer range and pricing we can and this has been recognised and rewarded by your publication.

What a shame it is, then, that this is not followed up by the mighty beer suppliers with their vast resources. With the exception of Scottish Courage, wh ich ha s been very helpful (if only on a "one-off" basis), the level of support we have had from all the beer suppliers has been practically non-existent. We buy mainly from Booker, so have no direct contact with suppliers. I read about SABMiller and In Bev in the trade press all the time and can't help thinking that they must have someone in their vast organisations with the initiative to track down the best independent beer retailer in the country just to see if they can offer any help . Of course I'm living in a dream world, I'm just a tiny independent retailer, not even affiliated to any symbol group so I don't appear on anyone's radar .

I wonder what happens when Tesco opens a new store. My bet is it would not be sent from department to department within SABMiller or In Bev. I confess someone from In Bev sent me a box of 48 glasses and promised to call and see me . That was over a year ago . As for SABMiller, I gave up after about 10 calls and ages explaining my case. What do you think the chances are of someone at any of the big breweries, not just the big three, reading this letter and taking the trouble to see what support they can offer a retailer of their products? I'll let you know.

Alan Dunn

Open All Hours

Keswick

If memory serves ...

I am sorry Allan Cheesman did not like my comments (OLN, Dec 8), and somewhat surprised he says he has never heard of me. I have certainly heard of him.

Indeed, while he was wine director of Sainsbury's, and I was writing a regular column for the Scotland on Sunday , I had a lengthy phone conversation with him about his views . Maybe his busy life crowds out "less important" issues and events from his memory. Perhaps, even though he continued as a part-time consultant with Sainsbury's after retiring from his wine directorship in 2002 and running an active independent consultancy, he did not notice my successful action against Sainsbury's and others for displaying a favourable review I wrote onto wine it had not been about.

Martin Isark




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