Question Time with Tom.
Our monthly meet the team starts with Tom, our operations director.
Today’s post is all about the Contract bottling and canning side of the business Tom looks after.
I may even let Tom do a takeover day, as I’m sure ‘a day in the life of’ would be interesting to someone!
1. Tom, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do here.
‘So, I’ve been working with Adrian since 2010. At the time we owned an artisan cheese company along with the brewery.
I was initially taken on as dairy manager with no other knowledge other than cheese tastes great on oatcakes or toast, and within eighteen months I was asked to project manage the new contract bottling line at the brewery.
In regards to my work now, my title ops director seems too elaborate, as, generally I run around the place doing everything! It’s my own doing though as I like to be ‘hand’s on’ with the contract bottling and canning side of the business, to ensure smooth running and efficiency for our customers.’
2. With regards to contract service what key points have you learnt along the way?
‘I’d have to say the golden rule is simply the cleaner and brighter the customers beer is the more return they will get on it.’
3. Anything in the pipeline for 2019?
‘Well we’ve just installed the new canning line, so this will be a key focus for the rest of this year, it’s certainly proving both informative and fun!
So I think the rest of the year will be around welcoming new customers as well as working with our loyal customers.’
4. what advice would you give to a new brewer who is looking at the contract service for bottling or canning their beers?
‘There’s definitely two different markets for beers and I would say this will dictate the packaging a customer chooses.
Canning seems to be lending itself to the various types of ‘craft’ beers out there, as typically we have canned hazy and unfiltered beers, whereas bottling still seems to be for the traditional beers, although we have seen an uptake in our 330ml bottles for both traditional and ‘craft.’
So to answer the question the choice is entirely the customers and of course we can advise but it will likely be dictated by their beers and route to market.’
5. What advise would you give to a brewer looking to choose a contract bottling/canning company?
‘First and foremost do your research. There are a few of us out there offering different services.
There’s various styles of contract packers. Also a contract service often has minimum quantities they will start with, so always check they suit not only your current needs but for your future growth.
Finally read reviews or ask your other brewer friends as in my opinion working with a company who makes customer service a top priority is of paramount importance, as typically with all service companies people only truly know how good a company is when things go wrong, which in the real world they can and do.’