Tuesday, 6 May 2014

MBA Students Experiental Study of the Beer Industry

Royal Holloway MBA students visiting SAB Miller, the worlds #2 brewing company

Thanks to the kind invitation from Jonathan Bennett, Director of Corporate Affairs, a visit to the global headquarters of FTSE10 SAB Miller  was offered to Royal Holloway MBA students as part of their professional development programme.

During their afternoon visit they were able to interact with Managing Director Gary Haigh of Miller Brands, the UK arm of the highly successful global brewer.  Gary presented the impressive performance of his organisation, which imports premium branded bottled beers from around the world.  A superb example of a sales and marketing business that nurtures a portfolio of quality brands that include the historic leading Czech Pilsner Urqueller label and Peroni Nastro Azzuro (Blue Riband) from Italy. 

MBA Kelli to this learning/networking opportunity a few steps further and got to experience first hand promotional activity from MillerBrandsUK to link Italian culture with their stylish Peroni beer.

Considering global & local industry dimensions

Reflecting the large and global or small and local structure of the brewing industry students also visited a craft brewer, Hogs Back in Togham, Surrey.  With a highly accessible manufacturing operation, MBA candidates were shown around all the production whilst sampling a range of different products offered in the Hogs Back stable.  It is was tough work, but the MBA group rose to the challenge.  

Located on the foothills of the impressive Hogs Back (a hill shape that resembles that of a pigs profile) and benefitting from local support after twenty years of operation the company possesses an established distribution via traditional casks to pubs and clubs in a 60 mile radius.  Additionally, a function of the emergence of individual bottle sales formats in supermarkets who offer a range of traditionally brewed, small scale (or craft) beers, bottled ale is offered via national distribution. 

Five core products share related bottle imagery and design style, but use different (amusing) names and colours to provide the brewery with a striking 'block' of product at the point of sale (on the shelves of a supermarket, restaurant or even pub).  Tea (T.E.A. more correctly) offers an instant joking opportunity as regulars order a pint of tea !  (One point of sale promotion was an old fashioned ceramic tankard sporting the Hogs Back brand that could be taken for a mug of tea  !)

Subsequent diversification sees a range of unrelated brand images being introduced; Hog Star (a craft lager), AoverT (a bottle conditioned over strength 'barley wine') and harking back to the 1920's heyday of British Racing, a Brooklands brand has been introduced.  There is also a scrumpy cidre brand (but I've forgotten its name).  In under a year the Hogs Back appear to be gearing up for both volume, product and partnership expansion.