Friday, 17 April 2015

CIPS up in a brewery

On Thursday 16 April Market Dojo attended CIPS Bristol event at Butcombe Brewery. I had not attended a CIPS Bristol event before, but was in the area and my colleague, Nick, had organised our attendance.

The journey from Market Dojo HQ to Butcombe Brewery took us along the M5, and then through some of the beautiful countryside around Bristol.

We arrived at 7pm for 30 minutes of networking before the tour. The room where we congregated had a long bar, and interesting information on the history of the brewery. Everyone in attendance was friendly and anticipating an interesting evening. After some procurement related chit chat the tour started!

The tour was lead by Martin Love and started with a 10 minute introduction in the bar. Martin was clearly  passionate about the brewery, and had a wealth knowledge about all aspects of the business. As a keen beer drinker, I found the talk fascinating. The talk covered history, business aspects and then moved on into the process of making beer. We then toured the brewery, following the steps in the process from the arrival of the hops, the importance of the water and how the barrels rotate through the supply chain.

Butcombe brewery do supply some beer to Tesco, and Martins explanation of the negotiation process and all the factors involved was particularly interesting to the procurement audience. Butcombe maintain a ratio so that they do not become too reliant on one customer and can retain a balance of power.

After the tour, we returned to the bar for an opportunity to sample the beer. As my colleagues were both driving, I did my best to maximise the amount of sampling that I did, encouraged by the team from the Brewery. This gave us another chance to chat to the other attendees and the team from the brewery.  I learnt some great facts about cider apples, and that Butcombe's new Czech style Pilsner is preferred by the under 35's, who have different taste buds to those of us who are not.

Far too soon, it was time for us to leave, and my chauffer for the evening to drive me home.

I would like to say a huge thanks to the team at the brewery for such a great tour, to Tom Casey and CIPS for organising it and to Nick and Alun for driving me to and from the brewery. I think that the idea of CIPS engaging with local business is a really great concept and would like to see it extended. I would also definitely recommend the brewery tour (and the beer)!
In the bar, tasting the Pilsner!


  1. Now that I've had a moment to get over my jealousy (and sadness at the empty glass in the picture above) I'm curious... what was the mix of professionals at this event? Were there - as you might say - a significant portion of the event attendees 'drinking the Pilsner'?

    There has been so much attention (at least here in the US) placed on the changes Millennials and other young workers will bring to the procurement profession. I'm wondering if an event like this, with an obvious social draw, brought them out, and if so, what did they contribute to the discussion?

  2. Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for your comment.

    I think that about 15% of the attendees could be described as Millennials although they were not the only ones 'drinking the Pilsner'.

    The social draw was probably tempered by the fact that the event was in a relatively remote location, so required some effort to attend.

    However, the discussion was interesting, and showed a real interest in understanding how the business worked. The questions did also include some in-depth queries about technical aspects of the process from some keen Cider makers.