Last week we had the privilege of visiting the Robinsons Brewery in Stockport for a MMU Business School Visit to learn about the history of the family run business, to go on a tour of the brew house and, most importantly, sample some of their famous beer.
It was my first time attending one of the many business visits organised by MMU which are run to further our understanding of local businesses and to see real life business practices, and it was a fantastic experience.
We set of on the coach and headed to Stockport where we arrived at Robinsons to be greeted by our tour guide who was part of the 5th generation of Robinsons and Uncle to the current Managing Director. We began the tour on the top floor of the recently refurbished brew house and gave us some amazing insight into the brewing process and the intricate systems working behind the scenes and how the brewing process has developed over the year. We even had a chance to taste some barley and hops, which tasted quite nice!
After the enlightening tour, we made our way to the business centre where William Robinson, Managing Director of the Pub Division, told us more about the family history and Robinsons roots in Stockport and the North West. William spent time telling us about the structure of the business and more around its growth and the need to diversify into emerging markets such as pub accommodation to continue to be a market leader in the industry. It was refreshing to hear William speak about how Robinsons have fully embraced the changing habits of consumers and the need for their pubs to accommodate this change.
William also spoke at length about the importance of having a great PR and marketing department to fully reach customers to sell their products to – highlighting the recent Iron Maiden collaboration which was fuelled by social media.
William asked for our opinions on the pub and on beer – did we visit them and what did we drink? This led to a lively discussion around the reasons for visiting the pub, answers included a place to socialise, and as a place to escape the issues of the world we’re living in. It was interesting to hear how Robinsons are responding to the current trend in craft and keg beers and what they think the future trends will be in the beer and pub industry.
We finished the tour with a visit to the visitors centre where we were kindly given a token which we exchanged for a choice of beer – I went for a Blonde Tom which is Robinsons first beer to be brewed with Belgian yeast and is part of the Old Tom line which Robinsons refer to as arguably the world’s first craft beer.
Overall a brilliant afternoon learning about something new and seeing how important it is for marketing and PR in every business – and also how delicious Robinsons beer is. Cheers!