2 mins: Peter Mooney

With Peter Mooney being appointed to head of the newly formed McEwan’s Beer Company, we find out what he’s got planned, and if convenience retailers are making the most of the growing demand for different ales.

You’re heading up a new company, what’s the story?

What we’ve done is set up the McEwan’s Beer Company as an autonomous business within Wells and Young’s. I’ve been appointed General Manager and I’m currently in the process of establishing the company. The plan is to have a team in Scotland, with support staff at Wells & Young’s Bedford base.

Is it still too early for an office?

Thankfully, no. We’ve opened an office in Haymarket in Edinburgh, which is right in the heart of McEwan’s country, close to the brewery.

What’s MCB’s vision for its brands then?

We want to get the McEwan’s brands back to being the prominent ales in Scotland, as they’ve been for as far back as 150 years. We’ll be investing in growth through innovation and we want to be a face of authority in the sector.

How are your plans coming along?

We already have some people in place, in sales and marketing, and I’m meeting with Wells and Young’s soon to discuss how we’re going to assemble the team, how many will be based in Edinburgh and how many in Bedford. It’s still very early days.

It must be getting to the exciting stage?

Yes. It feels like that for all of us. I left big business five years ago and didn’t want to go back to that kind of working, but this is the best of both worlds. We can be innovative and entrepreneurial but we’ve got that support structure behind us. Paul Wells, the chairman, is great. He’s so engaged in the Scottish business. He’s full of encouraging words and when it comes down to it, he puts his money where is mouth is, puts things into action. I can’t ask for more than that.

Where do you see the ale market, currently?

What we’re seeing as the category grows is the creation of different ales for different occasions. We want to protect our brands, such as Export and 70/- but also modernise them while also tapping into current trends that are drawing younger consumers into the category. We started that with the launch of McEwan’s Red. Amber and Signature are also part of that.

It’s an exciting time for beer.

It’s a great time to be a beer drinker. There’s so much going on in Glasgow, Edinburgh and beyond.

Do you think local retailers are making the most of the trend?

Not yet. I think they could do more to be honest. A lot of convenience stores have quite a predictable range of beer. If you see people shopping beer in Tesco, they take their time, read labels. Some c-stores are there with it, but it’s something customers are interested in seeing. And it’s something we want to help retailers do.

How will you go about that?

We have a National Account Manager, Richard Gardener, who will be working on that, plus in Jakub and Joanna, we have two brand ambassadors who will be going round local retailers and holding depot days in wholesalers, taking the brands to retailers.

How can retailers start to improve their offer?

It’s about finding a range to fit the needs of customers. Space is obviously limited but it’s worth stocking mainstream ale, along with something more complex, a classic IPA. It’s about getting a range that’s compact enough to be realistic but also able to serve a number of occasions.

And the all important question: what’s your favourite beer?

For a while it was McEwan’s Red, but of late I’ve been really enjoying our Amber ale. It’s a golden ale and it’s very tasty.

 

FACTfile

Having a background that includes working for companies such as Coca-Cola, Diageo, Scottish & Newcastle Maxxium, Peter Mooney has just been appointed General Manager of the newly formed McEwan’s Beer Company.

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