Adam Trippe-Smith - Keep punching

 Founder & Managing Director

Founder & Managing Director

"Culture and execution will eat strategy for breakfast"

"Be silly, be honest, be kind"

Adam Trippe-Smith

Keep punching

Adam founded Kegstar in December 2012 and has extensive experience in the beverage industry having also co-founded McLaren Vale Beer Company and being a Founding Director of Australia’s Independent Brewers Association.

McLaren Vale Beer Company was one of the fastest growing beer companies in Australia during 2009 to 2011 under Adam’s leadership. It was during this period, when continually falling short on beer supply due to keg shortages, Adam identified the opportunity for the Kegstar keg-pooling model. Having sold McLaren Vale Beer Company to investors in December 2011, Adam embarked on the project to bring Kegstar to life.
Kegstar is an asset pooling business specialising in stainless steel kegs used to transport beverages, principally beer and cider. Under its pooling model, Kegstar owns and manages a growing pool of over 300,000 kegs. Each Kegstar keg is uniquely identified and tracked when the keg moves through the supply chain. Kegstar was sold to global supply-chain logistics company Brambles Limited in December 2015 and currently operates in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and launched in the USA in April 2017.
As a professional Adam has a background in corporate finance, corporate development and M&A with Ernst & Young, Diageo, easyGroup, Rinker Materials and APN News & Media.

As an entrepreneur, Adam was a co-founder of in London in 2000, co-founder of McLaren Vale Beer Company in 2008, co-founder of the Independent Brewers Association in 2011, founder of Kegstar in 2012 and founder of The Balmain Ball in 2014. Adam holds an MBA from Melbourne Business School and in 2011 Adam was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist. Adam has lived in Adelaide, McLaren Vale, London, Tianjin, and Sydney.

My Story - Adam Trippe-Smith

It is always awkward to talk about yourself when in a room full of people with their own interesting story to tell. That’s why I like to focus on sharing the mistakes that I have made, so that others may also learn from them, rather than sharing to tell my story as one of self-promotion or self-advertising. My career began in Adelaide where I was born, my first job was as a chartered accountant although I am not quick to tell people this now. People are always shocked to find out that someone so heavily involved in the beer industry started their career as an accountant, but it was something that I enjoyed and something that I found I was naturally good at. I guess what I refer to as the first phase of my career was one of finance, comprised of accounting, taxation, corporate finance and treasury which spanned over a 6-year period from 1996 to 2002. I did the typical chartered accountant thing of obtaining your chartered accountant certificate, cancelling it the day after it was obtained and then heading over to London where the real opportunities existed. It was a great grounding discipline to have which is portable, I was able to go over to London and worked there for three years including a year in the department of treasury for a large beverage company who owned the likes of Guinness and Smirnoff. Whilst the job paid the bills for the mean time, it wasn’t the right fit for me.

Luckily enough though I happened to be in the right place at the right time to be in the path of a head hunter who was seeking talent for a company called EasyGroup. It was a massive company comprised of all of the ‘Easy’ brands including EasyJet and was wanting to expand into more than a company, into a group. The founder Stelios was close with Richard Branson and wanted to adopt a similar strategy that Richard Branson had implemented in relation to the Virgin Group. In turn Stelios set up EasyGroup and they were after a finance person for that new group, luckily enough that person was me. They were looking for a finance person who had experience beyond accounting, I had worked in treasury and corporate finance. I was probably able to sell this to the head hunter, who I pushed into telling me what the start-up was for and knew that if successful that I could perform the role.  I was about the 8th or 9th person employed by the new EasyGroup and they sponsored me so that I was able to remain living in London. We started working on a number of start-ups, one of the most well researched being EasyCar which is basically a car rental equivalent of EasyJet. My role became a bit of an odd-jobs man, from capital raising to financing.

Stelios gave us as a group 10 million pounds and told us that he wanted a car rental version of EasyJet, a model based on being low cost, having one type of car with a financial incentive to book well in advance of the required rental period. Whilst we were given substantial funding, we also ordered 4000 Mercedes Benz A-class cars. A model of car that was not one of the most popular models amongst the Mercedes Benz range at the time. It was a great deal for us and a great deal for them, but we just didn’t have the money for it. The week before we launched we still hadn’t signed a funding agreement because even though we had the backing of Stelios and 10 million pounds in the bank, it still wasn’t enough for the banks to agree to finance the purchase of 4,000 cars. We got there eventually but this was my introduction to start-ups, I brought my finance skills to it and found that I fell into a start-up team quite naturally. It was a great culture and I built friendships that still exist today all around the world. We started developing the business in January 2000 and just four months later we launched it in April 2000, which fell across the Easter weekend in three of the countries that we launched in.

This was the start of the second phase of my career, the one which I loosely describe as the corporate development phase. One that consisted of corporate development as well as start-ups that were well funded by their backers. EasyCar was a fun project and a positive way to be introduced to my first start-up given that we had an existing brand to work off and we had the money to fund it. It was taking an already existing platform and then executing on it. The last thing that I did whilst at EasyCar was to introduce private equity, I introduced a couple of private investors into the business with plans to eventually float the business around Europe and around the world.

There was still plenty to be done but I had been in London for 3 years at that point and was reaching a point where I needed to decide whether to stay and establish a life in London or to return back to Australia, I knew if I returned I wanted to be in Sydney. We were able to build a great company that has had its challenges since then but it was time for me to return to Australia. I moved to Sydney and started to build my life there, I was wary of returning to Australia in my 30’s and not having the contacts in Melbourne and Sydney regardless of what I had accomplished whilst overseas. I wanted to return at an age where I could still develop a network and the necessary credibility. I believe that returning was the right decision and following my return I continued in the corporate development industry, working for two other companies after EasyCar.

Upon returning I worked for CSR, a top 20 listed ASX company, as part of their corporate strategy group. We then effectively demerged CSR into two parts and created a new company called Rinker Group which was all about construction materials. Whilst it wasn’t necessarily glamorous, it was a great company, it was one of the top performing companies in terms of stocks, when it was eventually taken over it was one of the largest cash takeovers. It was a learning curve being part of the transition from being in an established company like CSR and then moving into this new company which didn’t have the existing legacy that CSR had, and that was quite American in its method of operating given that 80% of its business occurred in the States. I spent four years there and was part of many acquisitions, we were a very active company. I enjoyed being on the corporate side of things and not a being on the investment banker side, internally getting deals done. I had the opportunity to go to China for a year, I was sitting at my desk one day and the CEO for China Pacific came and asked me what I was doing the following week. That was that, we rushed through an emergency visa and off I went with the CEO.

That was my first time into mainland China, I was meant to be going there just to fix some issues as the business needed turning around, they were experiencing some governing issues. After a week the CEO told me that he was going back to Australia and that I was staying. Just a week after that he called me again and asked if actually, I could be the interim CFO and fix up the problems that the company was experiencing. I came back to Australia for Christmas, packed up my apartment in Sydney and off I went to China in the first week of January. Unbeknownst to me there was another young guy from the Perth branch of the concrete business. On our first day in China we got to know each-other and it turned out that we had actually gone to the same school in Adelaide, 3 or 4 years apart. We went about fixing the problems in the company together, it was a real opener for me and whilst very challenging it was also greatly rewarding. I was living in Tianjin, about 2 hours east of Beijing, a very industrial port city. There would have been 40 to 50 expats in the city at the time. As someone in their late 20’s there was absolutely nothing to do, I spoke no mandarin, so I spent my weekends forcing myself to learn at least a basic level of mandarin. It wasn’t like being in Shanghai or Beijing where if you caught a taxi you could give directions in English, without basic mandarin skills in Tianjin I wasn’t even able to get a cab anywhere. So, for a while the highlight of my weekend was going to the local DVD store with a company driver, until I started to work things out and started travelling to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. We were operating during a time in which there were significant issues around bribery and cash favours which of course I had to report, making me the bad guy particularly with the general manager there who was the subject of the investigations. The isolation and the boredom were also dangerous as you would do things like drink too much simply because there wasn’t anything else to do, all the expats would go to the bar at The Sheraton every night as there was nothing else.  Eventually I was snapped, I was sick of the drinking and in turn putting on weight, so I started travelling every weekend and exercising every day. Suddenly, I was this crazy Australian guy running around Tianjin every morning at 6am, people would stare at me like an alien.

After four years with Rinker, an opportunity came up with APN News Media which was a smaller and less famous media company compared to the likes of Fairfax.  But APN was heavily diversified and was best known for being the leading media company in New Zealand and is now the largest broadcaster in Australasia. The opportunity at APN was to be the one-man band, M & A kind of dude, it presented a good opportunity to move away from Rinker which was a much larger company with structures and with people above me.  Moving across to APN allowed me to become a one-man band in turn expanding my role and responsibilities. It turned out to be the right move given that two months later Rinker was bought out and everything changed and that also two months later APN became a takeover target of one of its major shareholders. The first year there was all about the takeover defence, which resulted in me being unskilled but working with all the lawyers and the bankers. I was thrown into the deep end of it which was great, my boss and mentor there at the time gave me the freedom to run with that. I built a great network of lawyers, bankers and other people in Sydney through that experience. After a combined 6 years at Rinker and APN I was ready for my next phase.

The next phase was what I have named my start-up phase, which kicked off in 2008. During my two years at APN, a mate and I had sat down and had discussed how we both wanted to do something outside of our corporate jobs. We wanted to do something that would get us a return on capital investment and on our time, something that would be fun but something that we would also learn from. Once or twice a week we would meet for breakfast with an agenda of the different options we had looked and what we could start-up. The ideas ranged from starting a wine label through to buying a concrete plant, all the way through to a ski-boat manufacturing business. Eventually we came to the idea of beer. We both grew up in Adelaide and in doing so were lucky due to the existence of Coopers, your introduction to cloudy ale as opposed to Toohey’s in Sydney, XXXX in Queensland or Carlton in Melbourne. You are introduced to different beers and although you don’t realise it at the time, you are exposed to all different types. So, we started to look at beer, more specifically craft beer, a segment that has boomed in the industry over the last 10 years or arguably over the last 20 years in the US. Our macro view was that Australia was about to follow suite and our micro view was that in Sydney the likes of Mountain Goat and Blue Tongue had started gaining traction. We saw craft beers that were becoming very successful and others that weren’t. When we started to look into it we found a common thread that it was passionate homebrewers or even IT specialists who were beer geeks leading the craft beer movement. There weren’t many start-ups coming at the craft beer industry from a commercial perspective. That was, without any disrespect to our friends in the industry, our point of difference as we saw the commercial opportunity and thought it would also be something enjoyable to pursue.

I have no qualifications in beer, although have consumed plenty of it. We had no idea how to start a beer business, but we threw everything it to it. We would meet every day before work when we had to be in the office at 8, and after work we would be on gmail chat after work whilst sitting on the couch next to our wives. We started by visiting a brewery in the south of Sydney. It was January 2007 when we gave to a brewery in Adelaide a mandate to start producing Vale Ale and it took a year to get everything from the packing through to the brew recipe just right. We had chosen Adelaide because even though we were both living in Sydney, we had both grown up in Adelaide and we wanted to avoid the East Coast clutter, with so many start-ups happening in Sydney and Melbourne when not much was happening in Adelaide other than the big established Coopers. We were debating whether to set up in metropolitan or rural Adelaide, we had both holidayed in McLaren Vale. I was sitting at lunch one day brainstorming names and it just came to me, Vale Ale. It was so simple, but it wasn’t something we had thought of before.

By September 2007 the brand was finalised, and we had actually produced beer. Unfortunately, the first two brews were infected and had to be thrown out. We had invested everything we had, $50,000 each in getting it to this point. I was just lucky that having worked at Rinker I had shares in the company and that the company had been so strong in the market. The money that I took out from selling the shares went straight into Vale Ale. We were on the edge of losing everything given that the brews kept becoming infected. It was a matter of being resilient, of taking that attitude that we had to keep punching. For most people, a first infected brew is the end. You have everything you have invested sitting in 2,000 cases of beer which have been contaminated. Luckily, the owner of the brewery recognised the problem was on their end and agreed to brew it again for us. However, we had still lost all our packaging and had to repurchase it all before we could be reimbursed. I remember with the second brew, the first few beers we opened were fine. A week or two later they started to foam over again and all I could think was here we go again. Turned out that batch also had a micro problem that had not been tested properly by the brewery. It was not until the third brew that we finally had it right. By early 2008 we finally had beer to offer and we threw it into a few friendly venues.

I then left APN Media in July 2008 to work for Vale Ale full-time, this was the final step into the third phase of my career. I left the security of a corporate salary and everything that comes with it, following the birth of my first child in 2007. I had no income, a wife and a son, a beer that had been brewed unsuccessfully twice already and on top of this I decided it was the right time to do my MBA. I had always been interested in doing it during my corporate life, but I never found a way in which I could fit it into my life. I realised it was the perfect time to squeeze it in as I was finally time flexible and I could finance it. I came down to Carlton, did a tour and put in my application. Luckily, I received a small sponsorship and was able to finance the rest of it myself. It started in 2008 and I was doing 4 residentials whilst managing the very early stages of Vale Ale, taking it from just being 2000 cases of beer in 5 venues into something else entirely. This was then the next 3 and a half years of my life. The Melbourne Business School were a big part of this as I would take every opportunity in class to talk about Vale Ale, to get free advice from the professors and other classmates around brand, the brewing process, the vessels and understanding cycle times.

Along the way it was me not taking a cent out, of me funding myself and of me going around the country with a four pack under my arm to find out if people would buy our brand, like our product and whether our hypothesis about the beer industry in Australia was correct. It all proved correct so in 2009, the mate who I had began the business with who had remained a silent 50/50 partner, and I decided to take the risk and to raise capital. This took the form of a small capital raise from three high net worth individuals closely associated to me. We raised $200,000 or $300,000 which we used to ramp up our business, half of which we used to buy a hospitality business in McLaren Vale for which we hired our first employee. For the first time we actually had cash in the bank and over the next two years I worked really hard to bring in other investors and to expand the business to the point we had 6 sales persons instead of just me. We then started to plan a brewery. It was a 2-year process during which Mountain Goat started in Melbourne, Stone & Wood started in Byron Bay, Four Pines in Sydney and Feral in Perth. There were five of us who really led the charge to grow craft beer and to really start taking taps. I would say that there were three of us who experienced similar growth during those two years, going from 0 litres to 2 million litres. We struck deals with the likes of Dan Murphy’s and Coles, we even won the hottest 100 craft beer judging award that year. We had a lot of fun and we wore ourselves out. There were two key issues for me during that period though; firstly, I was moving between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide every week and secondly, I had diluted myself substantially. When you have a start-up, you don’t have the credibility to go to a bank and pitch a $20 million valuation. I had diluted myself down to 20% and at one point even closer to 15% which you shouldn’t do although it isn’t so much about the percentage you have but what you have the percentage in.

In 2011 though something great happened, Fosters came along as they had been watching the craft beer segment as they wanted to get in. They met with the top craft beer brewers around the country including us and we did a deal with them. It was great for them and a great deal for us, our shareholders were so excited given that we were still a fairly new loss-making, high capital company. My background allowed me to talk the talk with Fosters, they could see the passion for brewing beer and the culture that we had developed around that passion, but I could also talk about the things such as shell agreements and financing which are of vital importance to large companies investing in start-ups. It took 6 months but by September 2011 we had a deal in which they were going to purchase 20% of the business and they were going to give us access to an additional 100 venues with an option for purchase a further 20%. We were never going to sell the whole business, instead it was going to be a partnership that allowed us to leap frog into the largest craft beer manufacturer in Australia. Literally two weeks after we had made the deal, SBA Miller lodges its bid for Fosters and everything changed as Fosters suddenly went into takeover mode. The deal with us was so small on paper it didn’t necessarily meet the threshold of the deals they had to meet. You would wait weeks at a time to hear back from the M & A, meanwhile we were out of cash but still trying to grow the business. Eventually, we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to go down a different path, reaching a distribution agreement with Woolworth’s in relation to their Dan Murphy stores. We then raised further capital from existing shareholders but by the end of 2011 I was exhausted and had diluted myself down and I felt that it was time for a fresh challenge.

I decided that I would start a new business in Sydney closer to home, something to which I could bring all my learnings and own 100% of it rather than 15%. This is what I did, my mates involved in Vale Ale and I were bought out by the external shareholders and they all continued with their day jobs. I took off three months to plan for a new brewery in Sydney, I began thinking about how competitive the beer market was and how maybe instead I should be a supplier to the industry. During my time at Vale Ale I had been running kegs and kegs are our greatest bottleneck, effectively we could brew as much beer as we could sell. That was fine for bottles and cans but not for kegs where you are constantly running out. The kegs come from Europe and cost $100,000, which you just don’t have laying around as a small business. There is also a lead time issue, you need to order the kegs whilst not knowing if there is the demand but by the time they arrive 6 months later you may have already lost that demand.

I visited the US a couple of times to see what was happening there. In the US most brewers rent their kegs, very few own them and there was one main player in the keg rental market which was at one point actually owned by Macquarie Bank. The industry here had always been talking about when that model would come to Australia and whether it would be brought here by the likes of Linfox or Microstar or would a family owned warehouse would do it. Point was that no one was doing it, so I decided that I would.

I went over to San Diego in 2012 and purchased a container of kegs, 880 kegs and upon my return I sent out an email to every I knew in the industry. During my time I the industry I had been one of the founders of the Craft Beer Industry Association, now called The Independent Brewers Association and through this I had built my brand and reputation in the industry. I sent out the email saying I had these kegs and asked if anyone wanted them. Stone & Wood, who are now the biggest independent brewery company in the country, came back to me and said they would take half of them. Invoice 1 was 12 December 12 to Stone & Wood for 440 kegs, that was the start of Kegstar. We were not only able to rent out the rest of them, but they were also being returned, we realised that this was working and I was keen to start expanding.  A mate of mine, Shane, who was a serial entrepreneur in New Zealand, had been one of the shareholders in Vale Ale.  He was very excited about the concept of a business that purchases an asset and then rents it out time and time again. He told me if I needed more capital, he was in, that was the second venture that we went into together. He brought in more capital and we purchased more kegs.

Around 6 months later it was time to swing the bat again, we had reached the point where a number of brewers and cider producers had become reliant on us even though we only had 2,000 kegs. I was very wary of damaging their business if we did this half-heartedly, we had reached a point where we needed to either shut it down or take it to the next level. That is what we did, in July 2013 we decided to raise some serious capital to set up the global plan for Kegstar, I knew we could do it but that it would require a lot of capital. From my time at Vale Ale I was only too familiar with how hard it is to raise capital, even as someone who had a background in it, it is very time consuming and mind numbing. You have to have coffee with 1000 people, all of who say yes but they don’t have the money or say no thanks. When it came time to raise capital for Kegstar I decided to run two processes in parallel rather than having all my eggs in one basket. I started a private high net worth capital raise and at the same I started trade capital raising. The intention being that whoever but the money in the bank would be the strategy that we used. We appointed a boutique firm to assist with the private capital raising and came up with a shortlist of those we thought may be interested.

I had heard on the grapevine that Brambles, the parent company of CHEP Pallets, had been interested in the beer industry but had done nothing about it. On paper they were the perfect investor and knowledge source for pooling assets, given they have pallets all around the world. It is the exact same model as that of Kegstar, that everyone uses pallets but there is no need for them to own those pallets. At 11pm one Monday night I decided to try to guess the email address of Tom Gorman, the CEO of Brambles at the time. I tried every combination I could think of, I sent this email telling him I had started this business, that I came from a background in the beer industry and that we were both in Sydney and asked if he was interested. Of course, for two weeks I heard nothing until the head of M & A rang me to say they had received my email and wanted to talk business. We started talking business in September 2013, but it was not until 6 months later, at the end of March 2014, that we had finally reached a deal. Brambles invested into Kegstar and provided a debt facility, so that I did not need to complicate things by bringing in a bank. Ultimately, we were a tiny part of Brambles, we were an experiment. I had gone down from 100% to 70% bringing in Shane and down to 50% with Brambles, then sold off another 5% to pay off some bills. In some ways Kegstar started for me in April 2014 as prior to this we had been two men with 2000 kegs and a dream but lacking the capital. Since then we have been running hard.

We are essentially a business that owns kegs and rents out dirty used kegs to brewers. The brewers then clean and sanitise the kegs, fill the kegs with their product, send it off to the venues and we then collect the empty kegs from the venue. It is identical to the Brambles model but what we have added to it is a level of technology and tracking. If you ask any brewer around the world how many kegs they own, they won’t know. They will know how many they have bought but they won’t know how many have actually been collected from the venues and returned to them. There is no reconciliation process so they only have rough figures based on what they expected have been returned. We started from day 1 with a keg fleet which had a 2D barcode and RFID tag on every keg. At the time I wasn’t sure how we would use them but I knew we couldn’t afford to go back and retrofit. We started using an off the shelf start-up technology app but the business wasn’t scalable, through our usage we were breaking their systems. At the first board meeting with the Brambles representatives I told them that we needed to develop our own technology, that it needed to be proprietary and it needed to be part of the core of our competitive advantage. Not knowing how to build software we employed a software coder, Alex, sat down with him and drew up on a whiteboard what the system should look like which would eventually come to be known as Kegstar Tracks.

We had developed what we considered to be world-class technology and an ecosystem for tracking kegs.  Within less than 12 months of Brambles coming onboard, I called a board meeting and told them that it was time for us to expand the company beyond Australia into the UK. Brambles had invested with the clear message that they weren’t interested in a little ANZ keg business, that they wanted something global with a $100 million plus revenue, so they were on board.

Kegs are different everywhere, if only it was standardised. Whilst kegs are all stainless steel and have a valve, it is the shape that changes, if you have a look at Kegstar keg, a CUB keg and a Lion keg. The two major brewers thought that by having unique shapes and valves they would have a competitive advantage as it would time them into the pubs. That was probably great in the early days but now every pub is used to having both types of beer on tap, meaning that the publican has to have all these connectors in order to be able to serve us both products. Moving beer around the world and between brewers becomes operationally very difficult because of the differences in kegs. We are  trying to standardise them now that we have a large role in the market.

I announced our expansion in the UK and less than 1 month later my wife and children had moved to London for 6 months. We launched but of course we needed more capital. I would now consider this to be one of my greatest learnings but at the time a stuff up, when you have a shareholder like Brambles on the register the ultimate outcome that everyone expects to happen is that they will eventually end up with 100%. We needed to raise capital then and there, we couldn’t afford to wait for the buy-out clause to lapse. Brambles agreed but I was clear I did not want them to own more than 75% to 80%, I wanted to retain some equity not for the sake of retaining equity but because I was aware of how different the cultures are between a top 20 listed ASX company and a start-up. To this day there remains that conflict between a big company and effectively a start-up which is still running around trying to grow. It has been a great partnership and up until last year when he retired, the CFO was the same one we did the deal with and was the shareholder representative on the Kegstar board. He became a mentor to me, we were in sync and became mates. He played the role of protecting me and Kegstar from Brambles, from its IT, HR and procurement and those other things that a small company like ours wasn’t and still isn’t ready for. We now operate in 5 countries; Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland and the US.

Just last week I sat down with my senior team and planned what the next 3 years will look like, we have another 5 countries on the list for expansion during that time. We are about to reach a supply of 400,000 kegs compared to the 2,000 kegs we first had when I brought in Brambles, the worlds largest asset pooler. We are only part way into the journey, in New Zealand and Australia we created the market. In the UK we entered the market as the underdog and remain that however we are winning in challenging the other two main players. The US is a very well serviced industry with lots of other players, we have been there for 9 months and its been hard. We have a plan to win and we have a plan to get to a global business, to be the keg owner and solution around the world.  

Personal health

I am not perfect at it, but I am certainly improving. I had burned myself out by the end of 2013, it was a delayed reaction from the Vale Ale days of doing a start-up cash, having children, doing an MBA and being on the verge of bankruptcy. It is fun as you are running on adrenaline but then you are also in the middle of an industry of excess, a continuous supply of free alcohol and an environment of constantly entertaining. At Vale Ale we also had the hospitality venue which meant we were working closely with the chef on things such as developing a wine list. Whilst I was exercising, you are up and busy from 5.30am and then at night you are catching up on all your board reports whilst still trying to make time for your family. For me, it eventually all caught up not early on but once I had started Kegstar, whilst I was in the process of raising capital for Kegstar. It got to the point where I literally could not move, where I couldn’t get up off the couch for a month. It is not only physically hard but also mentally hard to bounce back from that.

Having gone through that myself, a large focus of mine around the Kegstar team is about how we manage that as a start-up running hard in 5 different countries which has exploded in the last 18 months. Not only am I teaching myself how to lead but you also have to teach yourself how to have resilience and to set your team up to have that same resilience. Over the last 12 months, we have had two members of our team burn out despite making the efforts around it, it is an ongoing learning experience of how you best manage that. I am now a lot more rigorous about my own schedule, about pushing back and not being on my email late at night.

It is all about work hard play hard. I love a good dinner with a nice wine more than anyone, but I have cut out lunches. You just don’t need it, especially in the beverage industry where you can easily end up having three beers at lunch. I know that if I do that my performance suffers, if I am out entertaining and drinking for a week the impact on my output is substantial. These days we try to do less team building things in pubs and try to do more things outside or go and play tennis. We haven’t cracked the nut, but we keep revisiting it and looking at how we can do it better. Its easy to fall off the bandwagon but it is all about getting back into it and managing your family life and everything else a lot better.