Duncan’s first pub in Norwich earned inclusion into CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide (GBG) within a year. The following three decades saw him take the reins of a further seven outlets, all selected for GBG listing. He has run bars in France and the USA, marketed fine wines, worked in wholesale and been business manager of two independent breweries. Like Brett, Duncan is also nationally active in CAMRA, reporting to two steering groups on issues of licensing and security. He also served as Regional Director for Wales.
Following a conversation at the Great British Beer Festival, Duncan explains why he took up the offer to bring his expertise to the Beer Consultancy…
“My experiences as landlord, wholesaler and brewery manager seemed to complement the work that Brett was doing. With the pub industry changing at a remarkable pace, I’m sure there are licensees out there finding it hard to keep up and my lifetime’s experience in the trade could be invaluable to those hard-working landlords and landladies. Let’s face it, seven pubs in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide is a reasonable track record!
The industry is indeed changing but it’s still simple principles that keep the successful entrepreneurs ahead of the game. I’ve always firmly believed that he key element is that quality produces success. If your beer quality is average, your food offering unimaginative and your service standards just efficient, then you will tend to be making hard work of what should be a fun job. I’ve always believed that the customer should go away having experienced the ‘WOW!” factor – ask anyone who has been a regular in my pubs. It’s not rocket science to get the elements right, just the application of a few simple principles and techniques.”
Duncan’s business mantra is simple. “Running a successful pub is about doing easy tasks well. There are just an awful lot of easy tasks to remember!” His time ‘at the coalface’ offers licensees a practical approach to tackling all aspects of pub management, from beer quality to payroll, glass washing to budgetary control.