My continual search for insight into fellow local family businesses led me to a brewery last week. Following an invitation from local solicitors Frettens and local accountants Princecroft Willis – who host the Family Business Club – I embarked upon a brewery tour at the Hall and Woodhouse brewery – all in the name of research!
This remarkable family business is owned and run by the seventh generation of the Woodhouse family, Mark and Anthony Woodhouse. The company have been brewing beer since 1777 when Charles Hall began brewing for the soldiers in Weymouth who were preparing to face Napoleon.
We visited their brewery in Blandford St Mary and were given a tour of the brewery. What fascinates me about these types of businesses is how they’ve managed to run a family company so successfully over the years. My friend, Tony Burton, who runs TMB Systems in Christchurch, came along as my guest and we did some rough numbers, working out they’re turning over around £1 million a week. Over the past 250 years they have successfully evolved their business model time and time again to respond to all of the challenges presented through changing circumstances. The names of their beers alone is one great example of how they’ve remained relevant to today’s generation.
The company owns over 200 pubs across the UK with bottled beer being their biggest seller in the supermarkets. We tasted their brand of beer “Badger” after the tour – research again, I assure you!