Better Wholesaling enjoyed 15 minutes with Rob Eastwood, managing director of Small Beer, a family-run on-trade, delivered wholesaler of cask and craft beer based in Lincoln.
Better Wholesaling: What was your first job?
Rob Eastwood: Growing up around a family business incorporating an off-licence, wholesale operation and pubs, I was always asked to fill in for absences at weekends and holiday times. I particularly remember peeling spuds and vegetables in a pub on a Saturday for the Sunday lunch service. Away from Small Beer, it was working behind a bar in a pub owned by a family friend.
BW: What does your average day involve?
RE: I try to be in by 8am, but with a very young child to get to nursery, it’s sometimes a little later. The usual checking of emails and matters arising is the first point of call, coupled with strong black coffee. Then I attack the ‘To Do’ list.
I meet with suppliers mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and I normally pop out to the bank at some point, too. My average day is very average, but it does get more exciting!
BW: What do you take to work every day in your briefcase?
RE: I don’t really have a briefcase and I try to leave my laptop at work each night so I can have good quality family time in the evenings. I always take some lunch in with me, though, so I suppose that counts.
BW: What’s the best thing about working at Small Beer?
RE: It’s two things really: the people and the beer! My colleagues, suppliers and customers are all equal in importance to me and I love the interaction I have with all three. On-trade delivered wholesale is still about relationships and we pride ourselves in maintaining and growing these every day.
But the beer is what our business is excited about. We strive to be the best when it comes to knowledge and range, and this obviously means lots of tastings!
BW: How would your colleagues describe you?
RE: Being the boss, it’s hard to tell sometimes. I think they would say I was fair and level-headed. I rarely get angry and prefer to solve the issues rather than shout about them. I am also the person in the business most passionate about what Small Beer represents, and I am very competitive, too.
BW: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
RE: Tell the truth – it is the same every time.
BW: Who would play you in the film of your life?
RE: I can’t believe anyone would be that interested in watching the movie, so I suppose I would have to say a young Robert Redford to at least give the audience some excitement.
BW: What do you do in your spare time?
RE: With my son Albert just turned one and another on the way, my wife Karen and I try to maximise our time together with our son. We make sure we do something together every weekend. I am a golf nut, though, so I also take any chance to get out on the course.
BW: Do you know any jokes?
RE: I had to ask some of my team for their best joke to answer this question, so I guess not.
BW: What’s your philosophy in relation to work?
RE: Work smartly and with a passion for what you are selling, and be honest. The rest will look after itself.