A South West-based brewing company which operates more than 40 pubs has had its supply chain streamlined, resulting in a reduction of 843,879 food miles.
Butcombe Brewing Company, based in Wrington, near Bristol, is owned by the Liberation Group which is a finalist in the Best Sustainable Pub Company category of the 2019 Publican Awards, the winners of which will be announced on 12 March in London. The reduction in food miles formed part of that award nomination and was made possible through Butcombe’s partnership with the Regency Purchasing Group, also based in the South West
Alice Bowyer, Group Executive Chef at Butcombe Brewery, said: “We have a 40-strong managed and tenanted pub estate which includes everything from a three-Rosette country house hotel to gastro-pubs and wet-led premises.
We had over 35 different suppliers for food across the group, which, even when we had just nine or ten pubs, was difficult to manage, with low profit margins. Last year we bought 15 new businesses so that, in itself, brought a lot of challenges. We did not really understand where we were buying from, who from, and had little control”
“Regency have a lot of knowledge of the industry and a lot of understanding as to what we should be paying, from who, and their advice has been invaluable. Our overall experience of working with Regency has been fantastic. I see Regency more as a department of our own company than a supplier.”
At Regency over the past two years we have worked to help consolidate Butcombe’s supply chain throughout their pub estate. The reduction in food miles has been achieved by streamlining suppliers, using an increasing number of local suppliers and sourcing more produce from local growers.
It has been a very challenging time for the industry and we’ve seen more and more businesses turn to procurement companies like ours to help maintain trading margins or even to enhance food margins in order to help counterbalance the increases in labour costs.
We can help because of the discounts we achieve through our volume purchasing power and market intelligence. With another huge added benefit to achieving a significant reduction in food miles, and that’s the positive environmental impact.
It has been very satisfying to see our partnership with Butcombe Brewery go to the next level. It’s always good when you can see the positive impact you have on a client’s business.
Butcombe Brewery began in 1978 and in 2003 the business was sold and moved from the village it took its name from to a purpose-built brewery in nearby Wrington.
Jayson Perfect, Managing Director of Pubs and Inns for the Liberation Group, which owns Butcombe Brewery, said: “Regency allow us, as a company, to focus on our core business needs while supporting our very hungry approach to CSR.
“Sustainability has been a huge focus for me since starting with the Liberation Group just over two years ago.”
Operating over three separate islands, I have always felt that we have an obligation to do the most we can to look after our environment and wider local community. Regency has played a huge part in this and have come along on the journey. The saving of nearly 844,000 food miles is an achievement we are all very proud of”
“With the support of our Commercial Director, Fred Vanderplank, my aspiration is for us to be the most sustainable pub company in the country.”