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Welcome aboard: Moorhouse's executive chairman Ian Parkinson (left) with in-coming managing director Lee Williams

Moorhouse’s names its new MD

Burnley based brewer Moorhouse’s has hit on a new managing director, one whose background suggests that the brewer is serious about gaining traction in marketing its beers.

Taking up the reins from the beginning of this month is Lee Williams, who boasts an extensive background in making beer brands bigger for regional brewers. Most recently Williams was marketing manager for Marston’s and credited for its refresh of the iconic brand, most notably improving its credentials for craft beer enthusiasts by converting to bottle-conditioned small pack.

Prior to Marston’s Williams rose through the ranks at a brewery neighbouring Moorhouse’s, joining Balckburn's Daniel Thwaites as national trade manager in April 2001. By January 2009 he was appointed head of brands marketing, and subsequently developed golden ale Wainwright into one of the leading cask ale brands nationally.

In an interview with The Brewery Manual in September 2016, executive chairman Ian Parkinson made it clear that Moorhouse’s was rethinking its emphasis on marketing.

“Moorhouse’s is not as big a brand as we’d like it to be, we want a higher profile,” said Parkinson. “In terms of national distribution, we feel like a small fish in a big pond. But we’ve got the capacity and the quality.

“Over the last four years the investment has gone into the brewing operation - at the expense of investment in marketing. It’s sales and marketing that needs our attention now. There are lots of opportunities.”

Williams takes over as MD indirectly from former head David Grant, who left the business in March 2016. (In the interim the executive team led by Parkinson have shared the MD duties.) During Grant’s 14 years as MD Moorhouse’s became a thoroughly modern brewery, with it celebrating in 2010 the opening of a £4.2 million brewhouse capable of 1,000 barrels a week.

By 2015 sales had reached £6 million, an impressive accomplishment given that the brewery was producing just 35 barrels a week when Grant joined Moorhouse’s in 2001.

In announcing Williams’ appointment Parkinson noted Moorhouse’s “first-class reputation” for producing quality beers.

Parkinson commented, “Lee’s appointment is our commitment to fully develop our potential in what is today a very dynamic and exciting beer market. Lee will be charged with delivering commercial success and establishing Moorhouse’s as a modern, contemporary beer brewer.”

Williams in reply noted that Moorhouse’s has an excellent range of beers. “With Ian’s ambition and support, Moorhouse’s is well positioned to achieve success across the coming months and years. I can’t wait to begin this new venture.”

Larry Nelson
10th April 2017

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