Thursday, 20 August 2009

Hero's outside the mash tun No 3: The Distribution manager.

After covering draymen and beer writers, I thought that this time it was the distribution managers turn to get a mention. The distribution manager ultimately manages the distribution of all stock that’s not going out via a distributer. As with my previous post of this series, in tribute to the drayman, the distribution manager essentially manages the activity, routs and stock that the brave drayman must deliver. On occasions the distribution manager may him/herself be needed to act as a support drayman when needed. Our very own distribution manager at Daleside, Col, considers himself not only as a manager but as supporting GDB (general dogs body) being able to work in or outside the brewery. Col also knows allot of different pubs, what their like, how to get to them, and who runs them, essential knowledge for the role.

Col hard at work, the expression suggest he's really up for managing some dray runs.

Planning the action.

Col delegates dray runs for the following day with Draymaster Steve.

Col hails from a splendid coastal Northumberland village called Craster, here Col as told us about how, as a boy, he used to have to save little friend Timmy from great white sharks and giant killer jellyfish back in 1975. But this was only one of many adventures of Cols long history of working inside and out of the brewing world. It was in fact a few years back now, after working at Daleside for awhile, Col decided to leave the company and start up with his own venture in brewing. His own brewery, but this would be no ordinary brewing venture, Col had an idea for an innovation that he thought would blow all competition out the water. An idea so clever he would soon become world famous for. The idea, as it happens, was not for any novel advanced wort separation method, marketing ploy or new waste management system, but to man the entire brew house operations, distribution and clerical work at some levels, by badgers.


It was thought at these early stages that by using organized teams or large groups of around 40-50 highly trained badgers per BBS (badger brew squads), that a shift by shift work Rota could be established. Significantly the badgers would not require payment, just feeding, and Col would have so many badgers that if one rang in sick, another could be brought in from a different BBS. In the seat of power Col could simply control movements of beer, brewing activities and cleaning and maintenance operations, all badger executed via a single glass plated office suspended above the brew house. From here he could watch over the badgers at work and communicate to them via various speakerphones, or via a large megaphone that could be heard by the entire brew house (in the case of any badger misbehaving). Badgers mashing in, badgers scrubbing vessels, badgers on forklifts, this was the dream, this was a big dream… Of badgers.

However sadly these plans didn’t quite work out the way Col hoped. Firstly there was already an established brewery under the name he wanted. The badgers were too small to operate forklift trucks or vans so specially designed badger sized vehicles had to be looked into, difficulties arose disciplining the animals, then came the trouble with the RSPCA, but that’s a different story. But one of the most tragic moments of this tail, was when one of Cols favorite badgers, named Geoffrey code B1051 of BBS4 tragically died from falling into the copper during a brew.

R.I.P Geoffrey of badger brew squad 4. All he wanted to do is add some late hops.

Saddened by this, Col decided to spread Geoffrey’s ashes by Craster bay, and was determined to keep brewing. However over some time the badgers started getting increasingly unruly. So uneasy Col became, that he started claiming that the badgers were threatening to not only overthrow his leadership, but mass together into a small army and invade Craster itself. This made Col very worried, so much so that he considered contacting the government but everyone advised not to as he would probably risk being taken away by blokes in white coats. Luckily Cols best mate Lance said he had some gear, and could step in and handle the situation. So he did.

Cruel but necessary, Lance was confident that the 9mm round could halt the charge of a hostile fully grown adult male badger.

So that was the end of Cols brewing ventures, later he thought of trying again, maybe this time with ferrets or perhaps a mixture of small mammals, but his friends put him in place, it wasn’t going to work. Since then Col has found piece in his work, and is even an honorary member of the RSPCA.
But the moral of the story is to always think things through before you do them, just like Col and other distribution managers do today on a daily basis. Making sure the beer is delivered at the right place and time and pre-prepared to be collected when necessary. In a sense the distribution manager is a central hub of operations, always ready to knuckle down no matter how busy it gets. But if you do manage to bump into Col, don’t mention about the badgers, he likes to keep the traumas of the past behind, and so do well all. But as a nice down to earth bloke I’m sure he could tell you all about distribution management, various pubs, or how he has met the band members from various groups such as Slayer in his younger days. Though if you’re looking for him on the weekend I would advise to start by looking in Hales bar in Harrogate, and asking for Carla.

Note that some information on this blog post may be inaccurate, or exaggerated.

Also note that no badgers were killed or harmed during the making of this blog post.


Ed said...

Surely as a Northerner he should have got ferrets to run the brewery? ;-)

Rob said...

well I think it was an idea but he thought they were a bit more dangerous. Additionally badgers were black and white, Col liked this as thats Newcastle Uniteds colours.

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