Last week we discovered that the Cock & Bull chain of English style pubs in Auckland had been sold to the Nourish Group. Word on the street was that the house beers produced by Steam would be discontinued. Hearts were heavy.
In doing some research (Goggle – Nourish Group) we find that one of the owners of Nourish is Simon Gault of the fabulous restaurant Euro and star of NZ Master Chef. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Simon and the rest of Nourish group could be persuaded to embrace craft beers for the new Cock & Bull?
So being the pushy American that I used to be, I called up the person on the contact page – Phil Clarke – and left a message, thinking that I would be ignored but also hoping that since NZ is so much like a small town where everyone knows everyone else, we could get in contact with someone. Meanwhile, other clever SOBA members found email and twitter accounts for Simon Gault. The idea was to invite Simon to Beervana: Mr Amazing Chef, please meet amazing array of NZ craft beer (they fall in love, great beer gets matched with great food, and New Zealand lives happily ever after). We even had an offer from Beervana to comp tickets for him.
But I got a call today from Phil Clarke. I asked about the purchase of Cock & Bull and if it was true the beer was being discontinued (true). Mr Clarke confirmed the contract had been made with Lion. When I expressed dismay, he admitted it was about the money.
I tried to convince him what a great opportunity this could be with Simon involved and everything. Phil tried to explain that Simon had nothing to do with the pubs, only the restaurants. I will be honest, I didn’t understand how a business group could have partners involved in some aspects of a company but not others. I wanted to ask more questions but Phil had loud children in the background and I am sure he didn’t call me back to give me a business lesson.
I took to twitter to confirm to my fellow beer aficionados that the rumors were true. With one last gasp I tweeted to Simon hoping he could guide decisions towards real flavour .
Simon was none too happy in being included in the C&B issue and tweeted back for me to call him. (must suppress urge to scream like a teenage girl at a lady gaga concert).
Mr Gault was lovely even though he was a bit miffed at being included in tweets. We discussed the issue of the Nourish Group web site, how it lists him as a full partner in the business. In reality, he has no say over any of the pubs (which in my opinion, is too bad, because they could be so much better!). I explained my viewpoint of how great an opportunity this could be: Great food + Great beer =Joy! how New Zealand is really at the beginning of a boom in craft beer. Wellington is starting to embrace food and beer matching but so far, Auckland was lagging behind.
For including Simon in my tweets about the nourish group poor business decision regarding the beer, I sincerely apologize.
To Mr Simon Gault, I look forward to discussing craft beer with you very soon. I have some great ideas for matching I hope will inspire you. (insert screaming like a teenage girl here).