beer in fiction / tv

Failing breweries as entertainment?


I’m a sucker for Wednesday evening programmes loosely based on business.  Channel 4 has recently filled the Apprentice-shaped hole with a couple of business-porn offerings, complete with the plinky-plonky strings and overly-simplistic solutions to complex problems that I love.

Bailey doesn’t normally share my passion (preferring shite American crime dramas) but even he was tempted by the opening episode of  “Gerry’s Big Decision“, in which millionaire Gerry Robinson decided which struggling brewery to save: Itchen Valley or O’Hanlons.

It was a very interesting insight into the types of challenges that small breweries face, although a lot of the “lessons” were common to many small busineses — founders with massive blind spots about the weaknesses in their business model; no control over cash flow; and demotivated staff in the wrong jobs.

It also made me aware of recent the news that O’Hanlon’s are no longer going to produce the legendary Thomas Hardy Ale. Sad, but a classic case of where the head has to rule the heart — when the business is going under, can you really afford to tie up stock in an eight month brewing process?

For UK readers who might have missed it, the show is available online at 4 on demand.


5 replies on “Failing breweries as entertainment?”

I also enjoyed the programme. sadly I like business based programmes although I think the apprentice is tosh.

I missed this, but have since have several people ask me if I watched it. Why they didnt text me at the time and let me know, I dont know! Brewing for fin, and running a business, are two seperate things. You hit gold when you can combine the two. Unfortunately, there are too many just plodding along, trying to make money.

I think the problem is that you have to stop thinking of The Appretice as a “business based” programme and just treat in as simple entertainment. It works for me:)

Tyson is correct, the apprentice is entertainment not business education. It’s a reality show based on exploiting extreme personalities as entertainment. The contestants are chosen for the personality traits of selfishness, egotism, vanity and as such are entertaining. It’s Business Big Brother. The qualities required to succeed in business are more team work, application and propensity to work. As for Gerry’s Big Decision, I thought it was a decent informative effort and worth a watch. As for simple problems to complex problems. The only way to solve ‘em is to break them down into simple problems with simple solutions. The show was informative.

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