People: the business diary

Dougal Sharp shares his war stories in a new book. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Dougal Sharp shares his war stories in a new book. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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Dougal Sharp, the congenial founder and boss of beer maker Innis & Gunn, has been recounting some of his adventures in a new book.

His efforts to sell his wares to the Canadians makes for amusing reading in Going Global – an insightful collection of first-person insights from 30 entrepreneurs and managers.

The book, by consumer brands specialist Piper, has contributions on a host of household names, including Carphone Warehouse, Marks & Spencer and Pizza Express, so the Edinburgh-based businessman finds himself in some pretty lofty company.

Sharp, who set up Innis & Gun in 2003, recalls: “We filled our sales rep’s car boot with beer and drove down from Canada’s furthermost northern provinces, stopping in liquor stores along the way.

“We surprised plenty of store managers, who’d never seen anybody from a producer before, let alone the founder. But they loved the beer and asked me to sign bottles to put up behind the till.”

Sharp’s efforts clearly paid off – Innis & Gunn is now the largest-selling British bottled beer in Canada, shifting some 500,000 cases a year.

No popping corks yet after £2bn Standard Life deal

Having just inked a £2.2 billion deal to sell the group’s Canadian operations, Standard Life chief executive David Nish would have been forgiven for wanting to get the champagne corks popping to mark the Edinburgh-based group’s largest-ever disposal.

However, an insider who was on the trip to Montreal to finalise the sale to Manulife tells the Business Desk that celebrations were rather more restrained than might have been expected, given the time zone constraints.

Wednesday’s announcement was timed for the close of markets on the other side of the Atlantic, which meant the phone calls with media and analysts were done and dusted by 8pm local time. However, clear heads were needed as the team had to be back in the office for 4.30 the following morning for yet more conversations with City analysts.

Many-headed Hydro leads to introductory confusion

For most, speaking in public is a daunting task at the best of times, but there should always be an extra dab of sympathy for those standing up first thing in the morning.

Richard Muir, deputy chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, was rolling along nicely last week with all the facts and figures on the SSE Hydro’s contribution to the local economy in its first year of operation.

Unfortunately, he ran out of steam when it came time to introduce the man in charge of the venue, failing to recall that John Langford is indeed the SECC’s director of live entertainment. All is forgiven.

Redhead plans to Triumph (Spitfire) in charity dash

Lloyds Banking Group’s assistant media relations manager in Edinburgh, Zoe Redhead, is taking an “epic wee trip” with Commonwealth gold medal winning husband Chris Sherrington in October to raise money for charity.

They are taking part in the Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run, which is raising funds for MacMillan Cancer Support.

Redhead tells us: “This is an epic wee trip for us, let alone Spiddy, the 1966 Triumph Spitfire that we’ll be driving.”

Before they even start, they need to drive the 418 miles down to the start line in the London borough of Enfield. From there it’s some 2,000 miles to travel in 48 hours, going from London up to John O’Groats for breakfast, travelling down to Lands End for the following breakfast before making their way back to the start/finish point.