Matt is MD of Lancaster Brewery and C2 Investments.
What was your first job?
I was a “bottler-upper” at the Bird in Hand, nr Hitchen. I raked in a mighty £6 a week working seven days. I remember amassing £300 in savings over a year because I wanted a catalogue pool table and my dad took it all in one fell swoop because I’d done something bad. We still don’t talk.
How do you relax after a hard day’s work?
I work all day and night - drinking in my pubs counts as work right? I can’t remember the last bank holiday I had off either. If I ever get the chance I watch a lot of rugby and I am an official Gloucester Rugby groupie. I’m an avid walker too and would love to do something similar to my Lands End to John O Groats jaunt from a couple of years ago.
Proudest moment in business?
A few years ago our first establishment, the Water Witch, won Supreme UK Pub Champion of the Year. I was still heavily involved in running the pub and it was a huge accomplishment from a tow path in Lancaster. Now I have to make do with patting my managers on the back when they win awards - it’s not quite the same but still brings a big smile to my face (don’t tell them that!)
Most embarrassing moment at work?
I’m a composite professional so I can’t recall any. If you ask my staff, colleagues and family they would probably have a list far longer than this page. In this trade it’s to be expected!
What is your biggest vice?
Hate to state the obvious but I love food & drink. I live, work and breathe it. I’m hugely proud that one of our venues, Lancaster Brewhouse & Tap is helping host the fourth Lancaster Food & Drink Festival at Lancaster Leisure Park.
Who is the biggest influence on your life?
Steve Thorn, for how he used to run the John O’Gaunt which is the reason I wanted to run pubs in the first place. Alan “Bad News” Morgan, from Abbey Ales in Bath, who told me everything he knew including how not to run a brewery. And my father, who had something of an influence on me.
Word of business advice?
Believe. Walk and talk. And don’t take no for an answer. There’s lots of gaps in the market, you just need to go for them.