Rick Hoskins, is the Director of the Tap and Bottle based in Knutsford, Cheshire.
So, from being a resident here in Knutsford all my life I saw a niche in the market where people weren't providing unique beers or good quality beers, it was just the generics. The basics of that was I was sick of drinking normal beer. So I decided to open my own place with the ethos of using small independents rather than regionals. Quality over quantity at a reasonable price.
So prior to this I was a brewer with Tatton brewery, a local brewery to Knutsford. From there I learnt everything about making beer and getting it to the customer. Previous to that I worked in Robinsons where my learnt sallowmanship (?) and customer transition - so getting beer from the bar to the customer and I wanted to learn from making it to getting it to the bar.
So the FPB I found out from Ian Cass coming in to my bar, introducing himself not only as a customer but being involved with the FPB and what they can offer me as a small business. There were areas I didn't know how to do so things like HR so making sure implements contracts were in place, all the entitlements, sick pay and all the legal side that comes with that.
As part of that they added health and safety which is again quite a weak area for a brewer or a landlord - it's areas that you forget about when you become a business owner. And not only that, just general advice on how day to day business should run. Not only legally but profitably.
It just makes life very, very easy. It means I can, not necessarily forget things, but put it to the back of mind. It's not high on the priority list. It means if I have a question, it's quickly answered or quickly dealt with and I don't have to scurry round to many different organisations and businesses to try and find that information. It's dealt with quickly and they're very knowledgable in all areas of the business.
Being part of the Forum has allowed me to concentrate on the day to day runnings and actually getting to sell to the customer. Getting them to enjoy the experience of the Tap and Bottle. It means all the things that a business man sits behind a desk to do I can forget about and they deal with that for me which leads me to enjoy doing what I'm doing and for the customer to see me as the face of the business actually giving them the service that they want.