Rick Hoskins, is the Director of the Tap and Bottle based in Knutsford, Cheshire and he has lived in Knutsford all of his life.

Rick wanted to become his own boss and he saw a niche in the market where people weren't providing unique or good quality beers. Completely his own research he decided to open his own place, with the ethos of using small independent brewers rather than regionals. Quality over quantity at a reasonable price.

Prior to Rick becoming the owner of the Tap and Bottle he was a brewer with Tatton brewery, a local brewery in Knutsford. He had learnt everything about making beer and getting it to the customer and previous to that he had worked in Robinsons. Where he had learnt the customer transition - so getting beer from the bar to the customer, and he wanted to learn now about making it to getting it to the bar.

Rick is local to our office in Knutsford, so was aware of the Forum of Private Business and the services that we offer to small businesses. Rick told us "Having the Forum of Private Business on your doorstep was great, and it became an ideal opportunity to get to know more about the Forum direct from Ian Cass. There are many areas of employment and legislation regulations that I just didn't know how to manage. HR for me was a big learning curve, having to make sure employment contracts were correct for each member of staff, and they were correct in place, entitlements, sick pay and any legal dealings that came with employing people".

Owning a bar also brings added health and safety regulations, which again can be a weak area for a brewer or a landlord - its areas that you could 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.

The Forum has made the Tap and Bottle's owner’s life a lot easier. "It means I can, not necessarily forget things, but put it to the back of my 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 knowledgeable 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 businessman 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".