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East Midlands Chamber News

East Midlands enterprising women: Emma Roderick

From legal and finance to logistics and housing, a wide range of sectors in the East Midlands are blessed with an even more diverse set of female talent in senior positions. To celebrate International Women's Day 2021 on 8 March, East Midlands Chamber profiles the inspiring stories behind 10 of the region's top enterprising women throughout the week.

When the craft beer movement exploded in the mid-2010s, it might have been tempting to picture a long-bearded, tattooed “hipster” from Shoreditch as being behind these new flavoursome homemade brews with weird and wonderful names.

But one of the people spearheading the beverage industry’s response to the basement microbrewers was Emma Roderick, who worked in a range of roles including UK craft and cask director at Burton-based Molson Coors.

She looks back at this crusade – in which lower-strength session IPAs became pub staples and 330ml cans joined pint-sized tins – as a juncture in beer culture.

“It was initially a more exclusive London-centric movement but it soon gained momentum in the wider market, which opened it up a wider audience including women,” says Emma, now operations director for pubs at the family-owned Everards Brewery in Leicester.

“I’m a strong believer that there’s an opportunity for everyone to discover a beer they enjoy and the craft beer market brought many more flavours and variety.”

Emma Roderick followed family path in joining brewery – but has moulded her own position within industry

Emma acknowledges there weren’t too many women working in major breweries when she first signed up in 1995, having caught the family bug.

Her ex-Army great-grandfather had worked for the old Bass Brewery in Burton-upon-Trent and she followed in his footsteps by joining the firm from Carlsberg Tetley in 1997.

Initially working as an accountant, completing a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants qualification allowed her to move into commercial roles and she eventually became a regional sales director.

The company evolved into Molson Coors Brewing and, when it bought Sharp’s Brewery in 2011, she jumped at an opportunity to run all aspects of its Cornwall-based brewing business as general manager.

She spent five years there, overseeing 70 people and elevating the Doom Bar brand from a “south of the M5” tipple into a national staple – becoming the UK’s top-selling cask ale in 2013.

“Not a lot of women were doing roles like this, particularly in Cornwall, so there was a bit of surprise about why I made the move to run a brewing business,” says Emma, whose final role at Molson Coors was as CTS operations director, overseeing a team of 350 people.

“But I absolutely loved it. The Sharp’s team was fantastic and I learned so much about how we could break down cask ale stereotypes and open up Doom Bar to younger consumers.”

She’s now bringing this experience to Everards, which she joined in September 2019 after being drawn to the distinct family values of the business and its ambitious plans.

As a member of the executive team, Emma oversees its 168 pubs, many support services such as telesales, and the new beer hall concept that will be integrated into the brewery’s new home at Everards Meadows, due to open in late spring. It features a beer shop, brewery tours, tasting sessions, and a food and drink space.

Emma adds: “We’re really keen to celebrate the beers we brew through tastings, experiences and events.

“It’s going to be a fabulous new venture that will really elevate the Everards brand. It’s about ‘heroing’ beer, and with a fantastic and diverse team behind it, we look forward to welcoming current customers alongside a whole new audience.”

 

This story features in the March edition of Business Network, which has a special enterprising women theme. To read the magazine, click here.

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