Everards Meadows

How Everards Meadows will look

 

Everards Brewery has started the development of a 90-acre site in Leicestershire, to be called Everards Meadows, which will be home to its new brewhouse.

There are also plans for a cycle centre, café roastery, pub restaurant and a community park that will connect directly to the National Cycling Network.

The inspiration for this £30m investment into Leicestershire’s countryside? According to Everards managing director, Stephen Gould, there were two influencing factors behind this £30m development scheme: the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme he studied at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford under the tutelage of Dr Lalit Johr and Professor Sue Dopson, and the brewery’s own history, which dates back to 1849.

Stephen said: “When I enrolled on the programme I had been a director of Everards for 11 years. An MBA was not for me and neither did I want to feel like I was going back to school.

“I was looking for the opportunity to have great conversations with other leaders from countries and cultures different from my own, and from businesses outside our field. I saw it as a tremendous opportunity to expand our thinking.”

The programme lived up to Stephen’s expectations, and one lesson in particular resonated with the brewing industry veteran. “The importance of having companywide clarity of purpose,” he said. ‘

“Now that might sound obvious, but when I started out as a trainee at Bass plc, in 1989, the focus was very much ‘create a business strategy, get some KPIs together and away you go’. Defining your purpose requires something much deeper, and we realised we had some thinking to do at Everards.”

Stephen, along with his leadership team and fifth generation family chairman, Richard Everard, began what he described as an “archaeological dig, to tease out what was already in the company and present it in a much clearer way”. When they delved into the brewery’s history, a clear theme began to emerge.

Building relationships

Stephen said: “We’re a people-centric business, and a collaborative one. We realised that much of our success could be traced to our strength in building relationships and treating people decently.”

A recent example of this was an Everards initiative named Project William, inspired by its founder, which saw the company collaborate with new breweries by purchasing failing pubs and leasing them to the brewery owners.

The project was a resounding success, resulting in 19 Project William pubs operated by 12 brewer partners. “Rather than the emerging new brewer becoming a competitor, they became a collaborator instead,” said Stephen.

After a period of discussion and introspection, Everards settled on its purpose: building relationships with business owners and communities.

Stephen said: “Everards Meadows will be a practical manifestation of this purpose — a place for businesses to work with each other and have good quality conversations, which links right back to the experience I had at Oxford Saïd.”