Wednesday, November 15, 2006

LEWES ARMS: LETTER TO ROONEY ANAND

This great letter to Greene King's Chief Executive Rooney Anand was written by Roger Corbett who lives in South London. Good on you Roger!!

Dear Mr Anand:

With just a few days to go before the unthinkable, this is a personal plea as you have the power to overturn some rough justice just as the Home Secretaries of old could reprieve the death sentence. Apologies for making this sound theatrical but there is much emotion going round.

I visited the Lewes Arms last Saturday evening and in 150 minutes one pint of GK IPA was sold and all the other real ale was Harvey's Best. All the talk was of the withdrawal of Harvey's "in 9 days time".

All my business training tells me that it is so much cheaper to retain existing business than attract new. To risk losing this amount of trade and goodwill (for a corporate "feelgood" of pushing your own products at any cost) will, I sincerely trust, lead you to do some serious soul and heart-searching.

If you had withdrawn the Harvey's when you originally took over the Beard's chain I think people might have smarted but accepted it but to do so after long ownership does smack of something unpalatable.

Goodwill is priceless and you risk it over nothing really except, I suspect, a corporate fetish - you are currently selling huge volumes and banking the profits and both consumer and retailer are at peace. Let it be.

There is still time so please use it to reprieve into perpetuity (or as far into perpetuity as anyone can!) Harvey's Best Bitter sales at the Lewes Arms.

I can't promise but if you do as I have suggested and then visit the pub you'll experience the sort of welcome that a little bit of corporate pride can graciously earn. I should certainly to privileged to be present when you visit.

Yours sincerely

Rober Corbett

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