The Generation Gap
“My father was the director,” said Anthony Fuller. “I was always expected to join the company. In those days, you did as your father told you, so I joined the company.”
Within one generation, that attitude seems to have changed, at least on the surface. If the heirs to these brewing dynasties feel pressured to join the family company, they don’t say so.
Richard Kershaw, the current chief executive at the Joseph Holt Brewing Co. in Manchester, appreciates how close the company has come to not having a family member available to take up the responsibilities. He is the great grandson of the founder. He said: “My grandmother was the second Edward’s sister. [Edward Holt was the third generation owner.] He had a brother who died at Gallipoli in 1915 but had no children himself, which is why I’m sitting here. My father had two brothers who died in the Second World War so we only just managed to scrape through each generation and keep the business with a family member at the helm.”
Matthias Trum was not pressured into taking the position at Schlenkerla. “My parents never forced me to do anything around the business, and therefore I quite enjoyed doing it,” he recalls. “I am sure that they had hoped I would follow in their footsteps and were quite happy, when I did, but it was not mandatory. My father told me a couple of times, that—if I was sure about it—he would have no problem with me pursuing another career.”
And this younger generation’s feeling towards their own children—now born or yet to come—reflect the same tolerant attitude.
Asked if his children might follow him into the brewery, Hugues Dubuisson replies “Why not? But I’m not obsessed by this. Before all, running a brewery is now a question of training and ability. Of course, if the brewery activity stays in the family, I won’t be displeased, but on the contrary, if no family member wants to continue, it’s their own choice and I’ll respect it without any problem.”