Anyone who spends even a short time talking to Julian Twaites realises that he is a passionate and dynamic personality. Described by his own colleagues as “a real character”, he is widely respected both within the buying group and outside of the business and it’s easy to see why.
He has spent a total of 34 years working in the wine trade. During that time he has worked in wine and spirits buying for companies ranging from Augustus Barnett to Budgens and Thresher Group.
Since he moved from Thresher Group to join Nisa CBC in 2001, he has been responsible for sourcing own label wine ranges both for Nisa-Today’s and for its major retail members. He has also worked extensively on developing range and promotions on branded wines.
But he says: “In some ways my role is more about selling than buying – trying to sell the benefits of trading through a buying group to retailers.”
He’s a hard worker. Based in Scunthorpe, Twaites gets up at 4am on Mondays to commute to London. During the week he likes to keep up personal contacts with customers such as Budgens, Londis and Cosctcutter. He’s even busy on Sundays, visiting the top multiples to keep up to speed with their latest initiatives.
Aside from this wealth of experience which has given him an encyclopaedic knowledge of the drinks industry, he also has a life outside of work. Although where he finds the time in his packed diary is not clear.
Hailing originally from north London, Twaites calls himself “a professional eater and drinker” with a penchant for rock music. So much so, that he used to play bass guitar for Thresher Group’s rock band, the Booze Brothers, when he worked there. And when not practising riffs, he says that, as an Arsenal supporter, he seizes every opportunity to watch them play.