Name: Daniel Phillips
Job title: Business support executive
Company & location: Alderman’s Drinks, Manchester, UK
Education: BA in English Literature from University of Manchester
Why did you decide to go for a career in drink? To pay my way through uni I worked most nights at the Star & Garter in Manchester, a venue famed for its club nights and gigs. While there I soon discovered, mainly through talking to like-minded people, that being successful isn’t necessarily about where you study but what you do while you’re there. As soon as I was able, I started becoming more involved in the running of the events at the Star to get more of an insight into how stuff works in the industry. I enjoyed it so much I knew a career in the drinks industry would be ideal for me, and through my contacts there I was introduced to Liam and Mark at Alderman’s.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I support the amazing team at Alderman’s Drinks in securing new listings, fulfilling orders of and marketing our two brands: Didsbury Gin and Arlu Rum.
What does a typical day look like for you? A lot of what I do is admin-related. Most of my standard work week will involve sending samples to potential customers and managing orders, but in such a new and streamlined business, I have to turn my hand to what the business needs at any given time. That can be anything from sales (whether that’s direct or at trade shows) to logistics, to marketing or anything in between.
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I actually landed myself the role through work experience. I worked at Alderman’s initially for a few weeks to get insight into how the company runs, and then never left. While I was studying at uni, I managed to start a dialogue with the team and we discussed the possibility of some work experience. It was difficult to persuade them at first, after all, my degree is in English lit, but I think through sheer persistence Liam and Mark eventually caved. Now I’ve got a foot in the door, I’ve tried my hardest to prove that everything I’d said about myself was true.
“We’re not always drinking – I probably see more spreadsheets than shot glasses”
What’s the best part about working for a drinks company? With new craft spirits like Didsbury and Arlu shaking up things for the bigger brands and offering innovative products that consumers genuinely want, the drinks industry is such an exciting place to be. This has been reflected in my experience here – rather than just ‘getting a job’ the team have allowed me to find things I’m genuinely passionate about and run with them. Like most people my age I’m massively into music, and through college and uni I used to make a point of grabbing a copy of NME on my way in, which made our recent sponsorship of the NME Awards really exciting.
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I read a lot of these articles, and our responses from the drinks industry are pretty much the same, it’s not just one big night out! Working for a drinks company obviously involves a lot of tastings, and of course you’ve got to be familiar with the products, but as fun as that is we’re not always drinking – I probably see more spreadsheets than shot glasses!
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Our company is living proof that a strong work ethic and a desire to do well is more than enough to drive a successful business. Qualifications are a great introduction, but having the right attitude and meeting good people is what helped me the most. Don’t just rinse your course books.
What’s your ultimate career dream? When I was younger I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be, but a career in food & drink is half the world away from being a conservationist or a spaceman.
I want to be happy, first and foremost, and to surround myself with people who stand by me and bring out my best. Like everybody I obviously want to be successful, and everyone at Alderman’s is a huge inspiration to me on that front, but as long as I’m enjoying what I do and I’m healthy then it’s sound. The rest will work itself out.