Introducing Phil Pothecary, Buying Director
Our new Buying Director, Phil, joined us in November 2021. We find out how he's settling in and get his thoughts on 2022, Enotria's 50th year.
Hi Phil, welcome to Enotria&Coe! You joined in November 2021; how have you settled in?
It’s been busy. In all seriousness, joining just before peak trading and after 18 months of a pandemic was actually great timing. This perfect storm had thrown up some of the biggest supply chain problems the industry has ever experienced. Surprisingly I have really enjoyed the challenge after months of lockdown.
Where were you before E&C?
I have been in the on-trade for around 17 years. I started out as Head of Purchasing in Novus (bars and nightclubs) before moving into contract catering and heading up purchasing for WSH. I have had a long-running relationship with Drake and Morgan as well, supporting their drink brand relationships.
You joined E&C in November 2020 as Buying Director. What does that role involve?
The Buying team has incredible product knowledge which I hope to complement with a rigorous approach to commercials and planning.
As the head of the Buying team, I will also need to work with the Buyers to make sure that our buying strategies are aligned with the business’ broader strategic priorities.
What does a day in the life of a Buying Director involve?
One of the best bits of the job is that every day is different. No doubt, current market challenges have contributed to this. For example, difficult vintages around the winemaking world in 2021 have impacted most of our suppliers at a time when operating costs are creeping upwards and transport costs are increasing.
What are the big tasks on your plate for 2022?
I will be working with the Buyers to develop strategies and a portfolio process that matches E&C’s growth expectations.
How did you wind up in the exciting world of drinks and buying?
As is the case with many Buyers, I fell into it almost by chance. As a graduate I worked for a small business and had the opportunity to try my hand at operations, sales and purchasing. After that, I just never left purchasing. After I left the airline catering industry, I transitioned into the bar sector which is how I ended up specialising in drinks. I caught the bug for hospitality and haven’t looked back since.
On the whole: wine or spirits?
To drink: wine. As a Buyer however, they are very different worlds so I enjoy them both for different reasons.
Can you tell us about your most memorable visit to a winemaker or distillery?
My favourite wine region has always been Bordeaux. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to visit Château Margaux and travelled there by helicopter.
If you could visit one winemaking region in 2022, where would it be?
I can’t narrow it down. I am looking forward to being able to trade and travel normally.