Inspiring Stories: Mark Roberts, Beer Hawk
Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
Event format: Presentation/ Q&A
Maximum no. of attendees: 100
Thursday 18th March | 14:00-14:45
Throughout the week the LEP is hosting a series of events from forward-thinking innovators and innovative businesses in the Leeds City Region.
It’s an opportunity to hear about their innovation journey, learnings and advice to offer insight and expertise to businesses who may be looking to innovate. Followed by a Q&A.
Speaker: Mark Roberts, Co-Founder of Beer Hawk
Mark Roberts, co-founder of Beer Hawk, the UK’s leading craft beer retailer, is a rare breed of entrepreneur who masters uniting board-level B2C marketing experience with e-commerce and digital innovation. Before embarking on his own entrepreneurial journey, Mark built his commercial and innovation skills at a number of global blue-chip businesses. Besides leading Beer Hawk, he is Deputy Chair for the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, Chair of the Harrogate Place Leadership Group, and Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel to the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.
Mark co-founded Beer Hawk in 2012, initially as a pure-play online retailer, but has since developed a true omni-channel business with the recent opening of several bars and a trade venture. Mark has played a pivotal role in growing Beer Hawk from a start-up of just himself and his business partner, offering a handful of unknown craft beers, to a team of over 80 beery enthusiasts on a mission to inspire customers to find their next favourite beer.
Mark has led Beer Hawk on a consistent fast-track growth trajectory over the past 8 years from nothing to a turnover exceeding £50million in 2020. Beer Hawk became part of ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation group within AB Inbev. Together with his team, he has won numerous awards, including Great British Entrepreneur of the Year (Small Business), Business Person of the Year (SME National Business Awards) and Growth Accelerator (Rising Star).
Prior to founding Beer Hawk, Mark held senior Marketing roles at Direct Wines, Lloyds Banking Group, HBOS and Procter & Gamble. With his first child on the way, he realised that he had reached a "now or never" moment and while he loved his role as Marketing Director for Laithwaites Wine, his true passion was for craft beer. During a long commute home, he realised that there was no similar service to Laithwaites in the world of craft beer. He called his, now business partner, Chris France, and went to the pub. There, they decided to quit their well-paid careers and to set up a beer business to champion the best-tasting beers that they wanted to buy again and again, regardless of style, country and brewery. It was always about the beer, and that still hasn’t changed today.
When not hunting out the World’s best beers, Mark is incredibly passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship & digital skills. Besides his work with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, he enjoys mentoring and investing in various early-stage local businesses.