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2015 year in review and hopes and fears for 2016: David Cox, The Benevolent

Published:  21 December, 2015

David Cox, the chief executive of The Benevolent, the drinks charity in the UK, is proud that in 2015 the charity was able to assist 570 beneficiaries.  For the trade, he saw 2015 as a challenging year where businesses need to work harder than ever to protect margins.  In 2016 he most looking forward to continuing to grow the number of companies that are engaged with charity.

How was 2015 for you and your business? 

The year saw real progress for the charity.  Not only did we continue to make significant advances in raising the awareness of The Benevolent amongst members of the trade but we also provided valuable help and support to a record number of people in the trade who experienced a crisis of one sort or another.  Over 570 beneficiaries were given some form of assistance during 2015 and the charity continues to make a real difference to their lives.

What do you think were the most significant issues and trends that occurred in 2015?

From my perspective the UK trade experienced and will continue to experience consolidation and the ongoing need to protect margins.  Whether that is retailers consolidating and reducing their ranges, which itself presents implications for suppliers, or it is companies merging, the outcome can create uncertainty and stress and job losses.  In many respects, this situation endorses even more the need for an active and viable trade charity and The Benevolent is there to help anyone who is affected adversely.

What opportunities are you most looking forward to working on in 2016?

I have been immensely encouraged by the warm reception I am given when I present an overview of The Benevolent to drinks companies in the UK and ask them to become corporate partners with the charity and give an annual donation.  Over the last 18 months over 45 companies have either become partners for the first time or have increased their annual donation.  I am looking forward to presenting to many drinks companies from all sectors during 2016 and building our current total of 86 companies to well over 100.

What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2016?

Finding profitable growth and providing opportunities for staff to experience career development and personal growth.

Who are the people, companies or retailers to watch in 2016?

The English wine sector is on a fabulous upward trajectory at the moment and the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium in Brighton in May 2016 will provide a wonderful platform to showcase this progress. 

From the retail perspective, I think Conviviality, having absorbed Matthew Clark, will be a real company to watch. How great to see Oddbins back on fire too!  Miles Beale at the WSTA will continue to give the trade a powerful and effective voice in the right regulatory places.

What are you doing for Christmas and New Year?

I'm taking the family skiing in Val d'Isère over Christmas which should be great - if there is snow!

What will be your favourite tipple over Christmas and New Year?

A warming Glühwein in La Folie Douce Bar at the top of the La Daille ski lift in Val d'Isère.

Ideal day out over Christmas period? 

Hitting the pistes in the Espace Killy ski area 

New Year's resolution?

Drink more water each day and go for long walks.