Food & Drink Business editor Kim Berry talks to Lion Group Supply Chain & Technical director Ian Roberts talks about a tough year of COVID-19 and a cyberattack.

Food & Drink Business editor Kim Berry talks to Ian Roberts, Group Supply Chain & Technical Director of Lion, to discuss how Lion has managed to keep their breweries operating despite the many impacts of 2020.

Ian has been working with Lion for 30 years, having started at Castlemaine Perkins through a university scholarship. He has worked in various parts of the organisation from brewing through to supply chain, including number of stints in the brewer’s overseas operations.

We ask Ian about the biggest changes he has seen over the years and the scope of his role which now extends from Australia and New Zealand to the US and UK. In his spare time, Ian is on the board of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling based in the UK, which is an educational facility supporting brewers across the globe.

When discussing the impacts of the COVID pandemic on Lion’s operations, Ian notes that Lion’s culture of solid, motivated teams and their long term, strategic supplier relationships have been critical in supporting the agility required during the year.

He notes that Lion has taken a long-term view of the industry and reconfigured their supply chain to support the increase in retail sales from people having to drink at home when venues were shutdown around the country.

While venues in some states have started to re-open, the total volume of product being produced is down significantly across the brewing industry. Ian says it is going to be a very difficult 12-18 months for venues, with it possible that there may be a fundamental change in how people socialise.

Ian also discusses the ransomware attack that hit Lion over the Queen’s Birthday long week. Once again, the strong relationships within Lion and with their suppliers helped and, thanks to the skills of their staff, Lion were able to be operating again within seven to ten days.

We wrap up the episode by asking Ian to tell us what he sees as the big issues in the next few years. He notes the changes in sociability, the increased use of technology for keeping in contact with others, international expansion, and the likelihood of a socially distant environment for a period of time.


Food & Drink Business delivers the industry’s most in-depth news and editorial coverage of Australia’s food and beverage sector. The Food & Drink Business podcast is one part of our multi-media platform, which provides: the latest news; expert opinion and business advice; insightful reports on industry issues and trends; new products; the latest research and technology developments; and regulatory updates. Tune in for entertaining and informative interviews from industry leaders, change drivers and experts across all aspects of the country’s leading manufacturing sector.

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MC: Grant McHerron
Host: Kim Berry
Editor: Chris Visscher
Producer: Steve Visscher

Food & Drink Business - (c) 2020

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