Business Breakfast: Family business event to feature spa hotel and chocolate-maker
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Last updated Nov 3, 2023
Composite image of, on the left, the Business Breakfast graphic, and on the right, a photo of the grand house at Rudding Park.
Rudding Park, near Follifoot.

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The Institute of Directors and the Family Business Community have teamed up to hold an event around the theme of “the art of decision-making”.

Sponsored by Harrogate firm LCF Law, the evening event will feature speakers from two North Yorkshire family businesses: Rudding Park, in Harrogate, and Skipton-based Whitakers Chocolates.

Rudding Park director Matthew Mackaness will share insights into his family’s 50 years of ownership of the estate and some of the decisions that had to be made to sustain the growth and ambition of the business.

Rudding Park now has 90 bedrooms and suites, a spa, two restaurants, two golf courses, a private cinema, and conference and events space set in 300 acres of grounds. Earlier this year, it revealed plans to create Yorkshire’s first ever five-star country club at a cost of “between £30 million and £40 million”.

The Whitaker family has been in the chocolate business for over 135 years; they started with a small greengrocer’s shop and now have a factory making over 10 million chocolates per week.

In recent years, managing director William Whitaker had a key decision to make. At this event, he will play back his scenario to a team of business owners and gain their perspectives before revealing the decision he actually made.

‘When you run a family business don’t be afraid to make decisions’ will be held from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 16 at Rudding Park.

Tickets cost £25 and include drinks and canapés throughout the evening. Booking fees apply.


Roosters celebrates anniversary with new supermarket listing

Harrogate‘s Rooster’s Brewing Co is celebrating a decade of selling its flagship IPA with a new supermarket listing.

From today, Waitrose will stock 440ml cans of the international award-winning Baby-Faced Assassin, which is already available at Asda and Morrisons.

Baby-Faced Assassin was first brewed as a hobby homebrew recipe by Rooster’s commercial director, Tom Fozard, in 2011 while he was working at a local specialist beer shop in Leeds, and the 6.1% ABV brew gained some notoriety among fellow enthusiasts due to its strength. Later that year, Tom, alongside twin brother Oliver, now Rooster’s head brewer, joined Rooster’s as part of an eventual change of ownership spearheaded by their father, Ian.

The first commercial, cask-only batch of Baby-Faced Assassin was released in November 2013 and eventually added to Rooster’s core range in 2014. It went on to pick up awards at the International Brewing Awards in 2015, 2017 and 2021.

Tom Fozard said:

“Having first created Baby-Faced Assassin as a homebrew recipe back in 2011, I never could have imagined the success the beer would go on to enjoy in the years since. As a small, family-owned, independent brewery, we’re delighted to mark its 10th year of being a Rooster’s beer with the news of its continued success.”


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