Specialty roaster Veneziano Coffee Roasters is pleased to announce the appointment of Lance Brown to the position of national business manager, as the company is poised for further growth and commences occupation of larger premises.
The need to produce higher volumes of roasted beans due to an increase in contract roast arrangements has prompted expansion and the need for the newly created role at Veneziano, one that Lance is aptly suited to. Lance will manage larger, national accounts for Veneziano, a first for the expanding company.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Lance on board. We are always looking for ways to give our customers, both current and new, a competitive edge in the market”, says Veneziano managing director Craig Dickson of the appointment. “By employing Lance in this role we are effectively providing our customers with an extra layer of service. With his detailed knowledge of the market, they stand to really benefit”.
Craig adds, “Our customers are constantly telling us that the thing they like the most about Veneziano is that we’re easy to do business with. Anyone that knows Lance, and in our industry that’s practically everyone, knows that he’s a great guy and he’s a natural at building business relationships. It makes him the perfect person for the role, and a good fit in the company. I can’t wait for him to get out there!”.
In a hospitality management career that spans more than two decades Lance is looking forward to embarking on this new phase of his career. He comes to Veneziano after vacating his eight-year role as national account manager for the Pura Milk brand with Lion Dairy and Drinks (a merger of former National Foods and Lion Nathan), where he grew the milk supply business to cafes from 17 million litres per year to a phenomenal 84 million litres per year.
“This is a natural transition for me, I’m really fortunate to be moving into something that I love doing; to be working with such an amazing team and a company that has the coffee skills, the best people and is driven to be number one”, Lance tells us. “With my experience in large multinational corporations, I’m looking forward to bringing more of a structure and format to the new position, that will benefit Veneziano’s future growth and direction”.
While Lance himself is the first to admit that the milk business more or less sold itself in the coffee industry, he very much prides himself on delivery of service. “Delivery on the promise was the key to managing my accounts”, he explains.
“I was responsible for managing every coffee chain nationally and Lion is the only supplier able to deliver on a national basis. You need to consider that deliveries were taking place 6 days a week, every single week for the entire year. The cafes depend on the milk arriving daily in order for them to meet coffee sales or they simply can’t operate, and to not deliver was simply not an option”, Lance emphasises.
“After eight years, I can say I know the business inside out and I know everyone in it!”
Lance Brown career history
Lance commenced his career in hotel management and catering after studying at Melbourne’s William Angliss Institute. His first job in hospitality was as general manager of the Keg chain of restaurants, followed by a role as public catering manger at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre (MEC) where he managed the home, boat, car and all other major shows hosted there.
It was at the MEC where Lance first crossed paths with Craig Dickson, state manager at Douwe Egberts at the time. The pair developed a strong working relationship and in 1998 Lance also began working at Douwe Egberts as key account manager for Spotless, Delaware North and other large contract catering companies. Within six weeks of Lance commencing Craig had accepted a role as national account manager, vacating the state position for Lance to fill.
“I still remember the coffee we drank in the early ‘90s”, Lance laughs. “They were big, meringue-y capp[uccino]s on top of some bitter, brown water. We really didn’t know much about it back then, did we?”, he jokes.
Things have changed dramatically since then. In the seven years Lance worked at Douwe Egberts he saw the very first Barista of the Year Award. He also managed the “street baristas” which included names such as David Makin, Rocky Veneziano and Ben Ward. Along with his mentor Craig Dickson, these names are some of the best-known in Australia’s coffee industry, having shaped it into what it is today, inspiring a boom in specialty coffee.
Lance was introduced to the Pura Milk business and National Foods (later absorbed in Lion Dairy and Drink) during his time at Douwe Egberts, so the progression across was completely natural. His eight year stint with Lion saw him managing every coffee chain in Australia, utilising his people and relationship skills to the maximum.
He also became heavily involved in the Latte Art competition, and commenced judging Australian competitions. After four years he become World level accredited and has since judged at the World Latte Art competition in Nice, France 2013, the same year Veneziano’s Jen Marks represented Australia and will judge again in 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“I put my hand up for it because no one else seemed interested, the latte art competition was always the poor second cousin against the barista competition”, says Lance. “It was the perfect fit for Pura Milk and I’m pleased to have been part of it, because it’s now gaining more respect in the competition world and it has its own loyal following”, he says.
“I have absolutely loved my time at Lion… I will miss the people”, he reflects. “However, I’m very happy to be leaving in a strong position and knowing that I gave it everything I could. I am definitely looking forward to some new challenges with Veneziano, being inspired by the team and forging new relationships there. Now is the perfect time”.