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Letter from America #3

Letter from America #3

As we near the completion of the second Berkeley financial year with a US operation, Partner Neil McClumpha reports back from our NY office.


How time flies! We are nearing completion of our second full year of operation, and what a second year we have had! To bring it to life, since setting up a US operation, we have worked with seven US clients, across five different industries, in locations spanning from downtown Manhattan; to New Jersey; Conneticut; Georgia; Florida; Colorado; and California. We have seen revenue growth of 300% over our first year; we have successfully attracted local talent to our nascent venture; and we have moved offices; two doors down the corridor from our original location! And given our desire to operate a single, unified business, albeit from two geographic locations, I am really delighted to report that 2/3rds of our Partner group, and 1/3rd of our consultant group have visited our New York location, be that for client business, to support internal initiatives, or to simply drop in and say “Hi!” whilst on holiday.


It’s fair to say that New York is feeling a lot more like home. One of the keys to that is finding a local hangout, which I am glad to report we have successfully done. Which brings me to beer. The whole of the US, and very evidently New York State, has gone through a craft beer revolution over the last ten years. As recently as 2012, two beer companies, Anheuser Busch InBev and MillerCoors, controlled nearly 90% of beer production. However, between 2008 and 2016, the number of brewing companies has grown by a factor of six, pushing up the number of brewery workers by 120%. Sales of the four most popular beers in America – Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Budweiser - are shrinking, although inevitably they are fighting back. (One example is Budweiser who now produce cans in the colours of your favorite American football team, which is the drink of choice if you are “tailgating” pre game – perhaps a subject I’ll return to in a future letter?). However, consumer demands for fuller flavour and more choice are perpetuating the switch to craft beer. In New York State, the number of breweries now tops 400, exceeding the previous high of 393 breweries back in 1876. In New York City alone, there are 42 breweries. So suffice it to say, we are spoilt for choice. But choose wisely; our local IPA weighs in at a punchy 7% abv; enjoy responsibly!

Inevitably, the UK (and London’s) beer drinkers are still well served. A similar trend is happening there, with the number of craft breweries in the UK exceeding 2000 for the first time since the 1930s, with 80 in London alone.


With a settled base to push out from, we have been exploring New York State and the North Eastern Seaboard. This winter felt rather long, with the last of the snows arriving in late April. However, that did offer opportunities to venture up and try one of the 50+ ski resorts that are dotted around the state. Conditions do vary, with one seemingly consistent feature: ice! We had an Artic weekend in mid January at a resort in the Catskills, where the combination of ice and strong winds made it a weekend for the (fool?)hardy, and where the services of the local medics were required as one of our team failed to spot his jump, leading to a suspected dislocated shoulder. A few weeks later, we discovered that his shoulder wasn’t in fact dislocated; it was broken!

As the weather broke, the seaboard came to the fore, and the team pushed out along Long Island Sound to the Hamptons, up to Cape Cod in Massachutsetts, and even further north into Coastal Maine. Possibly the discovery of the year was made there; a half pound lobster – freshly caught that morning – with two sides and glass of Chardonnay for $20! God Bless America!

And just recently, we took to pedal power and mounted a team of six to tackle the annual New York Gran Fondo 100 mile cycle race. The race starts on the George Washington Bridge – at the ungodly hour of 5.30am – heads up the Hudson river, goes over the top of Bear Mountain (marking the highest point on the course) before tracking back south into New Jersey for a finish at Fort Lee. Ten hours after the start, half the team wobbled over the finish line, just as the course was being closed! It was an emotional day!


So what does the next financial year have in store? Well, growth remains the name of the game as we look to push further on local hires and to grow our client base. We are lining up for triple digit percentage increases and are excited by the possibilities that operating from two locations affords us. Plenty to do, as ever! Till next time…. Neil 

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News and Views

Letter from America #3 As we near the completion of the second Berkeley financial year with a US operation, Partner Neil McClumpha reports back from our NY office.

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