https://queensawards.blog.gov.uk/2013/08/13/pussy-cat-pussy-cat-where-have-you-been/

Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?

...I’ve been up to London to look at the Queen. Old English nursery rhyme, circa 1805.

Today we have a guest blog from Tony Hunt, Chairman of The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company. Tony attended the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise reception with Peter Mielzynski, who runs the Canadian Business which sold over 40% of Innes and Gunn exports in 2012.

Tony Hunt and Peter Mielzynski from The Innis & Gunn Brewing on Westminster Bridge with a bagpiper
Peter and Tony (plus new friend) proudly displaying Queen's Award plus prize- winning beer
It is a perfect July evening as we approach the gates of Buckingham Palace. People mill about on the pavement. There is still a carnival sense of excitement from the Royal Birth the previous day. One lady leans towards the open window of our car: “Are you here to decide the name for the baby?” she asks excitedly.

We are smoothly processed into reception rooms. Gilt and oil paintings everywhere. I recognise Van Dyck’s huge portrait of Charles I. Champagne is served. It is poured unstintingly. Quail’s eggs are served too. Then the Palace swings into action. Glasses are collected; we are formed into a line. As we edge forward I realise that The Queen is greeting everyone individually at the door to the next room.

Peter is in front of me. He is soon chatting away to the Queen cheerfully. I wonder what he is speaking about. Ice hockey? The possibility of supplying the royal household with Canadian wine? Eventually he moves on and I find myself gazing at the Queen. A surreal moment: this is someone whom I have seen on television 1,000 times, so that I feel that I know her even when we have never met. This evening the Queen congratulates us on selling Innis & Gunn overseas, though I think that Dubonnet is more to her taste.

More champagne, more quail’s eggs. We meet interesting people. They export an enormous range of things, some of which I understand- like crisps and lingerie - and some of which are techie and profoundly incomprehensible. But I assume that we are all familiar with the same joys of international business, with getting up at 4am in freezing January to be at the airport by 6am, with cancelled flights, with exotic cities seen only through taxi windows. And those glorious moments of winning new business that make it all worthwhile.

What does The Queen’s Award mean for us? Inviting Peter to Buckingham Palace was an opportunity to thank him for the great work his team have done for us in Canada. It’s a chance for all of us in our company to think about how amazing it is that so many people overseas now drink and enjoy Innis & Gunn when 10 years ago the brand did not exist. And it is a moment to celebrate that success before we make the next 6.00am rendezvous with a check-in desk in order to sell the next million cases.

Tony Hunt, The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company

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