Beers and Business Club raises the bar for mental health

AN “anti-networking” business club is working wonders for the mental health of Derby businessmen.

Beers and Business provides a chance for local entrepreneurs to get together over a tasty beer and put the world to rights.

Since launching in June 2021, the club - set up by Adam Bamford, co-founder of bespoke gift company Colleague Box - has built up a firm following, with around 30 members.

Members have established lasting friendships, with some even attending fellow participants’ weddings.

Beers and Business was originally launched as an online networking event, providing a vital platform for people to speak to like-minded people during the  lockdown.  The subscription box provides people with a monthly gift box of carefully curated snacks and drinks, but allows them to cancel at any point.

The monthly club went on to host an in-person event, which proved a success.

Now a second in-person event is planned, coinciding with the launch of Derby high-end menswear brand Mr Shaw moving into its new home on Sadler Gate, complete with coffee shop and bar.

Beers and Business’ in-person event will be held at Mr Shaws House - with the initiative coming ‘full circle’ as owner Karl Shaw was Beers and Business’ very first guest speaker.

Adam is the first to admit that he’s not one for public speaking, or networking events for that matter. As a childhood sufferer of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), he shied away from rooms full of people.

But he found his calling with Beers and Business.

Adam, who is married to Colleague Box co-founder Natalie, said: “One thing I hate in life is forced fun. Beers and Business is an anti-networking business club.

“We talk about business, money problems, problems with staff, stock… the real nitty gritty of what it’s like to run a business. Maybe people have mental health struggles with business - it’s about having a beer and being comfortable enough to chat about those things.”

Men’s mental health has been prevalent in the media, with the launch of Andy’s Man Club in recent years, and a storyline in TV soap Emmerdale highlighting Paddy Kirk’s mental health battle.

It comes as statistics show that on average, one man every two hours in the UK takes their own life, with a big factor being that men don’t talk.

Adam, who lives in Spondon, and has two children, said: “It’s a brilliant headspace for me to get things off my chest.”

Karl Shaw recalls the first event being rather poignant, as he and Adam brewed a beer and named it Walter, after Karl’s father-in-law, Walter Stone, who passed away during lockdown.

Karl said Covid “completely stripped back” his Silver Birch Creative graphic design business, and Beers and Business provided the perfect haven for him.

“I can’t thank Adam enough,” he added.

“I’ve made really good friends with Adam, and Dan Attwal, and a few others. They’re very supportive and we have our own Whatsapp group.

“Whether it’s a good or bad day, we speak to each other every day.”

Dan Attwal, franchise owner for Vodafone in Derby, Burton and Cannock, said Beers and Business really helped him to cope with the uncertainty for retail during lockdown.

“I have created friends for life,” said Dan.

“Feeling like the whole world was against you in lockdown, with the stress and anxiety, being able to talk as a human being on Beers and Business, in a relaxed environment was great.

“It’s kind of tough for a bloke when they’ve got it all on their shoulders, but this is an environment I certainly find value in.”

Women are very welcome to Beers and Business - with one previous event attracting a high proportion of females, and people don’t have to be business owners.


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