Me & My Money: Alan Quane, CEO of Sullivan’s Brewing Company
‘I’m known as The Magician, as I have been known to make money disappear’
Sullivan’s Brewing Company CEO Alan Quane: “The recession taught me not to take things for granted, and to always have a small stash hidden away for rainy days.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
When it comes to my family, I’m a spender, like my father before me. I’m known as The Magician, because I have been known to make money disappear like sand through my fingers!
Do you shop around for better value?
On big ticket items, I do. I like to try to strike the right balance between quality and price. When you find this balance, I believe you always get the value back in the long term.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
A once-off indulgence of a meal in a three-star Michelin restaurant in Bruges with my wife, Siobhán, some years ago. It was an amazing experience that taught me about the power of telling the story behind great food and drinks. Let’s just say it cost me more than the flights and hotel did that weekend.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
My tennis racket. I use it a couple of times a week, it keeps me fit and reasonably competitive, and it costs me just a few cent per use.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Local. Old school. I started my career as a grocery buyer for Galen Weston’s group in Canada. It’s ingrained in me always to engage your five senses as much as possible when shopping. You simply get more out of the experience that way.
Do you haggle over prices?
I love to haggle, especially on holidays where it’s embedded in a culture. It mortifies my two teenage daughters, but I firmly believe that I’d have made a great “trader” in a souk in Morocco in another life.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I was lucky enough to be involved in successful export businesses during the recession, so didn’t face job loss but the prospect always loomed. I studied economics and I know that the next cycle is just around the corner – it’s human nature. The recession taught me not to take things for granted, and to always have a small stash hidden away for rainy days.
Do you invest in shares?
Yes, I’m well vested in Sullivan’s Brewing Company. I’m all in on what I believe to be a great journey ahead.
Cash or card?
Card. Always. It stems from living in Canada for 14 years. You can even use your card there to buy a hot dog on the street corner – very handy.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
A hand car wash that just now cost me €10. They do the wheels and everything else. It would have taken me well over an hour at home myself. In that time I’ll have completed this interview – a rare example of successful multi-tasking in my personal life.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes. Houses. Specifically, we’re now on our third family home across two continents in the past 12 years – bought and sold as we go, I should add.
Have you ever lost money?
Yes. On an oil exploration company that shall remain nameless. It cost me a pretty penny at the time, and it taught me a valuable lesson – always keep your money above ground so you can keep a closer eye on it.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I used to be more of a gambler when I was starting out. Now, I prefer to call my punts “calculated risks” with one exception – a bet on the Grand National every year where, in our house, a few bob goes into a pot and a random name comes out of a hat.
Is money important to you?
A certain base level is critical for peace of mind with a family. The rest, when available, is a bonus.
How much money do you have on you now?
I’m broke. I just spent my last €10 note on that great car wash!
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea