Thursday, 8 September 2011

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Tony Revill-Johnson

CEO of Clipper Teas, and motorcycle enthusiast, Tony Revill-Johnson speaks to the View from this week about why he thinks we are a nation of tea lovers and why he would like to have dinner with Martin Luther King. A Geordie by birth, Tony moved around the country as a child and lived in the south east of England before moving to Cornwall five years ago. Tony now lives in Launceston with his wife and their two dogs and travels to Beaminster most days, often staying overnight at the Bridge House Hotel. With a background in the food industry Tony became a part of Clipper when the company was bought from its original owners Mike and Lorraine Brehme in 2007. This week Clipper were celebrating winning ten Taste of the West Awards for their range of teas.

WHAT first attracted you to the South West?
It’s a fabulous place to live and it’s a great place to work. We used to live in the South East and I remember when we moved down here I got a letter from my health insurance company saying our premiums had gone down by 40 per cent, which I think is a tribute to the lifestyle.

TEA or coffee?
Both, I have to say that when I wake up in the morning I can’t do without a good cup of strong coffee, but it’s quickly onto a good cup of tea. It depends on the time of day as well. I try to drink hot chocolate a little bit less because I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but it’s great in the evening absolutely.

WHAT is your favourite brew?
My favourite brew would have to be our Fairtrade everyday tea, it's just such a lovely bright strong cup of tea. It comes from some of our best Fairtrade estates in Africa and India so for me it’s the everyday tea served with milk, no sugar, and a biscuit please.

WHY do you think we are a nation of tea lovers?
It is part of the national psyche and it’s our best-loved drink I think. It’s comforting and refreshing, those are the qualities that people look for in tea and what makes Clipper special is its really good quality and value for money and we do the right thing by operating a Fairtrade company. People trust us to be natural, fair and delicious.

WHAT are the benefits of drinking tea?
Rehydration, principally, but with things like green tea, which is becoming more and more popular, you are getting those additional health benefits from the antioxidants. There is such a wide range of tea now from herbal infusions through to standard teas, speciality teas and earl greys. It offers refreshment, taste and something for everybody, it's not just about a standard black cup of tea anymore.

WHY do you love being a part of Clipper?
Living and working in Beaminster you have a really genuine group of people who are thrilled to bits to work for Clipper, not just because it’s a successful company but because we do the right think ethically with all our suppliers. We’ve got a great area, with great people and we’re very engaged with the local community and it just makes it a lot of fun. It's much less like a job and more of a lifestyle choice almost, it’s just a fun thing to do.

WHAT do you love about motorcycling?
It’s the freedom, that’s the adventurer in me. It’s just good to get out and to travel around Europe, North Africa, Russia, all over the place. I like to explore new things and new situations.

WHAT have been your favourite places to visit on your bike and where would you still like to go?
The Austrian Alps and the Pyrenees were fantastic. If I was fit enough, brave enough and had enough time and money then I would like to do the Long Way Round journey that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman did, but I’m none of those things so I’ll stick to the Pyrenees.

WHAT was the last book you read, film you watch and CD you listened to?
I’ve just finished a book called 'Lustrum,' which was about the Roman Empire. The last film I watch was Goldfinger; I like James Bond and it’s a bit of escapism. The last album I listened to really depends: if it was yesterday, then Paloma Faith, but at the weekend it would have been Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon - so quite a mixed bag.

WHO would be your three dream guests at a dinner party?
I’d look for somebody inspirational. I’d love to hear the thoughts of Martin Luther King on what it meant to struggle and do the right thing for the people, which kind of chimes a little bit with Clipper in trying to do the right thing. For some easy on the eye female company I’d have to say Marilyn Monroe and thirdly Hannibal. I’m an eternal optimist and believe that doing the right thing should be enjoyable but should be tough as well.

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