This is a tale of ale. Something many students are at least familiar, if not overly familiar with.
First let me introduce you to my brother-in-law Scott. Scott hails from the south-west of England and is a sociable chap who likes a good joke and is blessed with the gift of the gab. He has several loyalties in life; beer, music (vinyl in particular) and his dog Chester. While he adores the women in his family dearly, Scott will tell you, at length, of the strong bond between him and his dog; of how he nurtured him from a puppy, raised him as one of his own, walked him in all weathers and threw him a thousand sticks to fetch. Tongue-in-cheek male solidarity but Scott does spin a fine yarn. (Chester is loyal to whoever feeds him custard creams but that is another story.)
For many a year, Scott successfully worked his way up in the Civil Service. More telling though is his first job, way back when, as a Bar Manager for West Country pub. Which brings me back to ale. Over two years ago Scott, succumbing to his fondness for a good pint, founded the Jail Ale Appreciation Society or JAAS for short. (Jail Ale is brewed in Dartmoor – the brewery being England’s highest and the ale ‘Dartmoor’s Finest’.) Scott kept the society going by putting his talents in social media and his interpersonal skills to good use. He kept in contact with society members via his own Facebook page, recruited via Twitter and held get-togethers where like-minded individuals could partake of the local brew.
As membership grew, he organised the inaugural JAASFest in early 2013. Held at a local pub, the event was a not-for-profit fundraiser for charity. By now the brewery, appreciating the value of Scott’s work and respect for the brand, had got behind the initiative and supported the event. Still busy at the Civil Service, all this occurred in Scott’s own time and on a purely voluntary basis. (Give or take a few free beers.)
Today the society has over 650 members from all over the world and features on the brewery’s website. You can even get your own personalised JAAS Jug.
And Scott? As of March this year, he is the Sales and Social Media Manager at the Dartmoor Brewery. He wasn’t even looking for a new job but ended up being offered his dream one. He says, “The key thing I’ve learnt is to be true to yourself, show passion, honesty and enthusiasm and you never know where it might lead you!” Makes you think, doesn’t it?