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Beer Festival Man

Beer Festival ManPhoto courtesy of CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale)

Beer Festival Man is someone I know, and we were having a drink in a pub one Friday lunchtime, something I don't do very often.

He was due to retire from his civil service job in a few weeks and we were talking about the future, he wasn't really sure about what he wanted to do next with his life.

He had reached 55 years old but certainly was not yet ready to resort to gardening or giving up work entirely.

He felt he was on his second wind.

His children were grown up leading their own lives, he was single and he wanted to "do something for me" were his exact words.

He didn't want to answer to anyone else again.

After more discussion he did mention casually something that interested him.

It was event management.

I asked him what it was that appealed to him, because it was a complete departure from his day job of working to legislation, the law and with dodgy characters.

After he explained, it made complete sense.

Event management is about organisational skills, personality and communication. All of which were a perfect fit for my beer festival man.

The thing was, he wasn't keen on weddings, funerals or stag do's and the thought of dealing with the corporate world filled him with horror.

After all wasn't he just leaving this all behind for a much better life?

So that left us having a bit of a question mark moment?

Beer Festival Man's Big Idea!

Over our lunch I happened to mention, quite randomly that our home city (Sheffield) was apparently known as the beer capital of the world now.

I don't remember exactly how I stumbled on the fact but it was definately something I had become aware of.

Apparently as a city, Sheffield had more microbreweries than Munich.

Yes, that Munich famous around the world for beer and sausages.

I mean who hasn't heard of the Oktoberfest?

It is a famous as Glastonbury or the New York St Patrick's Day parade.

I do remember there had been  a  question in the article asking why Sheffield was not doing more to become a destination for beer lovers around the world?

And that was it!

That was his lightbulb moment.

Event Management Meets Niche Idea

He could run a beer festival, and not just any beer festival, a microbrewery one. 

We got out our smart phones and did a 5 minute research session which revealed there were actually quite a few beer festivals locally.

But, what was apparent,  they were mostly all real ale ones, no one seemed to be embracing the microbrewery trend. It was all real ale. 

Personally I didn't know there was a difference?

There were other festivals as well for Gin and Rum and Cider if he wanted to diversify, but his heart was set on his first idea.

Within half an hour he had a business plan on paper, who he was going to contact, how he was going to run it, where he was going to run it, food producers to contact locally and a name for his business.

He was going to  create a business that fitted in with his strengths of communication, organisation, networking  and his love of a good social life into the bargain.

Also he didn't like real ale at all, so he chose his own little niche.

He thought about it like this and drew a circle on the napkin he was using for lunch.

The festival would be the outside of the wheel, he would be the inside of the wheel and he would would work with the spokes (the suppliers) to make them fit correctly.

He didn't have to buy a product, or open a shop, he would get paid for organising a social event.

We both sat back in our chairs, smiled at each other and acknowledged, what a great fit this was for him.

Months of worrying about what to do next, gone in a flash.

I look forward to seeing if he starts his venture, scheduled for Summer 2019.

Beer Festival Man Takeaways

  • Sometimes the answer is staring you in the face
  • Keep your eyes and ears peeled for trends
  • Choose your career to blend with your strengths, don't even bother trying to fix your weaknesses
  • You can pick a niche of your own within a popular larger one
  • Embrace the napkin business plan, it can be that simple