FA blog #5: Friends and Friends

How did I end up working at Friendship Adventure?

Right place, right time? Well, sort of… Looking to leave behind my days as a corporate lackey? Yeah, that too… I certainly drew some inspiration from Toby’s blog at the end of last year… But working for a brewery, Ed?

Sure, I like beer as much as the next guy. And I’ve been on my share of brewery tours, from Theakston in North Yorkshire (cricket tour) to Anchor in San Francisco (visiting family).  But I think, like most people, I just couldn’t wait for the end of those tours so that I could drink some bloody beer. The brewing process didn’t ever grab me, if I’m being honest.

So what brought me here? Certainly a question my folks have asked me recently on more than one occasion…

Let’s roll the clock back a year…

I quit my job in the city in April 2018 (a story for another day) without much of an idea of where I was going or what I wanted to do next. I thought I might do a bit of travelling, maybe live abroad for a bit, scratch up on my Spanish…

But it was one friend in particular who would go on to have a huge impact on me, although I had no way of seeing it at first.

For the purpose of this piece this friend shall remain unnamed. Some of you will know who I’m referring to, but I don’t want to boost his ego any greater than it already is…

He’s probably not even reading this… Yep, he’s that good a friend.

Anyway… the day I told him of my resignation, he told me we were to share a bromantic weekend together, so off to Tallinn we went (awesome place by the way), and we became pretty inseparable after that…

Before I knew it, I was helping him organise a private festival he had been planning for some time in the South of France. 3 days, 100 (ish) people, bands, DJs, film screenings, fire art, yoga, pensions talks (yes, pensions talks), food, drink. The full monty…

We put it all together via 3 months of organisation and planning meetings, often fun, often stressful, often not much was actually achieved, but it was always in a familiar setting surrounded by good friends. To be honest, not one of us had any experience or knew what we were doing…

Did it matter? Probably. But would we have had as much fun? Learning for ourselves all the dos and don’ts (and the absolutely under no circumstances, ever…!)? Absolutely not.

Would we have come out the friends that we are today? Absolutely not.

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The festival itself was a huge success. I mean, we ran out of beer on the second day, and almost completely forgot to feed people dinner on the Sunday evening. But we pulled through!

But it wasn’t until after the event that I was able to reflect on what we’d achieved and what we’d learnt from the experience.

What I learnt was that some things go the way you expect, some things don’t. Some things happen that you don’t expect at all, and some things which you had down as a certainty don’t even occur.

The lasting imprint on me, however, was how fulfilling it had been to be able to build something from the ground up with friends. Friends old and new. Some I didn’t even know, or who I had not considered friends before the event, I now consider among my closest.

Fast forward a couple of months and I’m sat in the Crown and Anchor (great boozer) with Toby, a long term friend of a friend (I know, right?!), discussing Friendship Adventure.

Friendship Adventure is all about sharing experiences with friends, old and new. Yes, it’s a brewery. Yes, it hosts awesome comedy nights. Yes, its name is derived from 3 friends, each pretty extraordinary in their own right, who set up a business together. But it’s a business that wants to tap into the experience economy - the very same I dived into when I agreed to set up and run a festival last year - and build it from the ground up.

It’s not about the amazing beer (I mean, we do make amazing beers). It’s about where you drink them and who you drink them with - Friends. I had to be a part of it.

I know what you’re thinking… It’s ironic that we failed to provide enough beer for the festival and I now work for a beer company. Or is it?

Who knows…

What I do know, is that when I look back on this last year, where I’ve come from and where I’ve now landed, by far the biggest influence on the year I’ve had has been Friendship.

I guess I have my friends to thank for me being here. Cheers guys.

toby ejsmond-frey