That’s alright, that’s ok, you’re gonna pump our gas someday.
That’s right peeps, you thought this was going to be a blog about alcoholic spirits, but I’ve wrong footed you once again with my lyrical mastery, like Jason Robinson but better at writing. This is about Spirits, as embodied by the Spirit Stick, as popularised by Noughties heartthrob Kirsten Dunst in Bring it On (got there in the end). This rollercoaster ride of a blog is about keeping your spirits up when the going gets tough, and pulling together as founders, friends, and a kick-ass cheerleading team.
In October 2013 I set out to open my first bar and over the next four years I worked incredibly hard to realise that dream. (add: **I went through many of the same challenges as team F.A. etc.***) In the end we struggled to turn a profit and the company wound up in March 2017. Many valuable lessons were learned, one of which was the primacy of having a great team.
It’s impossible to overstate how important having good co-founders and co-workers is, especially in an environment as demanding as the hospitality industry. Unpredictable requests, rude punters, irascible drunks...and that’s just Neil and Toby. It is truly a test of character, and keeping spirits up is infinitely easier when you can share a joke with your friends instead of trudging home to stew on your own.
In these socially distanced times many have relished the opportunity to work from home, free from the oversight (in the literal sense), of their bosses and peers; others however have missed the camaraderie of the office. The water cooler moments (footnote: do any offices have water coolers anymore or are they solely the proviso of dental surgeries?), the catered lunches (Google), the games consoles (Google), there is a lot to be said for the benefits of the office environment (at Google). This is particularly evident when you are having a bad day. In the recent past, when you were in a funk because the sports team had played badly in the game on the weekend, you could go and have a natter with Dave and come to the conclusion that it was all the fault of Millennials / Trump / the weather. In the absence of Dave however, you might spend hours wasting time and feeling unproductive, only further exacerbating your gloomy demeanour. The moral of the story is this: if you are having a bad day, there is nothing better to pull you out of it than the company of friends.
How do we keep spirits up at Friendship Adventure? - aside from having unlimited delicious, cold beer on tap whenever we want it, that is. Well, we also have regular team breakfasts, several hours dedicated to the dalliances of Ed “never a cold bed” Pragnell and frequent Youtube comedy breaks, as well as a whatsapp group where we spur each other on to greater heights of craft beer domination. We are all in it together to brainstorm our plan of attack on a big pub group, discuss in measured and reflective tones any customer that hasn’t paid their invoices on time, and take awesome boomerang videos of us drinking beer in a totally natural and non-contrived way. (**maybe flesh out**)
Now for the science bit (two massive Noughties throwbacks in one blog. What a time to be alive). Seeing your friends releases another “S”, Serotonin, and this leads to feelings of camaraderie, friendship, bonding, and all-round high spirits. Shameless brag: the increase in serotonin when conducting an activity as a group versus as an individual is scientific fact and measurable effect...as measured by yours truly for his masters thesis. Not just a pretty Boat Race.
***one more para in here***
For those of you that totally switched off as soon as you realised this wasn’t going to be a love song to all things alcoholic, let me finish by dropping some knowledge. While the word Spirit as used above comes from the prosaic Spirare, to breathe, hence the association with life and vigour, spirit in alcoholic terms harks back to the age of alchemy, when the vapour given off and collected during an alchemical process (as with distillation of alcohol) was called a “spirit” of the original material.
We may not be distilling spirits at Friendship Adventure, but we are making gold.