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Seb Jones

Speyside Craft Brewery

Seb Jones is founder and managing director of Speyside Craft Brewery. The company is based in Forres and luanched in November 2012. It uses the same water that creats Speyside Single Malt, an internationally renowned whisky.

60-Second Interview

Who was your biggest hero when you were younger?
When I was younger, I watched a TV programme about Michael Flatley of Riverdance fame. What impressed me was that he is an internationally successful serial entrepreneur, with a multifaceted mining and rubber business, but no one knows that. He isn't famous for being rich, but for his incredible dance talents, and I respect that.
What initially attracted you to enterprise?
What initially attracted me to enterprise was the realisation that I didn't want to work in the field that I had studied at university (chemistry), but that I was really good at brewing beer!
Can you tell us about the first £10 you ever made?
I used to sell sweets at school, particularly sherbet straws, for 2p a piece (100% mark-up!). They sold so well that the school had a litter problem. I then collected all of the empty wrappers and turned them into chopping boards, which I sold to parents at the Christmas fete.
What has been your biggest challenge so far with your business?
It has been a very steep learning curve, but my biggest challenge has been learning to deal with my impatience. I always want to have things done yesterday, but starting and running a business takes time.
Who is it that keeps you going through any tough times?
Lots of people keep me going through tough times - my family, my girlfriend and also the people who drink and enjoy my beer. If I can go the extra mile for a customer, and put a smile on their face, then it is worth the tough times.
What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning?
The thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the love that I have for my job, which varies on a daily basis, but also the need to keep the beer flowing - we have to keep our customers well supplied.
How do you define success?
Success isn't defined by any one thing, it is a balanced combination of your personal and professional achievements.
Where do you see your business in 5 years' time?
In one year, I hope that the business can secure a good foothold in bars and bottle-shops across the UK before expanding internationally. In 2 to 3 years, we will begin our export journey, reaching further and further east to Asia. In 5 to 7 years, we aim to open Speyside beer and whisky bars. It is important to have these goals and something to work towards, even if we don't know exactly how we'll get there!
If you could give your 'teenage self' one piece of advice, what would it be?
Through my life, I've learnt that to acquire knowledge you have to realise the extent of your own ignorance - and that is what I would tell my teenage self.
If you could have any one person on your business contact list, whou would that person be and why?
It would be Bernie Ecclestone. He has managed to create and remain the figurehead of one of the world's biggest brands - Formula 1.