It is essential for people in the hospitality industry to be well trained in every aspect of the industry. One of the most important aspects is having knowledge of the various alcoholic drinks around the world to best serve the guests. Being trained by someone who is passionate about alcoholic drinks makes learning a fun and memorable experience.
Wherever there is a passion, there is always a way to explore it as a profession. The saying perfectly fits Jane Peyton. Her passion for alcoholic drinks led her to establish a platform known as the School of Booze.
School of Booze specializes in online beer training, cider training, and wine training courses for staff in pubs, bars, restaurants, and other hospitality, retail, PR, and marketing agencies, and brand owners.
In an interview with Insights Success, Jane discussed with us her passion for training people about alcoholic drinks in fun ways and her enthusiasm for hosting alcohol-related events.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Jane, please tell us about your journey so far as an established alcoholic drinks educator, corporate events host, and keynote speaker.
I founded School of Booze in 2008 with the intention of creating a one-stop business in a sector with global and evergreen appeal – alcoholic drinks – that would offer a range of services with learning at its heart.
The company’s registered trademark is ‘Think While You Drink’. My USP was beer and cider because at the time there were no companies offering events and education in the way I did. My alcohol knowledge is officially accredited through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and Beer and Cider Academy, and I was Britain’s first Beer Sommelier of the Year, the first accredited cider sommelier, and Drinks Educator of the Year.
Having knowledge of something with global popularity has led to invitations to speak at events around the world. I really enjoy public speaking, and there are so many fascinating and surprising stories about alcohol that surprise and entertain audiences.
Tell us more about the School of Booze and its unique offerings and services.
As far as I know, School of Booze is the world’s only company that offers a variety of services and in the range of drinks I do – beer, cider, mead, wine, and spirits and their non-alcohol equivalent.
In addition to events and education, I am also a writer and produce marketing copy for drinks brands. The consultancy I offer includes new product development, glassware design, advice on market trends, and more. I am a visiting university lecturer for hospitality and events students, and I mentor students in entrepreneurship.
I am also a pub expert and if there is one thing overseas businesses and private groups want to do when they visit London it is to have a British pub experience with an aficionado. I am happy to oblige because being in a pub is one of my favorite places to be!
What inspired you to venture into the hospitality industry?
I love going to the pub with friends, and I know there are millions of other people who do too, so when I was considering the focus of my business, I chose something that would have wide appeal and give people and me happiness. I am so fortunate because work never feels like a chore, I always approach any group booking as if they were friends I have not yet met.
As a woman leader, what change do you wish to see or make in the corporate space to facilitate opportunities that are presented to women?
Always have a 50-50 split of male and female speakers on panels when the subject is about something that applies to both men and women. In marketing and publicity photographs, include women as well as men in a way that looks natural if it is a product or service used by both sexes. Invite women to be keynote speakers. Hire women. Promote women.
If a company has women in senior roles, encourage them to go into schools and colleges and speak to students about career options. There is a well-known phrase, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” This is so true, but if women can see it, then they can be it.
In your opinion, why is it important to have a wine tasting experience at least once in your life?
In addition to wine, I’d like to suggest beer, cider, and spirits tasting too, because even a small amount of learning helps to improve the drinking experience there at the event, and in the future too.
Learning how to taste like a professional gives people the confidence to expand their drinking repertoire and their confidence when ordering in a bar or restaurant. I always talk about how to match with food and that knowledge makes dining so much more interesting. And if you do a tasting experience with me, it’s not just enlightening, it’s fun too!
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding aspirants who wish to make it as alcohol connoisseurs?
Become accredited through an officially recognized education body. In the beginning, focus on one type of drink and build a comprehensive knowledge of it. Try and build a profile for that expertise, and then expand into other drinks if you want portfolio knowledge. Listen, read, learn, and keep up to date with industry developments.
How do you envision further strengthening School of Booze’s stronghold in 2022 and beyond?
In order to pandemic-proof School of Booze, I plan to increase my video conferencing events and training offering and expand the market for my e-learning platform of downloadable beer, cider, and wine courses. But for the immediate future, I just want to see people’s lovely faces in real life and be in the same room for events.
There is a widespread pent-up desire to socialize in person and the School of Booze is busy with confirmed events. I am so pleased that overseas business travelers are returning to London, and I will be hosting groups from America, Canada, and Brazil in the next couple of months. I expect this demand to continue for some time yet. I cannot wait to raise a glass with them in a wonderful venue and hear that irresistible buzz of enjoyment as people socialize.
Recommendations From Clients
- “There is no doubt that Jane Peyton is an expert in her field. She brings a level of humor and approach that makes every event she is involved with fun and inclusive, educational, and highly enjoyable. An outstanding professional, I thoroughly recommend Jane for any event.” – Richard Ford, Fosse Capital Partners
- “Jane Peyton is a master of her trade. What makes Jane truly unique is her level of knowledge and more importantly her passion for the industry.” – Matt Green, Rockit Fish Events.
- “Jane was a phenomenal speaker and told the story in such a unique and engaging way. Jane’s expertise and presentation style really did make this the best talk I attended.” – Sarah o’ R, Molson Coors
Some Awards and Accolades for Jane Peyton and School of Booze
- School of Booze was in the Top 100 Small Businesses in London and South-East 2021-22
- Tour Company of the Year, England by Travel and Hospitality Awards 2022
- Finalist, Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2021
- Lifetime Achievement in Beer 2018 awarded by the British Parliament Beer Group
- Unique Experience of the Year 2019 from Luxury Travel Guide Awards
- Best Wine Tasting Entertainment Specialists 2018 (UK) from the Global Entertainment Awards
- Experience of the Year, England 2018 London Pub Tour from Travel and Hospitality Awards (Europe)
- Women of the Year award 2015
- Guinness World Record Breaker for hosting the world’s largest beer tasting tutorial (1,236 people) 2016