Jane Peyton founded School of Booze in 2008 during the global financial down-turn as a corporate events company offering beer, cider, and wine tasting events. Jane was warned that it was not a sensible idea to start an events business during a global recession, but she thought the opposite, because even in a recession, people still want a drink and some entertainment.
Some business advisers said that using the word “booze” in the company name was a folly and that no-one would take the company seriously. The name turned out to be a very good idea because it is memorable, it describes what the company does, and the name makes people laugh. They are the people that we want as clients!
It was a challenge to find clients during the 2008 global recession. Fortunately, School of Booze’s first clients offered repeat business and gave excellent word of mouth, so the client base built.
When School of Booze started, no other events business was offering beer & cider tasting events the way that the team did so the company had a monopoly for a few years. She says, “It also helped that we offered pub experiences and worked with destination management companies handling business groups into the UK from overseas – overseas groups are very keen on having pub experiences.”
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between the World’s Leaders and Jane Peyton:
Describe the School of Booze offerings that address the needs of your customers.
School of Booze is a one-stop shop for beer, cider, and wine knowledge, offering in person or video conferencing training for the staff of hospitality companies, drinks brands, and drinks marketing and PR companies. The School of Booze also has an e-learning platform with downloadable beer, cider, and wine courses.
School of Booze also offers corporate beer, cider, and wine tasting events for client entertainment, networking, incentives, and team building, both in person and via video conferencing.
Jane Peyton is a copy and feature writer and supplies website and publicity copy, promotional copy, and social media copy for drinks brands.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in this industry through your expertise in the industry.
Jane Peyton has won many awards in all areas of her work, including for her drink knowledge, advocacy, the unique aspect of School of Booze’s business offering, and for her entrepreneurial skills. One of Jane’s favourite accolades is being a Guinness World Record holder for hosting the world’s largest beer tasting tutorial (1,256 people). The company that organised it needed a well-known, accredited beer sommelier. Jane was Britain’s first beer sommelier of the year and also the instigator of Beer Day Britain (the UK’s annual national beer day), so that is why she was chosen.
Professional awards include:
School of Booze was in the Top 100 SME’s in London and the South-East Business Awards 2021.
School of Booze-Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2021 (Finalist)
Jane Peyton-Best Corporate Events Business Leader (South East England (awarded by Influential Businesswoman Awards 2021)
Jane Peyton-Lifetime Achievement in Beer 2018 awarded by the British Parliament All Party Parliamentary Beer Group
Jane Peyton became the UK’s first accredited Pommelier (cider sommelier) in 2018 through the Beer & Cider Academy.
Jane Peyton-Outstanding Individual Achievement in Beer 2017 from the Beer & Cider Marketing Awards.
Jane Peyton is the Drinks Educator of the Year (2016) from Imbibe Magazine. She was also nominated for this award in 2015.
Jane Peyton-Women of the Year Award 2015
Jane Peyton-Britain’s first Beer Sommelier of the Year (2014) awarded by the Beer Academy and British Institute of Innkeeping
Jane Peyton – Gold Award for Writing in the Trade Media 2015 and Silver Award for Beer & Food Writing 2014, Silver Award for Best Beer Broadcasting 2017 – all three came from the British Guild of Beer Writers.
Jane Peyton’s Historic London beer tasting pub tour was voted Top Global Experience in 2012 and Best British Operator in 2014 and 2015 by Trip Adviser’s tour agency, Viator.
What are the challenges you and your team at School of Booze come across in your day-to-day operations?
Finding new clients, clients paying on time, keeping up to date with social media, keeping up to date with and implementing changes to SEO.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
Small business owners who built a business from scratch and succeeded inspire and influence me to keep going. All the books on alcoholic drinks that I read impacts me by increasing my knowledge.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drive the School of Booze.
At School of Booze we strive to make work fun for our associates. We also aim to bring fun and sociability to our corporate events clients. For our training staff we aim to impart knowledge in a fun learning environment that inspires them to sell, serve, and communicate with confidence.
Where do you envision yourself being in the long run, and what are your future goals for the School of Booze?
Future goals, to market the School of Booze e-learning platform in India.
In the long run, I plan to write more books (I have nine published books).
What would be your advice to budding business leaders?
Find a niche and ‘own’ it. Have a unique offering in something that has wide appeal. Choose to work in a sector or specialise in a subject that you really enjoy and that does not feel like work.