This is it. Day dot. We’ve begun.
I’ve been in the hospitality industry ever since I left school. I don’t talk about this often but to tell the truth all I ever wanted was to be an actor. I didn’t fit though. I went to university in Manchester and bartended my way through in order to pay for it.
My name is Lewis Hayes and I have been working towards my dream of launching a Rum Distillery in Britain for the past four years.
Long bar shifts were never conducive to learning lines and neither were the hangovers. Let’s be honest I was never that great at saying no to having a drink at work- it was the culture and it made for a lot of fun on shift. I was hooked, not on alcohol (thank God) but on people!!
That’s the real reason I loved acting, I love that magic in the air in an auditorium, there’s something quite special about the relationship between a paying audience and you on stage baring all- in my case literally, twice!!
I have always had a deep rooted love for people… no let me rephrase that, a deep rooted fascination with people. For social interaction, for hearing other people’s stories. I quickly realised that Hospitality offered a fantastic opportunity to observe, listen and engage with people form all different walks of life. I could get paid and have fun at the same time, whilst listening to people open up about their lives, or watching people so relaxed they’re prepared to dance as badly as I do.
Speaking of which, I accidentally married a dancer… Our two daughters got her dance genes and I will forever get that confused, embarrassed pity look from them when I’m demonstrating my dad-dancing prowess. I don’t mind though, and that’s the essence of what I’ve learned through hospitality… So what?!… we are all naff at something, even a king uses a toilet.
Let’s not beat about the bush, alcohol can be dangerous but when enjoyed in moderation it can be a wonderful way to loosen up those social awkwardnesses that those prudish Victorians passed on to us.
I would have been an outcast in the Victorian era as I still can’t find a decent pair of trousers that are long enough to cover my ankles, It comes with the territory of being 6 foot 5 but what a disappointment I would have been and speaking of disappointments, I will never be 6 foot 6, and I will have to live the rest of my life, knowing I missed official ‘Giant status’ by a single inch!!
What I could have done with official giant status? Perhaps that’s it, I’ve been trying to make up for that missing inch all these years and that’s why I’m building Europe’s largest rum distillery. Or is it because in producing a certain volume it will allow us to net the price down to make it accessible for a mass market even in a cost of living crisis? It’s probably the missing inch!!
Let me be clear, I am passionate about people and I accept that it takes a certain amount of privilege to say that this new Rum distillery is not about making money but it’s certainly not the driving motivation for launching the distillery. I believe we can have a considerable impact on people’s lives, I want to bring more JOY into the world, help people to connect in the real world and encourage positive relationships- I want to help people to be reminded that no matter how old you are, we are all still kids on a playground.
So go and be free, explore, find joy, be fascinated, talk, shout and run and dance and jump and so what?!… I’m not preaching nihilism, really I’m passionate about the opposite, which is love!! I’d argue The Beatles got it right… Love is all you need.
Possibly my fourth favourite statue of all time would be Eros in Piccadilly Circus, or at least that’s what most people call the statue. It’s not Eros though. It’s Anteros. Eros represents an inward feeling of love, so for example… I love fluffy rabbits or “I love me” said Boris… just for example. Anteros however is the Greek God of giving love… calm down Hugh Hefner, I mean charity, or an act of kindness- Love returned… Anteros is in Piccadilly Circus, sat at the bottom of Shaftesbury Avenue, so named due to Lord Shaftesbury’s generosity and charitable work providing free education for poor children.
It’s all about giving and sharing and loving others above yourself and that’s what’s at the core of our distillery.
Sorry, I went down a rabbit hole there, I did warn you though, I love fluffy hopping, flopping creatures.
So… Finally we are here, here at the start. What feels like a slog of a last couple of years has been all about getting to this point: The launch of The DropWorks Distillery.
I invite you to join me on my mission to bring Joy to the world. I encourage you to seek Joy; Find it, bag it and share it. Every decision we make at DropWorks will be held to our high standard of bringing more Joy to the world and what a wonderful thing Rum is to be able to do that.
Through quality distillation, through precision and scientific research, through apprenticeships, through art, through colour, through community, through people, through dance and through music and through poetry and lastly but by no means leastly thorough taste.
DropWorks Rum will be of the highest quality, priced accessibly, and all about bringing joy to people’s lives!!!