Furlough Diaries: Justin Rivett

The first Furlough Diary comes from Justin, wrangler of the sales… it’s not particularly key to anything really, and this is perhaps all a bit whimsical on my part as something to fill the space of the weekly emails from back when we were able to sell beer. So take it, or leave it… don’t stress about it… I’m sure many of you have more important things to do with your time. But if you’d like a glimpse into the life of Justin at this time…  without further ado, I shall pass this over to him, and read on…

“Where’s Justin?”

Hello, I’m Justin and I am the Sales Manager at Jolly Good Beer.

My Job is basically to make sure that the entire sales function works smoothly, from contributing to purchasing decisions to make sure that we have the products you guys want to see on our lists are there, through to solving problems when they happen, and giving support and guidance to ‘The DAN Entities’ who you speak to on the day to day.

A lot of my time is spent looking at spreadsheets and data, and making Yvan’s life harder by making him change things and give me more resources to make us able to do more, but hopefully he also benefits from not having to do all of this all on his own. I was lucky enough to be the first ‘non Warehouse’ employee here.

I am based in Bristol, and have previously worked for Ales By Mail and Moor Beer Co in the same position, I have more than ten years of experience in solely selling British produced Craft Beer, having started my own business in Wholesale all that time ago before giving up and going to work for Moor. In those early days there weren’t many brewers, and even fewer customers out there buying this kind of beer, so I’ve seen a lot of changes in the Industry as we’ve gone on.

During my tenure at Moor Beer I was heavily involved in the move from Somerset to Bristol, the setting up of the Tap Room, and in the decision to move from the late slightly lamented 660ml ‘Bombers’ into 330ml Cans, riding the first wave of UK canned craft beer.

A Bunch of Fives -what I’ve been doing in the Lockdown.

5 things I’ve done –

1) I love Bicycles, so I have been rebuilding a classic British road bike made by local company ‘Argos’. Built by hand from Reynolds 531 steel its very different to the modern idea of a racing bicycle, but I love it. I’ve also been stripping down a Mountain Bike I bought in California around 20 years ago as I’ve never really got on with its full suspension frame, so will be using the parts on another hand built steel frame.

2) Gardening, I hate gardening with a passion, so I thought I was clever when I chose a house with no real ‘garden’ but a bunch of planters on a paved patio. Little did I know that weeds LOVE paving slabs, and old barrels fall apart, so I spent some much needed time pulling weeds and replanting our herbs in smaller and less falling apart pots. Because I hate gardening I also don’t have all the tools, so the digging out of planters had to be done with a coal shovel. Not fun… next job is taking a sledge hammer to the nasty concrete raised beds.

3) I bought an X-Box One. I’ve had an old 360 for ages, and have been meaning upgrade, seemed the perfect opportunity. Game recommendations welcome on Twitter @bigdogdrinks!! 

4) 8 years ago I rode a Yamaha FS1E 50cc moped from John’OGroats to Lands End for a small Cancer charity along with about 50 other lunatics and our support convoy…This week I’ve dragged it out the back of the Garage and am finally going to sell it because I’ve not done a single thing with it since it came back from Cornwall. The Missus is going to be delighted its finally gone. 

5) I’m gonna get some Certificates! For ten years I’ve meant to do some formal exams on the things I’ve learned about beer over time, so now I’m on lockdown there is no longer any excuse not to start the Cicerone and BJCP exams. You’ll soon know if I’m as clever as I claim, or just a massive bluffer!

5 Things I haven’t done (but probably should…) –

The Kids

1) Washed the car, poor thing is filthy.

2) Started the diet – still a big fat bastard.

3) Decorating – Two Bulldogs have an effect on your decor, but I haven’t been able to face it yet.

4) Bought anything stupid on Ebay, but I keep looking at hoooge 70’s Cadillacs and there is time yet…

5) Actually ridden the Bicycles I spend so much time and money on…er, I have no real excuse, I just like ‘having’ them.

5 Albums I’ve been listening to –

1) The Wedding Present – Seamonsters: Steve Albini produced noise. Hated it on release as it wasn’t another ‘George Best’ but love it now.

2) GZA – Liquid Swords: All of the Kung-Fu movie samples and sparse oriental beats of The Wu-Tang Clan, but more so. Best of the solo projects for me. 

3) Muddy Waters – Vintage Delta Blues: Purest of the pure Blues. Everything else in rock and roll comes from here.

4) Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back: Chuck D and Public Enemy at their foot stomping loudmouthed best running on anger and the Shocklee Brothers full on aural attack.

5) The Cramps – Off the Bone: Dirty Punkabilly surf guitar driven copybook Garage Punk. trading hard on sub ‘Carry On’ Innuendo and B-movie sci-fi and Horror influences.

(I’ve combined these into a Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure… -Yvan.)

5 things I’ve read or watched –

1) The Tiger King – What the hell did I just watch? Just like everyone else I was briefly obsessed with Joe Exotic and his hatred for that bitch Carole Baskin.

2) LA Originals – rooted in Chicano culture, this is the story of Mr Cartoon and Estevan Oriol as they created many of the visual elements of West Coast hip Hop.

3) Re-read ‘Neuromancer’ and ‘Burning Chrome’ by William Gibson. The origins of the ‘Cyber-Punk’ movement and a new birth of Sci-Fi writing, these books not only talk about a dark and dystopian future, many suggest they actually directed some of the tech developments we have today. Hugely influential and still very relevant.

4) Comedians in cars getting Coffee – Jerry Sinfeld. Speaks to my two obsessions of old cars and coffee, whilst listening to some funny people telling good stories, aural wallpaper at times, but riveting viewing at others. A million series on Netflix.

5) Pellicle and Good Beer Hunting and The Gulp (@shinybiscuit) lots of great food and drink writing out there, as well as the JGB ‘foodie’ page on our Slack, why be in this game if you don’t love booze, the creation of booze, and things that go with booze?

5 things I drank –

1) Elephant in the room – the best thing I’ve drunk recently wasn’t Beer. I love Sherry, so the bottle of Tio Pepe dos Palmas was sensational blended from 2 casks of 8 year old Fino with a significant Flor. https://www.tiopepe.com/gb-en/products/palmas

2) Brick West Coast IPA – Gorgeous West Coast IPA brewed properly to style, and crisp, bitter and full of C-hop flavours ranging from Grapefruit through tropical to resinous, A lot of new ‘West Coast’ IPA’s aren’t, so tasting this beautiful rendition took me straight back to the Day when IBU’s ruled the waves.

3) Boon vs Mikeller Ould Geuze – a refugee from my beer fridge, I’ve had this one in stock a while, and as I’ve run out of Cantillon it was next on the list. I love Lambics and this didn’t disappoint. Tart, effervescent and fruity, its slightly blue cheese and lots of stone fruit.

4) The Kernel – Biere de Saison: Nelson Sauvin. My favourite beer of 2019, just in front of Pressure Drop ‘Saratoga Springs’. Very few new sour beers meet with my approval, too many have massive issues that are masked with too much Lactic but this is great. The Nelson Sauvin is the best but all the hop varietals are good.

5) Salt Beer Factory samples. – I like Col Stronge a lot, and like his brewing a lot as well, so these cans picked up on a brewery visit a couple of months ago didn’t last long at all. Boom! 

5 Places I miss most…

1) E Pellici – Cafe on Bethnal Green Road: More performance art than Restaurant, I love going here for a fry up as it reminds me of the old cafes that proliferated in the East End when I was a kid, and I got taken for a treat after swimming lessons with my Dad. The food is good, but its the original 30s interior, the staff and the other customers I keep going back for.

2) Lost and Grounded taproom – Bristol: My ‘local’ about a mile and a half from my house, we take the Bulldogs on a Friday night to catch up with local gossip, have a Keller Pils or two, and eventually most of the Beer world drifts through.


3) Box-E – Cargo Bristol: A restaurant in a shipping container that has some of the best food around cooked by Elliot Lidstone and FoH by his Wife Tess, these guys not only run one of the best Restaurants in a City that isn’t short of them, but they are stalwarts of the local community as well, whilst on shutdown Elliott is producing food for the vulnerable with a local food charity. Love being here, especially the Chefs Table.

4) Pinkman’s Bakery – Park Street Bristol: Sourdoughnuts…..do I need say more?

5) Pizzarova – Cargo Bristol: The sun is coming so Claire and I will be back to getting one of these superb sourdough pizzas on the harbourside, grab a can of something good from Beer Necessities a couple of containers down, and then get some food for the weekend from Meatbox and Bristol Cheesemonger (run by Rosie, the partner of Moor lead brewer Tom Scrancher) Cargo is brilliant, lots of great independent small businesses run from shipping containers on the side of the floating harbour outside M-Shed museum. I love Bristol in the Sun. 

But really the thing that I am missing most is hectic madness of the weekly sales cycles at Jolly Good Beer, speaking to you lot and to the Dan’s, waiting for Yvan to get the beer lists out, and watching Twitter as those beers arrive with you and get posted up and people get excited…10 years in it doesn’t get any less exciting to be involved in this game.

Look forward to catching up when this is all over, and of course, stay well and be safe.

Hopefully I can get another member of the team to volunteer some thoughts in a week for the next edition of the Furlough Diaries.

All the best, please be safe and sensible.