While it’s more likely within the realm of entrepreneurship, it’s rare to see somebody who has completely merged their professional life with their passion. 

But Jeremy White? He did just that.

Jeremy White (right) (Source: The Nova Scotia Advocate)

Starting a business is no easy feat. Growing that business is a whole other beast. So what enabled Rick to accomplish all that and more? 

This Student Works alumnus went from participating in our program, to spending over a decade in Costa Rica, to purchasing farmland in Nova Scotia (sight unseen, we might add), to turning that property into Spruce Brewing.

Do you have whiplash yet? Allow us to rewind a couple steps. Upon moving to The Maritimes, Jeremy and his wife immediately took to their new home. In fact, they dreamed of starting a business that would allow them to spend most of their time on their beautiful property. 

The only downside? Jeremy, a beer lover who had planted hops plants and dabbled in homebrewing, found himself continually put off by the quality of craft beer in his area. 

Do you see where this is going? In 2012, they broke ground on a modest 2000 square foot 7 barrel brewery that aimed to push the limits on experiential and experimental beer. However, being the growth-oriented top performer that he is, Big Spruce Brewing has since scaled to include an additional 40 barrel facility!

In a conversation with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast, Jeremy divulged the habits and belief systems that led Big Spruce to become the craft beer power player it is today:

Controlled Motivation

Like all top performers, Jeremy’s a go-getter. In fact, he described his tenacity as “terrier-like” in its ability to keep him fighting until he achieves his desired result. 

“We see people get into the business with brewing backgrounds who are incapable of hitting the mark with brand quality in a way that really stirs the emotion of the beer consuming public like we have,” he explained.

The secret to his immense success? That terrier-like tenacity he so expertly defined.

“We’re blown away by how despite lack of experience and skills, we managed to achieve what we’ve achieved, and I think most of it is a controlled motivation to be the best at something,” he said. 

Pride of Product

According to Jeremy, the craft beer industry has many players that focus on the wrong aspects of their venture. He claims that all brewers have a key question they need to address before beginning operations: Are you gonna be all about beer, or all about business?

“If you choose beer, and that’s what we chose, you don’t do so at the cost of business, you don’t ignore business. You make your decisions based on what is best for your beer. You don’t make a lowest common denominator decision on what the cheapest ingredient for your beer is, because that may not be the best ingredient for your beer, it’s just the best decision for your income statement,” he told Chris. 

In fact, this steadfast pride of product dates back to Jeremy’s days with Student Works.

“For me there was always a guilt factor over not doing something to the best it could be done. I couldn’t step away. I look back to stepping away from a house where if I didn’t think that third floor dormer window was absolutely as good as the ones down next to the front door, there’d be a guilt factor and I’d bring a ladder over on a Saturday and go up and fix it. It just had to be perfect,” he explained.

If that early mentality isn’t a strong indicator for future success, we don’t know what is! 

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!