Even if you barely dip your toe in the shark-infested waters of Beer Twitter, there’s a chance you’ve heard of Pilot Beer. You don’t even have to follow the brewery for it to regularly hit your timeline, as its pithy, satirical, and self-deprecating posts are retweeted and liked hundreds of times.
So you’d be forgiven for thinking that Pilot is much bigger than it is. It’s still a five-man operation and its Twitter account is more an extension of one of the founder’s personalities than any attempt at a social-media strategy. In fact, cofounder Patrick Jones is as surprised and delighted as anyone about the success they have found online by tweeting things like: “We're only stuck with this stupid brewery because of a typo when we tried selling a load of artisan bees.”
The irony is the brewery still sells almost all of its beer in its hometown of Leith, a port suburb of Edinburgh. Despite being part of the inner Twitter bubble, its beer doesn’t reach many markets, and the dry, session styles it brews certainly don’t cater to them either.
We caught up at the London Craft Beer Festival, an event Patrick freely admits he and Pilot wouldn’t have been invited to if it weren’t for their social presence. The party hasn’t started yet and they’re still setting up—so excuse the old bang or rumble—but it was heartening to see how Pilot’s session beers were loved by the public later on, despite their stall being opposite some of the buzzy American brewers. It turns out if you talk honestly and with humor, session beer and open conversation are all you really need.
This is Patrick Jones of Pilot Beer. Listen in.