Beth Abbot is one of the owners of Grasmere Brewery & Distillery. Together with her husband Paul and his parents, they run a guesthouse (Lake View Country House), pub (The Good Sport) and Grasmere Brewery & Distillery. Paul and Beth met at university and moved from London to Grasmere six years ago. They have two children under ten.  

I always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and run my own business when I grew up. I liked organising parties, particularly the music, food, and drink, and so I thought I might become an events planner.  

My first job was as a planning coordinator for a company in London that worked in events, but not in food, drink or music - I organised interpreters, speakers, transcribers and support services for deaf people. I then started my own business, specialising in providing online communication support for deaf people. I worked from home and had a fantastic time travelling the country helping deaf people access education and employment. When we had our first child, I sold the business and joined a PR company, organising their events, planning the speakers and agenda. It was great fun, but I missed working for myself. 

I’d call moving to Cumbria my big break because it led me to finding everything I yearned for in my career. Paul’s family had dreamed of moving to the Lakes for many years. I visited for the first time with them when I was 20 and loved it but couldn’t see how we would find work here. Only after living and working in London could I see that we could do anything we wanted here, we just needed to set our minds to it.  

We moved to the guest house first and renovated it, and the rest of the business flowed from there. I couldn’t be happier because there is lots of food, drink and music involved! 

The best bit about my career now is that I can be present for our children. I couldn’t see how that would be possible in London, in a corporate job, and that was a big factor in wanting to leave that life. I am (mostly) able to organise work so that I can be at the school gate every day and be around in the school holidays. I am incredibly grateful that is the case, as it’s a huge privilege.  

Balance is important to me. I’ve had times where I have been overwhelmed in my work and I don’t want to go back there. I love that I have balance now, and I work hard to keep that. I try to ensure it’s something our team has too. Hospitality is a hard industry to be in, so being supportive and flexible with everyone who works with us is essential. Do they get time with their children? Does the rota work with their other commitments? Do they get the holiday they want? I’m only succeeding if my team also has balance in their lives and finds fun in their work. 

We are just getting started with our distillery, and I am hopeful that it will grow and reach its potential. Grasmere Gin is absolutely delicious; a genuine craft product, made by hand from scratch here in Grasmere by Paul and the brewery guys. The bottle looks great too and I would love to see it available in more bars and shops around the Lakes.