Internship opens up a World of Beer
Jamal Lemon, left, and Shep Jenkins, along with Allison Grasso and Ben Lolli, are traveling the world drinking beer and posting it on social media on World of Beer’s dime. And they’re being paid to do it. See their adventures on World of Beer’s Twitter, Facebook and Instragram.
When Jamaal Lemon and Shep Jenkins return from a trip, their debriefing always includes an inventory of what they’ve lost. “In San Francisco, I had a South American bracelet I lost and Shep lost one shoe,” Lemon says.
But being a constant loser of cell phone chargers and one out of two shoes can be tolerated when you’re a winner of World of Beer’s hunt for summer interns to travel the world posting on social media about drinking beer. The Washington, D.C., duo and two others beat out 6,997 applicants for the $12,000, four-month job. The interns’ escapades can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Also living the dream are Ben Lolli, who had a head start documenting his beer adventures on social media, and Alison Grasso, an ad agency video editor, whom Lemon describes as super creative. He says Lolli is a “super beer nerd—but in a good way.” Lolli had one of the best lines of the competition, claiming to be powered by “water, malt, yeast, hops and breakfast burr-i-tos.”
Lemon and Jenkins may not be beer aficionados, but they had experience blogging about beer in their YouTube videos, “One Beer,” where they talk about the taste of the beer and the look of the label on one beer from a different country each session, and then pair it with an appropriate album.
Friends since high school, Lemon and Jenkins are an odd couple. Lemon is large, with a distinctive beard and a backward baseball cap, while Jenkins is smaller and looks more like a teacher, which he is. Lemon also used to teach before searching for a way to document the duo’s travels. When I caught up with Lemon, he and Jenkins had just run a beer mile on the hottest day in D.C., and returned from their overseas trip to Prague and Germany, where they learned not only about beer, but pretzels. World of Beer sells 35,000 of them per month.
The internship is a creative way to get in touch with the brand’s core group of users. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the investment,” says CEO Paul Avery. “This is the viral campaign companies dream of.” The market is shifting, he adds: “Baby boomers are aspirational millennials.” And by upgrading the chain’s food, they’ve been able to attract a wider base of customers, including those affluent baby boomers.
Interns are hitting such scenic spots as a beer camp at baseball mecca Cooperstown; a tour of breweries in Ireland, Scotland and the U.K.; and anywhere there’s a festival celebrating beer.
To date, Grasso has tasted more than her fair share of sour beers, the latest trend in beers, while Lolli has attended the Burning Can Festival in North Carolina (a play on the name of alternative event Burning Man) and attempted to put a T-shirt on a goat. (Check them all out at World of Beer’s website.)
While Lolli and Grasso handle it alone, it helps to be a duo, Lemon says mischievously. “We can split up, and when one’s had too much (of a good beer), the other can hold the camera (steady).”