Jessica Bryans: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Jessica Bryans, whose responsible for buying wine, beer and spirits for Vancouver’s JOEY Restaurant Group. This year, her effort has resulted in the JOEY Wine Room at JOEY Bentall One winning the Platinum Award for wine lists at the Vancouver International Wine Festival…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am the buyer of wine, beer and spirits for JOEY Restaurant Group. I taste products (mostly wines), decide if they suit one of our menus, and so begins the process of getting them into the hands our customers!

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
In August, I will have been with JOEY for three years. Passion for wine was always my inspiration for this career path. I wanted to work as a buyer, so when the opportunity came up to do so on a large scale, I was really excited about it. I love the idea of growing the culture of wine and making it approachable for anyone and everyone.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
That’s easy; the people I work with! From the people I see daily at the JOEY Head Office to the restaurants and wine agents, a lot of these people have crossed over from work associates into friends. Tasting good wine isn’t so bad either. I am about to embark on a five-day tasting as one of the judges for Wine Align’s National Wine Awards of Canada – opportunities like that are pretty exciting to me.

The most challenging part of my job is managing some of the distribution aspects. Navigating the different structures and legalities in different provinces and states can be tricky.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself continuing my work in the restaurant/wine industry, with a focus on sourcing great wines and making them accessible to everyone. It is important to me to continue to learn so the Master of Wine designation is a long-term goal.

What does success look like to you?
Doing what you love every day and getting paid for it. When work doesn’t feel like work and you are passionate about what you do, there is nothing better.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
This year, the JOEY Wine Room at JOEY Bentall One won the Platinum Award (only three in the city) for wine lists at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. That was a huge moment for my career, but more importantly it signified progress in the wine industry. Typically these awards go to fine-dining restaurants with extensive wine cellars. To be recognized for a great wine list that offers approachability and value is something that not only validates what I do, it also dispels any preconceived notions about wine needing to be pretentious in order to be taken seriously. It’s OK to drink $10 Shiraz if that is what you like. Our commitment here is to find the best wines in every category and make you feel comfortable about discovering something new.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I think the most important thing you can do early on in your career is be true to yourself and figure out what you want to do based on what you are passionate about. The steps you have to take and the years of hard work that follow do not feel as arduous when you are working towards what you are meant to do.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I have been a supporter of the Minerva Foundation for BC Women for about 10 years. My aunt co-founded the charity so I was recruited to volunteer very early! To me, this charity hits close to home. Women I know have benefited directly through educational grants and workshops, which have been huge in their career development.

What to you is notable?
To me, authentic people are notable. Across all industries, the people who do what they love, authentically, are inspirational and move the world forward.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, lost without it.