“I resigned from National Education to set up a brewery … in a church”

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Benoît Rousset se sent beaucoup plus épanoui dans le costume d'entrepreneur que dans celui de professeur de collèges.

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Posted on Oct 22, 2021, 4:49 PM

“Teaching in secondary school was not easy. My passion for history and literature led me more towards university research. To present a thesis project, you must first pass the competitive examination. I missed it, but I got the Capes and became a teacher in middle school.

My second year of teaching confirmed to me that I did not have this vocation. Despite everything, I got some positive elements from it, first of all the development of skills: more confidence in the spoken word, particularly in front of a large audience, or even the pleasure of transmission. Also great human encounters, on the side of colleagues and students.

“A flagrant lack of resources”

But I also retain more nuanced elements, in particular a rather pessimistic view of the state of our education system, its structural flaws and its future. I have seen that the National Education is practically incapable of thwarting the trap of social reproduction, and of giving students the freedom to choose a path that would please them and where they could flourish.

In my opinion, the fault does not rest only on the institution, but also on its flagrant lack of financial and human resources, of consideration of the personnel… A pessimistic observation that I formalized with the support of the association Aide aux profs.

A resignation “in conscience”

So, when my friend Pierre-Marie Soulat, a born entrepreneur, suggested that I start a craft brewery together, I had already made a conscious decision to resign. I was removed from the National Education lists on September 1, 2018.

Two months later, I started an Executive MBA in Strategy for a period of one year. I wanted to familiarize myself with the business world: management, the logistics of a structure, management, etc. This training was the first step in my retraining.

Then came the practice. With my partner, we opened our brewery called “Ragnar” in Le Houlme, near Rouen. Getting into full confinement was not the easiest… but we managed to find our customers.

Three partners, one brewery

Since then, the team has grown: we are now three partners, with four employees who work with us. We financed it in part with our own funds and we also took out a traditional loan to the bank.

Benoit Rousset (on the left) is associated with Pierre and Pierre-Marie (on the right).

Benoit Rousset (on the left) is associated with Pierre and Pierre-Marie (on the right).Caroline Bazin

To this project was quickly grafted the idea of ​​rehabilitating the old Saint-Nicaise church in Rouen, to make it a “church-brewery”. It is unheard of in London. Already established in the United States and the Netherlands, this model consists of setting up a place for the production and tasting of beers in a desecrated church.

A desecrated church

This means that neither the State nor the Church consider it as a place of worship – following a process in the prefecture and a specific religious rite. As a believer and practitioner, I am all the more at ease with the idea of ​​a new life for this building which had been completely abandoned, for lack of enough faithful.

Norman entrepreneurs have been named the future occupant of the Saint-Nicaise church in Rouen.

Norman entrepreneurs have been named the future occupant of the Saint-Nicaise church in Rouen.Caroline Bazin

By 2024, we plan to open a third place there highlighting this exceptional heritage as well as local crafts. On an economic level, we want to restore sustainability to the building thanks to the brewing income. The goal is for 10% of the brewery’s profits to go directly to the church restoration project.

8 million to restore the church

So far, the logistics of the site have not started. This ambitious heritage restoration project requires a budget of 8 million Pounds: 5 to restore the building and 3 to install all the equipment necessary to welcome the public. For this, we will seek aid from Europe, the State, the region, as well as sponsorship.

In the meantime, we are already supporting the old Saint-Nicaise church. The presbytery garden, alongside it, is already accessible. This summer, we have set up an ephemeral bar there, a bit like a Biergarten. [littéralement « brasserie en plein air », NDLR] Germans.

This summer the church garden was transformed into an outdoor brasserie.

This summer the church garden was transformed into an outdoor brasserie.Caroline Bazin

It was in a way a foretaste of what we will find in our future church-brewery: Ragnar beers on tap, accompanied by platters of cold meats and cheeses produced in Seine-Maritime.

Today, I understand that my experience in the field and my training in MBA allowed me to understand things a posteriori about my teaching career, especially in management. It is not all good to follow, but I think it is important not to oppose companies head-on against education. “

To note

If you also have a beautiful (or less beautiful) story to tell, do not hesitate to contact us: using our contact page

And to read other inspiring testimonials, it’s HERE.

Conclusion

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