A return to Florida in January 2023
I met Jim Button while working at Critical Mass where he showed up one afternoon with flats of beer from Big Rock Brewery, where he was working as VP of Corporate and Community Affairs. I was quite involved in the Craft Beer scene during that time (2008-2009) and Jim was clearly at the centre of it. Having done a few engagements with agencies, working on the Big Rock Brewery website(s), quite often I’d find myself chatting with Jim at an event (or in the office) over a cold beverage chatting about beer or work (or both).
As the years went on, and friends migrated from agency-to-agency, I found myself hanging around the Evans Hunt Group [EHG] office, visiting with friends and former colleagues and of course, drinking cold beverages. As it turned out, Jim was working at EHG as a Marketing Strategist. More often than not, I’d find myself riding in the (very slow) elevator with none other than Jim Button. This happened more than a few times and usually ended up with Jim and I sharing a cold beverage in some quiet corner of the EHG office.
Jim was always interested to know what I was working on, what the business impact was and of course, what I’d been drinking lately. What was amazing about Jim’s “circle” was that he knew practically everyone in the craft-beer business. What I really loved about Jim was how easy it was to open up and share what was going on in your life with him. Jim was always willing to listen it felt safe to discuss pretty much anything with him. It wasn’t that Jim would have wise words or even an intelligent response, but it felt good to be able to talk about personal stuff with someone like him. He cared.
Jim eventually became a co-founder of Village Brewery and actually got me my first interview as a brewer there. It’s clear how well that interview went… but again, Jim was always willing to do the introduction and give me a chance to prove myself.
There are many communities that mourn the loss of Jim Button and the void he leaves will be felt for years to come. He did leave us with some wise words, and his final post is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read:
Thank-you Jim. The world is a better place because of you.