Douglas Music alum Jay Schreiber stands in Steel & Oak brewing room with drum and glass of beer

Keeping it local

By Melissa Nilan, Marketing and Communications

Tomorrow, Oct. 25, the Arts at One concert series at Douglas College will present a performance by alumni, including Music Diploma grad Jay Schreiber playing percussion. Though his various interests initially led him away from home, in the past few years Jay has come back to his roots in New Westminster and found a way to balance his two passions – music and beer – as an incoming Board Member for the Arts Council of New Westminster and Account Manager for Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

“I had a rough start at college and failed a couple classes in my first semester. But my instructors were very encouraging and pushed me to keep going,” says Jay. “The final semester of the diploma program was really intense, but it gave me the momentum I needed for UVic, and the transition was pretty easy.”

Jay completed a bachelor’s degree in music performance and composition. Once he’d acquired his degree, he started thinking about his career options. He was – and still is – interested in teaching, but at the time of graduation wasn’t quite ready to commit to more schooling. Instead, he decided to chase a different interest – beer.

He got a job at Granville Island Brewery, where he developed a passion for craft beer. When Steel & Oak Brewing Co., New Westminster’s local craft brewery, announced their opening, the opportunity to join a brew team in the town where he grew up was one he didn’t want to miss, so he reached out to the fledgling Steel & Oak asking for a job. Jay’s initial position at Steel & Oak involved everything from working the tasting room to packaging and delivery. As word spread about the brewery, and as Jay began to develop relationships with customers in the community, he moved permanently into a sales role as account manager, helping to grow the brewery from 10 accounts to over 400.

“The workforce is changing so much. Millennials are encouraged to be as creative as possible and to take the time to learn creative skills, such as music. My music education gave me those essential creative skills and taught me about society, community, infrastructure and socio-economics,” Jay says. “Going to post-secondary put the blocks in place to allow me to see a bigger picture, and that kind of thinking is what’s helped me be successful.”

Despite his heavy involvement in the craft beer industry, he hasn’t given up on his first craft; instead, he’s found a way to balance both passions. He is involved with the music scene as a juror for artist development grant proposals through FACTOR Canada, as well as a member – now board member – of the Arts Council of New Westminster. His connections to both Steel & Oak and the Arts Council have given him the opportunity to be involved with the local festivals, such as Fridays on Front and Music by the River. He’s played at many of the venues in New Westminster with other local musicians, and guest-lectured at Douglas on music composition.

See Jay perform live on Oct. 25 at 1pm at the Laura C. Muir Theatre at the New Westminster Campus. Arts at One is a series of free concerts featuring professional musicians and outstanding Douglas Music students, and is held most Thursdays at 1pm during the Fall and Winter Semesters.