Aidan Watson '12 - Bar Owner/General Manager
Leaven Beer and Bread House
Major: Hospitality and Event Management
Leaven is a community sourced craft beer bar and restaurant in my home town of Somersworth, NH, that I opened with two friends after graduating from Lasell in May of 2012. We specialize in fresh, artisanal sourdough bread baked in house as well as locally produced, quality food from area farmers and venders; as well as a wonderful selection of local and regional craft beers. My responsibilities, which are many, consist of the strategic management of the company; which includes marketing and promotion to help growth, as well as the day to day responsibilities of any restaurant General Manager.
What I’m probably most proud of with Leaven is how we managed to get started in the first place. We call ourselves a community sourced bar, which means we raised all of the capital to get started from the local community. We had well over 100 people from the area listen to us and feel that we had an idea that they loved and were willing to support. Without this help we would never have gotten off the ground and it showed me right from the get go that people wanted us to open and wanted what we offered.
My time at Lasell was filled with many experiences that helped shape me into who I am today. From the hands on attitude of the Hospitality program with its focus on field work to my time spent as a Resident Assistant to my participation in extracurricular programs such as the Rugby Club, Lasell helped form me in a myriad of different ways that helped me after graduation.
The best thing about my coursework in Lasell was the fact that many of the skills and methods I learned in the classroom, which focused mostly on events and event planning, transferred remarkably into the restaurant industry. The classes I took gave me the ability to look at the long term goals, and to help plan and execute the business plan we created right from the beginning.
To me my greatest accomplishment at Lasell was to be one of the founding officers for Lasell’s Rugby Club, which was founded my sophomore year. We as a team went through the trials that are inherently involved in learning a completely new sport to most of us, as well as the tragedy of losing our friend and Captain Jimmy Curtis at the beginning of my senior year. Through all of this we persevered and I will always be proud to call myself one of the founding members of that Club.
To all present and future Hospitality majors I would say to be open to any and all opportunities you have to work with your professors and classmates outside of the classroom. This is an industry where experience speaks best and you’ll find that many of the techniques and skills you learn at Lasell can help you out in any part of the hospitality field.