People of Etowah – Jason Wilson


Name: Jason Wilson

Where were you born and raised?    

“I was born on Cansler Avenue in Gadsden, and  my family moved to Southside in 1989.”

What is your occupation?   

“Founder and CEO of Back Forty Beer Company.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“I am an entrepreneur with a passion for culinary arts. I have been touring breweries around the country since 1999.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“I am married to my smoking hot fox of a wife, Jessica, and we have two spoiled dogs, Harvey and Ringo.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“I get up anywhere between 4:00-5:30 a.m. I work from my home office until around noon, then I head into the brewery. My schedules requires me to travel all over the country, so I am on the road approximately two days a week.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I went to Striplin and then John Jones Elementary Schools, Rainbow Middle School and Southside High School.  I have a degree in Aviation Management and Logistics from the Auburn University Harbert College of Business.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“We live in a 114-year old historic home in Downtown Gadsden. I enjoy working around the house and experimenting with several food-related hobbies like dry aged beef, smoked cheeses and homemade sausages.”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment? 

“Convincing my wife to marry me!”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“My mother has influenced my work ethic the most, and my father has influenced my social views the most. I have dozens of mentors that have influenced my business decisions.”

To what do you credit your success?

“Surrounding myself with really smart people who care about their community and share a strong conviction to help others.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“I just finished my year as Chairman of the Gadsden/Etowah County Chamber of Commerce. I also serve on the Gadsden Commercial Development Authority, The Busincess Council of Alabama Board of Directors and the Alabama Workforce Development Council.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“The people and the natural resources.”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“We need more youth in leadership. When the steel industry left this community and Goodyear scaled back their staff in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the population of Gadsden was basically cut in half. There was an entire generation of young people that went off to college and never came home. I think this created a fundamental gap in the pipeline of leadership, and I think this has impacted our ability to prepare a bold vision of the future. I believe that the steady hand and fiscal conservatism that typically resonates from aging leadership, must be complimented by bold ideas that typically resonate from youthful perspectives…..a critical balance of bold ideas and responsible management of resources.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Determined, creative and compasionate.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“I have visited 46 of the 50 states.”

What is your favorite quote? 

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principals unto death.” – Thomas Paine.

“I understand there’s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy.” – Anthony Bourdain.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis.

What is your hidden talent?

“I’m good at fixing things. Cars, TV’s, computers, appliances, plumbing, electrical, etc. I have a great respect for the technical trades.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you? 

“Zach Galifianakis.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“Learn what an exponential curve looks like and save your money!”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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