THIS systems engineer has made his final approach towards swapping planes for pints.
Ben Croston has ended his 14 year career with BAE Systems in Preston to become full time head brewer at Fuzzy Ducks brewery.
And the 32-year-old says the recent success of the Wyre-based brewery is what convinced him to fly the nest.
He told The Gazette: “Brewing has always been a hobby of mine, something I enjoy doing when I’m not working.
“Fuzzy Ducks started as a half barrel plant at my home in Preesall five years ago but it soon proved popular and demand outstripped supply.
“I moved to a larger premises in Poulton but was happy to stay at BAE Systems as I enjoyed the work and it was a regular income.
“However with the success of the brewery and the help of David Shaw who has taken over marketing, things have just taken off.
“I feel the time is right for me to make a lifestyle change and really see what I can do with this, I enjoy it so much.”
Ben’s life-changing decision coincides with the opening of Fuzzy Duck’s first pub, the Strawberry Gardens in Fleetwood.
The Poulton Road venue was empty and under threat of closure until the Fuzzy Duck team took it on and moved in this month.
It was officially opened by MP Eric Ollerenshaw on Thursday and Ben hopes its beer brewing operation will be on site in August.
The former St Aiden’s pupil said: “Because our beers are proving popular we have been struggling to keep up and have been looking to expand and diversify for a while.
“This pub gives us more space and we are really excited about the future, we would like to make the pub a real ale mecca.“
Strawberry Gardens will be run by associate company Fuzzy Duck Inns and will employ one full time member of staff with part-time jobs to follow.
Marketing manager Dave Shaw said: “We will be able to compete with Wetherspoons on price and we will be bringing in beers from all over the country.
“The lager will be from independent breweries, not from the large multi-nationals.
“As members of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), we want to support the independent breweries rather than the large international brewers of mass produced products.”