New Scots: Jehad, who battled cancer then set up Grunting Growler craft beer shop

Jehad Hatu owns the Grunting Growler, a speciality beer shop on Old Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, that opened last year.  He sells microbrews in growlers, two-litre bottles that he fills in the shop with whatever he has on draught and that can then be brought back in for refills.

What’s your name?

Jehad Hatu.

Age and family?

I’m 28.

Where are you from originally?

Just outside Chicago.  I came back to Scotland from kindergarten to first grade, and then we moved to Palestine for a year.  After, we went back to Romeoville, a suburb outside Chicago.

When did you come to Scotland?

2011.

Why did you come back to Scotland?

To go to university.  Uni in the States is really expensive.  I couldn’t afford it.  I had dual citizenship but I discovered it’s residency, not citizenship that matters.  I thought I’d work full-time and go to school full-time, but I was still an international student.  So I worked for nine months with a restaurant called the Butcher Shop.  But I got a spanner thrown in the works when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was really lucky I was here.  I couldn’t have afforded treatment in the States.  I went through chemo and everything and realised I was really tired of working for people.  During treatment, I thought that I would set up the growler shop once I finished.

How’s it been in reality?

Awesome.  It opened my eyes to how crazy the US is, how much social injustice there is.  How can you penalise someone for something like cancer that’s out of their control?  I’m all for capitalism – after all, I’ve got my own business – but you have to take care of people too. When I worked in the restaurant for a while, my boss was like: “Buddy, why haven’t you taken any holidays?” I didn’t realise I was entitled to paid vacation.  You don’t get so much of that in the US.

It’s a cool way of life, more laidback than the States.  People in Glasgow are cool, and Glasgow is not too big, not too small.

What is Scots’ best quality?

Their sense of humour.  It took me a while to catch on.  They’re always taking digs in a friendly way.  Very quick and witty.  Sometimes it’s too fast and I can’t keep up with the banter!

And the worst?

Pessimism.  Everyone in the States tries to act courageous, confident.  But Brits see it as cocky and arrogant.  Still, they could do so much more if they were a little less self-deprecating.

What’s the funniest story about your time in Scotland?

I was one of those guys who had to have a cigarette.  I asked for a “10 pack,” like a pack of 10 cigarettes, but the guy in the shop looked at me strangely, and my mates were all laughing.  Turned out, they thought I was asking for Tampax…



And the future – will you stay?

Yeah.  Obviously I’ve moved around a lot, I have a bit of itchy feet, but I’m probably not moving.  I’ve got a business, a long-term girlfriend. I couldn’t go back to the States as I couldn’t get insurance because I’ve now got a pre-existing condition. Why would I leave the UK when they take care of me?

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