Role at Thornbridge:
Brewery Operative, which encompasses a lot of tasks! Recently, I have been training to set up, run, and clean our canning and bottling machines. As the last process before shipping, it’s really important to get this right.
How did you come to work for Thornbridge?
A module at University, Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing, delivered by a Professor obsessed with yeast and brewing processes sparked my interest in a career in Brewing. I started working in pubs and learnt a lot about cask ale from Brampton Brewery; they gave me a lot of advice about qualifications from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. From this I applied for entry level jobs in breweries, and was offered the Brewery Operative job here – when I first started I was the only woman working in the Production building, very intimidating!
Best bits about working at Thornbridge?
I love that I’m constantly learning; since starting in September 2019 I’ve trained on so many things from cask washing and wrapping pallets up to using CIP and harmful chemicals to clean the big machinery! I also had the opportunity to gain my General Certificate in Brewing while working here, which has given me a lot of background knowledge. The variety of the job is really the best part.
Favourite Thornbridge beer and why?
Crackendale on cask is unbeatable, so easy drinking and reminds me of many late nights in The Beer Parlour. I’ve loved some of the new can releases though – Otto is definitely up there; I love a wheat beer and the dark maltiness is just perfect for cosy nights in.
Favourite thing to do outside of work?
During normal times, I played roller derby so training with my teammates was one of my favourite things. At the moment I’m playing a lot of Luigi’s Mansion and recently started online Yoga for Brewers classes.
The theme for IWCBD is compassion, why do you think compassion is important today?
Having compassion, for me, is taking action; actively doing something to create change. The past year has dramatically affected people’s lives, having patience and supporting others is the best way to build back community and heal.
What does IWCBD mean to you?
Last year I was introduced to IWCBD by our then-brewer Alice B, sadly the timing of the brew day meant that the lovely cask ESB we brewed didn’t get the full launch it deserved and most went down the drain L Similarly last year, I was welcomed into the event at Ashover Brewery and being around women who are brewers or work in breweries gave me a lot of reassurance and a boost to keep making space for myself in this industry. Unfortunately this year, a lot of breweries that usually run events are unable to, so it means a lot to still be able to celebrate and recognise all the female brewers despite not physically meeting and brewing together. It feels extra important to talk about being a women in brewing this year; we are still a minority and having more visible women in breweries will serve to open up the industry, encourage a more diverse workforce, and ultimately bring beer to more people!
The route to the Brew Day this year hasn’t been plain sailing, with pubs closed we aren’t brewing for cask ale, it took a lot of lobbying to brew using the mothballed Hall kit, Brexit impacting our delivery of mini casks. But at the heart of it is a beer that Alice M and I believe will bring a little bit of light for anyone who needs it!
In the spirit of International Women’s day who is your Female hero?
I have to mention Alice Batham here, incredibly talented brewer, hard working, and an all round lovely person! She became a Shift Brewer at Thornbridge about a month after I started as a Brewery Op; working in the same building as Alice, while a different department, gave me so much more confidence and drive. If I ever needed a quiet word of encouragement or advice, I could always chat to Alice – one particular story about a mild caustic rash comes to mind!
On a less personal note, a clear choice for me is Jaega Wise, head brewer at Wild Card Brewery. Her background in Chemical Engineering and focus on fundamentals really resonates with how I work. I think she’s progressed the industry substantially through her work with SIBA, removing sexist beer advertising, and completely destroying the stereotype of what a Brewer looks like!