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Job Photographs

  • A large factory floor, full of large metal containers and pipes.

    The inside of a large brewery.

  • Two men are looking through a lid at the top of a large metal vat of liquid.

    Supervising a brewery worker.

  • A man, wearing a white lab coat, is sitting at a desk.  He is using a computer.

    Records of the production process are kept.

  • A man is pouring a glass of liquid from a black box on a wall.

    The finished product - a pint of beer.

  • A man, wearing a white lab coat, is standing next to a control panel, including a computer screen.

    Controlling technical equipment.

  • A man, wearing a white lab coat, is performing an experiment in a laboratory.

    Applying tests to a sample.

  • A man, wearing a white lab coat, is standing, holding an open folder.  He is looking at a box on the wall, and making notes.

    Monitoring settings to make sure that the readings are as expected.

  • Technical Brewer

Technical Brewer

Introduction

Technical brewers are in charge of all stages of the beer production process. In large breweries, they may specialise in one area of production. However, in smaller breweries, they might be expected to oversee all aspects of production.

Also known as

  • Brewer, Technical

Video: - Claire: Technical Brewer

Work Activities

As a Technical Brewer, you will manage the process of making beer. You are responsible for producing consistently high quality beers and related products. This involves closely monitoring the whole process, testing samples and making adjustments.

You have a specialist knowledge of the chemistry, biochemistry and biology of the raw materials, such as cereal products, hops and yeast.

There are four main stages in the production process:

  • brewing
  • fermenting
  • processing
  • packaging

In large breweries, you are likely to specialise in a single stage of the brewing process, such as quality control.

In a small brewery, you may control all stages, by managing a team of Production Workers and giving instructions on the timing of various activities. You may also take overall responsibility for the maintenance of machinery and plant.

Whatever the size of the brewery, much of the work involves controlling the brewing process. You work closely with a laboratory team who perform other tests on samples of beer to ensure consistency and quality.

Senior Technical Brewers in large breweries lead a team of specialists and need to understand their technical language and problems.

You wear protective clothing when overseeing the production process. You may also have to work in hot or cold, noisy and wet conditions.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Technical Brewer, you will need to be:

  • interested in brewing science and willing to learn about new processes
  • a good communicator
  • well organised with good planning skills
  • methodical and logical in your approach to work
  • good at problem solving
  • an accurate worker, who can make sure that the beer is always of a high quality
  • IT literate

This job might not be suitable for people who have skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £30,500 - £34,000
  • With experience: £37,000 - £45,500
  • Senior Technical Brewers earn £49,500 - £54,000

Hours of work

Technical Brewers usually work 39 hours a week, which may include shift work and work at weekends.

Where could I work?

Most Technical Brewers work for nationally known brewing firms. Others work for small traditional breweries.

Opportunities for Technical Brewers occur in breweries in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Self-employment, running your own business is possible in small local breweries.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Recruitment into Technical Brewing is mainly at graduate level.

The majority of people who start as trainee Technical Brewers have degrees, such as biological science, microbiology, chemistry or chemical engineering.

Some entrants join a company programme of training and job experience specifically designed to lead to technical and management qualifications. Others are recruited into technician or scientific jobs that also offer the opportunity to qualify for transfer to technical management.

If you haven't got a degree, you can do the general certificate in brewing and the general certificate in distilling, both from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD).

These qualifications are equivalent to NVQ level 2, and are for people who already work in a brewery. Once you have done these, it may be possible to move on to the diploma and master Brewer courses.

There are a number of HNCs, HNDs and foundation degrees related to applied science available in the UK.

The courses above can be used to help you progress to a full degree course, or as a possible route into a job.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Training

Once in employment, you are expected to continue studying for brewing examinations set by the IBD. The diploma in brewing covers the underlying scientific and engineering knowledge required to be a brewer.

The Master Brewer course requires experience and a more practical knowledge of raw materials, brewing or distilling, packaging, engineering and quality assurance. You must qualify as a diploma brewer before taking the master brewer qualification.

Postgraduate courses are available from the ICBD at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. The University of Nottingham offers a MSc in brewing science, from distance learning. Also, the University of Sheffield offers a MSc in microbrewing.

Work Experience

Previous experience in quality control, or laboratory-based research and development in the brewing industry, can be useful. Other relevant skills gained as a Food Technologist/Scientist or Biochemist are useful for this career.

Progression

Progression can be to managerial positions within an organisation.

Qualifications

For entry to a degree course in an applied science subject, the usual requirement is:

  • 3 A levels where this should usually include at least one science subject
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including maths and chemistry

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university prospectuses for more details.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Working as a brewing supervisor can lead on to entry into technical brewing in certain circumstances. A background in quality control, or laboratory-based research and development in the brewing industry, can also be relevant. Other relevant skills gained as a food technologist/scientist or biochemist are useful.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.

The University of Nottingham offers an MSc in Brewing Science, and Heriot-Watt University an MSc in Brewing and Distilling, both by distance learning.

Statistics

  • 16% of people in this career work part-time.
  • 16% are self-employed.
  • 17% have flexible hours.
  • 3% work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Professional institutionsProfessional institutions have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.

National Skills Academy for Food & Drink

Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry

Email: info@nsafd.co.uk

Website: www.improveltd.co.uk

Tasty Careers

Food and drink careers

Email: info@tastycareers.org.uk

Website: tastycareers.org.uk

Royal Society of Biology

Address: Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London WC1N 2JU

Tel: 020 7685 2550

Email: info@rsb.org.uk

Website: www.societyofbiology.org

Food and Drink Federation (FDF)

Address: 6 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JJ

Tel: 020 7836 2460

Email: press.office@fdf.org.uk

Website: www.fdf.org.uk

Taste Success

Address: 6 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JJ

Tel: 020 7420 7140

Email: tastesuccess@fdf.org.uk

Website: www.tastesuccess.co.uk

Taste Success Case Studies

Address: 6 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JJ

Tel: 020 7836 2460

Email: tastesuccess@fdf.org.uk

Website: www.fdf.org.uk/corporate_pubs/Taste_Success_future_in_food.pdf

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)

Address: Ground Floor, Brewers' Hall, Aldermanbury Square, London EC2V 7HR

Tel: 020 7627 9191

Email: contact@beerandpub.com

Website: www.beerandpub.com

Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD)

Address: 33 Clarges Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7EE

Tel: 020 7499 8144

Email: enquiries@ibd.org.uk

Website: www.ibd.org.uk

Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA)

Scottish enquiries

Address: 6 St Colme Street, Edinburgh EH3 6AD

Tel: 0131 2254681

Email: ptogneri@beerandpub.com

Website: www.scottishpubs.co.uk

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