Technical Brewer

Technical brewers are responsible for managing the process of brewing and packaging beer. They are responsible for the quality and consistency of the product. A technical brewer may specialise in just one area of production, which is particularly likely in larger breweries, while they may be responsible for all aspects of the process in small breweries. Technical brewing remains a hands-on occupation, despite increasing reliance on technology.
The role involves: taking responsibility for raw materials, operatives and technicians; maintaining the safe and effective running of the plant and machinery; and ensuring a consistently high quality product is produced.

Typical work activities

  • Checking temperatures and quality of samples and making any necessary production adjustments.
  • Working with the laboratory team who carry out further tests to improve the product.
  • Introducing new or different methods of brewing.
  • Finding new suppliers and reviewing existing ones.
  • Accurately recording raw materials, production stage timings and quality checks.
  • Managing resources and staff to meet objectives.
  • Working on new recipes for seasonal and speciality beers ensuring they appeal to a certain market or will enhance sales at a specific time of the year.
  • Helping to design beer labels or marketing materials.
  • Planning budgets, keeping track of stock and records of raw materials.

Technical Skills

  • General management and business awareness and decision-making skills.
  • Attention to detail and the ability to communicate effectively at all levels.
  • Familiarity with the technical language of the brewing industry.
  • Teamworking and leadership skills.
  • Scientific knowledge.
  • Logical approach.
  • Creativity, particularly if celebration or seasonal beers are produced.
  • Physical fitness.

Career Development

It is possible to progress to the role of departmental manager, head brewer or technical director. With these more advanced roles comes a shift in emphasis, from plant or planning tasks to staff management and strategic issues. Those aiming towards senior posts need to be able to lead a team of specialists and maintain an understanding of new research. As well as technical and scientific knowledge and an ability to manage people, an aptitude for business is essential. For example, an understanding of financial data systems is important for a departmental manager and vital for a head brewer. Sales, marketing and commercial experience prior to joining the profession is therefore an advantage. Larger companies may provide the opportunity to progress into logistics, purchasing, quality assurance or health and safety roles. Some technical brewers may go on to set up their own micro-brewery once they have gained significant experience.

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