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Published on May 9, 2019 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Back to skill

Two chaps spend much of their free time visiting North East breweries. Dean Marriner and Rich Rogerson bring us up to date with their meanderings

Over the last two years, we’ve been out and about across the North East meeting the people and the stories behind the best beer around. We’ve met brewers and breweries of all shapes and sizes and although each has their own individual approach, one thing that connects them all is their passion for creating great beer.

We’ve never professed to be brewing experts; we just like drinking the product, but when you peel back the layers and meet the people behind your favourite tipple it’s difficult not to be impressed by the degree of skill and dedication brewers have to their craft. 

A fine blend of creativity, science and hard work, brewing is a competitive business and order to be successful breweries must have the ability to consistently brew beer that drinkers want to drink and retailers want to stock. 

So, if you’re thinking about a career in brewing where is the best place to acquire the skills you need? Some brewers are of course self-taught while others choose the formal training route. The North East is home to Brewlab, the UK’s – and the world’s – leading provider of brewing training. We were recently asked to spend a day with them to find out more about their Brewing Skills Development course.

The course is specifically aimed at professional brewers and is designed to help them hone their skills and understanding of daily operations. On one of several courses, over three days students formulate a recipe and are taken through the entire brewing process in detail.

We caught up with Dan Vecsey, senior manager at Brewlab, and asked him why he thinks brewers should invest in professional development.

He says: “For a brewery to be commercially successful, it must achieve consistently great results. That means understanding what is going on at every stage of the process and knowing when and how you to intervene when things go wrong.

“Brewlab has delivered brewing training courses and analysis services since 1986 and in that time we’ve taught more than 2,000 students from over 60 countries, many of whom have gone onto help develop successful breweries across the world. Yet before enrolling on a course, students still ask themselves, ‘Do I really need professional training?’

“It’s a valid question, especially as professional training represents a considerable investment in terms of time and money. And if you’re starting or growing a brewery, the funds could be employed elsewhere – like on a new piece of kit, for example.

“On the face of it, brewing is a simple process. You take some grain, add it to water and boil it. Then add some hops and yeast, let it ferment and then bottle (can, keg or cask) the results. 

“The truth is, brewing is a fine blend of skill and science. At Brewlab we believe professional training is the best way to acquire the skills, avoid the mistakes, and fast-track your career.”

It’s difficult to argue with that. But now we know one thing for sure, we’ll leave brewing beer to the professionals and we’ll stick to drinking it.


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Alastair Gilmour



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