Kate Jones describes her path to becoming the Trade Brewer at SAB’s Chamdor Brewery as an ‘occupational hazard’. Born and bred in Burton-on-Trent, the UK’s capital of brewing, Kate took a temporary job as a microbiologist in the now defunct Bass Brewing Burton when she was fresh out of university. 29 years later and she’s still at it, and still loving every minute.
A self-confessed ‘beer fanatic’, Kate’s other great love is golf, and the intrepid reader might have spotted her on Krugersdorp Golf Course’s fairways, which she regularly frequents. But of course, it is the golden liquid that is really closest to Kate’s heart.
Kate was managing 35 micro-breweries in Kent when she received an offer from SAB a few years ago, which she jokes she ‘didn’t understand’, but found too exciting to turn down.
When she tells people what she does for a living they are usually intrigued. “Many still believe that brewing is done mainly by men, when in fact this hasn’t been the case for numerous years, ” says Kate. The brewing fraternity is now becoming one of the most equal industries out there, with SAB alone employing around 30% female brewers. “In Chamdor, half of all our brewers are female, ” enthuses Kate. “Quite apart from being better beer tasters than men, the women I know are also the best brewers.”
For anyone thinking of brewing as a career, Kate advises that they have to be comfortable being a jack of all trades – as long as they are science-related trades. Biochemistry, microbiology and engineering are all an essential part of the mix, along with good people skills. “We look for scientists that have the human touch”, says Kate. Of course, it’s hard not to discover the human touch over a few pints with entertaining, interesting and passionate scientist.