International Women’s Day 2021

At Harviestoun Brewery we are lucky to have great women who manage and shape our award winning brewery. To celebrate, as we do all year round, we’ve asked our Head Brewer Amy and Brewer Lisa a few questions to give some insight into their careers and what inspires them. As well, of course, a nod to what they are enjoying drinking at the moment.

Interview with Amy Cockburn, Head Brewer.

How did you get into brewing? Brewing was always around me in my family growing up. My grandad worked for the glass company Owen Illinois and he always made homemade wine. My dad and my uncle have been home brewing since before I was born so it was always there in the background for me. When I was going to university, I wanted to do something a bit different. I knew I wanted to do science, but I didn’t want to do a course that just me in a lab all the time. When I saw the Brewing and Distilling course, I joked to a friend I was going to do it and he told me I wouldn’t be able to do that! So to prove him wrong, I did! I fell in love with the course straight away and knew pretty early on that brewing was going to be in the industry I wanted to be in. I loved the biochemistry aspect and how many different, interesting things are happening the whole way through the process. 

What is your favourite beer style and why? I’m a sucker for a golden/blonde ale.  Drinkable, moreish, refreshing (much like our Bitter & Twisted) – they go with most foods and are easy drinking.  On the flip side of that, my other favourite is Belgian style.  They are so complex and interesting and make for really good conversation beers when with groups of friends. 

What are you most proud of in your career to date? I have been 12 years at Harviestoun Brewery, and I have so much pride every time one of our beers wins an award.  That is something I am really proud of – that we consistently create award winning, shout about it beers! 

If you were to choose a role model that has inspired you in your life/career to date, who would it be?  In terms of the brewing industry I think there is inspiration in every brewer/brewery out there.  Everyone has a slightly different take on styles and processes that there is just so much to learn from any one person.  Personally, I love CrossFit and some of the top athletes in the sport are extremely inspirational.  People like Tia Toomey and Annie Thorisdottir are so inspirational – not just for what they can achieve with in the sport but for their focus, determination, mind set and openness to learning and developing.

Interview with Lisa Matthews, Brewer.

How did you get into brewing? I grew up on the Isle of Islay, so distilling and brewing have always been part of my life. The moment I realised that Heriot-Watt offered a degree course in Brewing & Distilling, I applied through UCAS, and the rest is history!

What is your favourite beer style and why? My go-to style if I’m socialising would be a juicy, citrusy IPA, like our very own Heaven Cent. It’s a great session beer, especially in mini-keg because it’s brilliant for sharing with friends (post-covid 19 of course). If I’m wanting to indulge I go for a Lambic style, as I enjoy the complexity of these types of beers.

What are you most proud of in your career to date? Being a brewer at Harviestoun has been a great way to kick-start my career in the industry. I have been lucky enough to travel and share my passion for craft beer in other countries, and also successfully launch a beer last year called, ‘Heaven Cent.’ The positive feedback so far has definitely been a highlight!

If you were to choose a role model that has inspired you in your life/career to date, who would it be? There are hundreds of inspiring women in brewing & distilling who have paved the way for newer generations to thrive within the industry. There are also women my age who are doing amazing things every day. I admire all of them, and look forward to the next generation of women joining the industry and smashing it!

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