Georgina Young joined St Austell Brewery as brewing director for the company and its Bath Ales subsidiary in 2019. Young talks to Rachel Badham about the benefits of small batch brewing and getting more women involved in the beer industry

How did you get into brewing?

I completed an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot-Watt University and had a brief spell at Smiles brewery in Bristol. I went on to run the pilot brewery at Campden BRI for six years, then joined Fuller’s in 1999 as production brewer. I took some time away from the industry to raise my children and complete a PGCE, after which I taught science at a comprehensive school in Richmond, London. 

However, the lure of brewing proved too great, and I returned to Fuller’s in 2013 as brewing & packaging manager. After completing the IBD Master Brewer qualification in 2016, I became head brewer at Fuller’s in 2017. I then moved on to become brewing director at St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales.

What is your personal favourite beer that you have brewed at St Austell?

I’d have to say Anthem, our new golden pale ale. It’s my first permanent beer brand since becoming brewing director, and it’s full of tropical fruit flavours from the new generation of British hops. We’re continuing to invest in innovation, introduce new permanent beers such as Anthem, and experiment with modern flavours to attract new beer lovers to the category.

What do you enjoy about brewing in small batches?

Our small batch brewery enables our brewers to get creative and truly challenge the boundaries of brewing ingredients, beer styles, and abvs. It allows our team the freedom to experiment, while our annual programme of limited- edition beers is a great way to receive regular feedback from our Cask Club members. Many of our permanent beer brands started out as small batch releases, including our flagship pale ale, Tribute, so it’s a fantastic way to potentially discover the next big thing, too.

What do you think needs to be done to create a more equal playing field for women in the beer industry?

It’s so important that we offer high-quality training opportunities and look to nurture talent within our industry, and offer a foot in the door for young women who aspire to have a brewing career. It’s a wonderful industry to enter into and it’s great to be able to offer other women the same experiences that I’ve had.

Every year, we offer two people a paid brewing apprenticeship, to learn about the craft of beer production. As well as gaining hands-on experience in the brewery, our apprentices develop their technical knowledge by undertaking academically based training sessions at the International Centre for Brewing Science (ICBS), at Nottingham University. The course launched in 2019, and we were very proud to be one of the first breweries in the country to take on brewing apprentices.

What beer styles do you think will be popular coming into 2023? 

Keep an eye out for continued innovation, as brewers experiment with new and exciting styles, just like Anthem. In line with current market trends, we are also continuing to invest in craft beers such as Korev, our flagship lager brand. Last year we invested in our biggest ever Korev rebrand and marketing campaign.