I don’t normally talk about my work on this blog, but perhaps that is about to change. In the past few years I’ve had little passion for what I’ve been doing, even though I’ve worked with very good people and been well paid for doing so. So no reason to share. Twenty years ago my career started in the lab, and then progressed to the day-to-day technical support of chemical plants. As one progresses, less time is spent hands on and more time is spent behind a desk / PC.
By the end of 2017 I felt I’d been behind a desk for long enough and it was time for a change. I quit my role as R&D Manager and took a year’s sabbatical to rest (I was more than tired, I was burnt out) spent time praying and meditating on the next chapter and enjoyed time with my son in the final year before him starting school. To cut a long story short I concluded I’d rather be a good and happy husband / father than a well paid and grumpy technical manager. Further I felt called to be hands-on operating manufacturing plant making a product that society values and where quality was more important than cost. No part of the chemical industry within commuting distance of home seemed to tick those boxes. The product which does, I concluded, is decent beer (be that ‘real’ or ‘craft’ ale). Not beer to get drunk on, but to savour and enjoy.
I am and have been most grateful to the folk at the Bowland Brewery who agreed to me having a week’s work-shadowing experience back in Aug-18. It was a great experience with great people. When I wrote to say thank you I pointed out that I would be happy to carry out relief cover should that ever be required. I started in the cask filling area some few weeks later and now some five months further on I am still there, covering for long-term sickness. The team is very generous in having allowed me to learn the operation of the main brew kit by working alongside one of the regular brewers once a fortnight since November. I’m still temporary relief cover, but I’m earning whilst I’m learning and getting into the position to be a viable candidate for a permanent time brewing role.
There is a lot more to brewing than may meet the eye of someone sat at the bar enjoying a pint. Working towards my IBD General Certificate in Brewing has taught me that. I guess this post is my chance to thank all the people who have made this possible, especially Craig, Scott and Graeme at Bowland. My thanks also to Brian Yorston, Head Brewer at Thwaites. The Lancashire brewing community is a really amiable and helpful one (more on that in my next post), a far cry from the corporate ‘dog eat dog’ world which I left.