“As I grew in knowledge and confidence, I was invited to run a site in Chester which meant taking full responsibility for running my own brewery towards the end of my apprenticeship.”
Why an apprenticeship?
My love of beer started in my early 20s when I was bar manager at a pub in Bristol. Part of my role was introducing guest beers and I got a taste for it! After university, I moved in with some friends in Southampton and got a job in Brewhouse and Kitchen. As part of the training there, everyone takes part in a brewery experience day where you get to know how beer is made. I fell in love with brewing there and then. That night I bought a home brew kit from Wilko and made my very first beer! I’ve been an avid homebrewer ever since and after 18 months working at Brewhouse and Kitchen, the general manager asked if I’d like to apply for a Level 4 Brewer Apprenticeship. I jumped at the chance of getting a nationally recognised qualification and furthering my career in an industry I love.
Joe Cullin: "I would like to further my studies and possibly do my Masters in Brewing to further refine my craft and help train a new generation of brewers."
Benefitting my business
The apprenticeship with HIT Training not only furthered my learning in brewing but also helped me grow as a person. For some years, I have struggled with mental health issues and depression, and I felt extremely lucky to have such a fantastic support group within Brewhouse and Kitchen and HIT Training to help me better myself and achieve a distinction.
When I started the apprenticeship, I was an Apprentice Brewer in Southsea, being mentored by one of the longest-serving brewers in the company. As I grew in knowledge and confidence, I was invited to head up a site in Chester towards the end of my apprenticeship which meant taking full responsibility for running my own brewery allowing me to use my teachings in a real-world environment. The relocation was a huge challenge for me but with the support of my colleagues and HIT Training, I did it!
I’m now Head Brewer and it’s been amazing to put my apprenticeship to use. Importantly, I’ve learned how to adapt to situations in the brewery using knowledge of what procedures are implemented in other, larger breweries to solve and troubleshoot issues. My confidence has increased so much that I now put our beers forward for awards, recently winning Bronze at the SIBA North West Beer Awards. Enjoying the freedom and creativity of brewing craft beers is a dream for me and I would like to further my studies and possibly do my Masters in Brewing to further refine my craft and help train a new generation of brewers.
The HIT Training difference
Thanks to the training provided by my mentor, the lecturers at Nottingham University, my higher ups, and the people at HIT Training, I am now ready to start mentoring my own apprentice using the skills and knowledge I have gained over the past two years. With the guidance of Natalija from Brewhouse and Kitchen, Mark Tetlow, Steve Wood, Oli Kutylowski and HIT Training Consultant Carrie Woodhead, I’m no longer scared of not making progress and have come to realise that any progress is progress and a step in the right direction. They helped motivate me when I felt helpless and played a huge part in my distinction award – it really is something I never believed possible at the beginning of the apprenticeship!
In summary, my learning journey with HIT Training has built my confidence, knowledge, and appreciation of my craft in a stress-free, supportive environment. All whilst putting me in touch with some of the industry’s leading authorities in their field, giving me the perfect head start to a, hopefully, successful career in brewing.