Drinks Cluster provide training to Welsh brewers

A SELECTION of Wales’ finest independent brewers have taken the next step to perfecting their craft, by becoming the first in the nation to enrol in a professional brewing curriculum organised by the Welsh Drinks Cluster in partnership with Food Skills Cymru. 

Ten of the leading brewers from across South and West Wales have taken the step up to create the perfect pint, as they undertake a rigorous training programme that will enable them to help ensure that Wales will continue to produce some of the UK’s finest beer and ale.

Though the experts from Greys Trees Brewery, Felinfoel Brewery, Boss Brewery, Bragdy Twt Lol (the Treforest Brewery), Tomos a Lilford Brewery, Llanllyr Source and Bluestone Brewing, have already won numerous awards between them, the opportunity to gain the latest techniques and scientific knowledge is what separates the ambitious homebrewers from the world’s brewmasters.

Arranged by the Welsh Drinks Cluster’s Beer and Cider Group and Food Skills Cymru, the four-day training course, which is split into two two-day courses, is designed and delivered by experts from Brewlab, one of the UK’s foremost training academies. Thanks to the course, which was hosted at Rhymney Brewery in Blaenavon, the Welsh brewers will be able to gain the highest levels of fermentation techniques and microbiological understanding employed by the world’s most established producers.

One of the first brewers to take part in the Drinks Cluster’s flagship training scheme was Ray Davies, the founder and head brewer at Grey Trees Brewery in Aberdare. Commenting on the training Ray, said: “Taking part in the training was really beneficial for us and we’re very grateful to be one of the first to have the chance. We walked away from the first session with new ideas, excited to see how the science of better brewing could be applied to our beer.

“The ability to learn about new processes and incorporate the results of Brewlab’s research into our brewing has shown immediate results. It’s also rewarding to confirm that our existing techniques, processes and equipment are already meeting the high standards we should be aiming for. I can only speak for ourselves, but I think all brewers looking to ensure consistent quality would benefit from taking part in this training.”

The brewers are set to return to complete their training in the New Year, but they are just the first that will have the chance to gain the knowledge and understanding that it still largely the preserve of major largescale breweries. Later this year, the Welsh Drinks Cluster and Food Skills Cymru will facilitate further training sessions across West and North Wales.

One of the organisers behind the introduction of the industry-leading training here in Wales is Mark Grant, who leads the Beer and Cider Group as part of the Welsh Drinks Cluster. Explaining the reasoning behind bringing the programme Mark, said:

“Wales has a long history of producing high-quality beers and ales through a wide range of world-class brewers. The inaugural training session will help to develop the breweries in Wales and will ensure that as a nation we deliver consistently high-quality beer and ale which will enhance our reputation on the global stage. The training will enable the Welsh breweries to further demonstrate their passion for quality beer and ensure that the Welsh beer and ale industry can grow sustainability.