Miles Hay Butcombe

Name: Miles Hay

Age: 29

Job title: Packaging brewer

Company & location: Butcombe Brewing Co, Bristol

Education: MSc Brewing & Distilling – Heriot-Watt University

Why did you decide to go for a career in food and drink? At school I knew I wanted to go into a career of ‘hands-on science’. Healthcare was a bit too clinical for me so I started working in the Mars Chocolate factory. The scale was awe-inspiring. And once I’d been bitten by the home-brewing bug, I knew I had to work in brewing at a production level. I started helping a local brewery under an ex-Courage head brewer who pointed me towards the MSc. I finished that in 2018 and I’ve been at Butcombe Brewing Co ever since.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): Beer is brewed at our Wrington-based brewery and tankered down to our packaging/distribution site where it’s packaged into kegs and bottles. My role is to make sure it is conditioned, filtered, carbonated and packaged as good as it came in so it can be enjoyed in homes and pubs across the nation.

What does a typical day look like for you? A day in the life of Miles depends on what needs to be packaged that day. I could be on a machine running the line, managing process of bulk beer or on quieter days sorting out planning/manning and updating records. But really, the list is endless – I’ve even started popping up to the brewery to lend a hand.

“Learning and thinking up new ways to produce great beer is the reason I chose this as my career path”

Tell us how you went about applying for your job. My job interview was a bit unusual. My two-day interview included a two-hour chat, then the remaining time was on the production line helping commission the brand new bottle line – some training videos still have me in my interview suit!

What’s the best part about working for a food and drink company? Working in production is always a ‘wow’ moment for visitors from other areas of the business, so it’s a privilege to do this as my day job. Learning and thinking up new ways to produce great beer is the reason I chose this as my career path – can’t do that without a brewery.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food and drink? That people who work in breweries drink on the job. Not true. We may sample small amounts to ensure quality, but no work would get done and you’d swiftly be shown the door.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? For production, never stop asking questions. Apprenticeships are out there for brewing and engineering so get involved – I wish I’d know about them before I threw myself into university debt.

What’s your ultimate career dream? It’s got to be managing a brewery, right?

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