Brewer Breda Tanner is based at our legendary St James’s Gate Brewery, and has worked for Guinness for 17 years. "I remember when I started work here, the conference table in our office used to be the Head Brewers’ table from centuries past," she says. "The sense of history is so palpable in this brewery." Like many of our brewers, Breda gets to travel the globe sampling Guinness®, and relishes the challenges of producing beer for one of oldest and most illustrious beer brands in the world. "I’m surrounded by highly motivated, passionate people," she adds. "It’s an honour to have been accepted into the ranks of some of the best brewers, innovators and craftsmen ever."
I gave up my Cork roots for Guinness. I got a student placement as part of my final year in college and the rest is history. I was hooked on brewing and moved to ‘the other capital' as we say in Cork. I now live in Dublin with my husband Tom and a German Shepherd called Cinders.
I came to brewing through a degree in Food Science and never looked back. My first boss was a brewer and he was passionate about all things Guinness. He inspired me with his love of both the brand and the brewing process. After that student placement, I wanted nothing more than to brew at the home of Guinness.
“I remember when I started work here, the conference table in our office used to be the Head Brewers' table from centuries past”
I was the only woman on the shop floor when I started at St James's Gate back in 1998. And as far as I know, I was the first woman to complete a Master Brewer qualification while working in Ireland. It's now become a lot more accessible as a profession.
I started out working in the Pilot Plant, the equivalent to today's Brewers Project. It was hard work: very hands on and labour intensive. We did 16-hour days and got to oversee whole brews from start to finish. We were allowed to experiment with the ingredients and had loads of fun trying things out.
“And as far as I know, I was the first woman in to complete a Master Brewer qualification while working in Ireland.”
We put our heart and soul into every single project we worked on at the Pilot Plant, but not everything took off commercially. There's a lot more to it when creating a new beer. I remember feeling so strongly about what should and shouldn't go into a product. It has to be just right to be Guinness.
My favourite Guinness advertisement is the one where the islanders row the keg of Guinness across to the island pub. To me, it's really symbolic of how far we'll go to give our customers their favourite beer.
My drink of choice is our Foreign Extra Stout. When I started working here I'd never tasted a stout or a porter, now I just love the flavour. I'm also a fan of Hop House 13.
“I just love the idea that this guy rocked up with £100, signed a 9000-year lease and set up a brewery”
To be honest, I still feel ecstatic and incredulous that I get to be a part of the Guinness brewing legacy, to be accepted into the ranks of some of the best brewers, innovators and craftsmen ever. You can really sense the history here. The chequebook is still in the name of Arthur Guinness and Sons, Dublin. I just love the idea that this guy rocked up with £100, signed a 9000-year lease and set up a brewery.