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Brewmaster- TJ`s Brew works
Having done Industrial Biotechnology, she opted to exploit the roots of the subject – Brewing. While many were intrigued why Brewing after Biotechnology, she was fortunate to have too many good souls around guiding her to choose the best which eventually led her to work with India’s two giant beer makers, United Breweries and SAB Miller India; set up a brewery in Scotland and to spread a massive awareness via TJs, in the Indian society about the nuances of beer!
Tête-à-Tête with TJ`s Brew Master Ashwini by allaboutdaru’s Nupur
We would like to know your first memory associated with Beer? why did you choose an offbeat, unconventional and cool career such as this?
Since childhood I have been associated with Beer as my mother was working in the Beer industry for 30 years. She was working in Chennai with a brand called Golden Eagle, in the admin & marketing section. So my association with Beer has been there since I was in the womb
She did her first internship with Mohan Meakin Breweries, then she worked in United Breweries, after that she worked in SAB Miller, then went to Scotland for further studies in Micro brewing & then finally started working with TJ`s. This is how her exposure to this industry started.
At one point of time I felt that Brewing was something I was always meant to do, so the transition that started from Engineering (bio technology) to slowly moving ahead & finally becoming Brew master was always a planned path for her.
She studied in Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland & then started a small Brewing business which was a 20 barrel system, after that she set up the brewery & got it fully functional.
How did you get into the Beer industry?
I’ve always loved beer, and have been around beer and brewing since I was 17. I started out as a trainee with Mohan Breweries, in Chennai, and have worked with UB and SAB Miller. I then graduated in industrial biotechnology, and further training in Scotland helped me further understand the technical and managerial aspects of brewing. And, that lead me to TJ’s.
what do you enjoy most about your job?
It’s total fun giving birth, so to speak, to India Pale Ales, porters, stouts and blondes. And, for someone who’s been around in the industry for half a decade, it’s great to see more and more women join it.
Challenges you faced pursuing her passion?
I come from an orthodox community, and getting around them was one of my biggest challenges. But, that didn’t stop me from achieving from what I wanted to do. Brewing is a lot of physical work. One also has to strategise mentally every day; it’s not just about the beer, but about the entire brewing unit, and you have to have a well thought-out plan. Of course, men do the same, too, but the bunch of women who are doing it in India are doing it after overcoming social and religious taboos.
What’s the Story behind TJ`s Brew works & why Pune?
TJ`s Brew house is a brainchild of Mr. TJ Ventakeshwaran. After a lot of research he found that increasing the per capita consumption of beer in the nation, through something that is less developed but is very promising, has a future but was not exploited enough. So he conceptualized this & set up TJ`s Brew Works.
Pune because of the licenses that are available here for craft breweries, and to create awareness of freshly brewed beers among the Puneris!
Your all-time favorite ingredient to work with to make Beer?
I have no ingredient as particularly my favorite but in my point of view beer is always a beautiful mix of Malts, water, hops and yeast that complement each other and there is never a single stand out.
What are each of your favorite beer styles to brew and what’s your favorite beer /beer style that you like drinking?
To Drink: TJ’s Bock brew – Full bodies with hints of toffee and malt.
To Brew: Any Beer but interested in brewing Lambics and Sours.
Your Beer making mentor?
Dr Cariappa from Coorg, he is the person who did his PHD in this field 40 years back from Czech republic – long known for a variety of Beer styles. He has been the man behind Cobra and he is one of the first brewmasters of the nation
Any advice to upcoming Brewmasters?
A Brewer is similar to a gynaecologist as one should be able to treat every batch with utmost care and bring it out at its best quality into the market, being abreast with all the technical developments happening in the industry. Every batch of Beer is like a baby and you should nurture it to make it something that is wonderful & unique