2013 SPECIAL GUESTS
Jim Robertson, Wells and Young’s Brewing Company, England
The son of a Scottish test pilot, Jim is married with two children and lives with his family in Bedford. His career to date spans some 35 years in the brewing industry working for both major and regional brewery companies in the UK as well as specialist technical support and project commissioning world wide.
Educated at Bedford Modern School and Heriot-Watt Brewing School, Jim gained a BSc. Degree in Brewing in 1977, and became a Master Brewer in 1983.
At the start of his career in 1977, he was employed in various management roles within the Courage Brewing group, ending as Process Manager, Berkshire Brewery in 1986. From there, he has spent two and a half years in brewery engineering with Briggs of Burton as Brewmaster working on brewery projects world-wide.
In 1989 he returned to his native Bedford, joining Charles Wells as Second Brewer, rising to become Head Brewer and Technical Director, having been invited to join the board of Charles Wells ltd in July 1999 and Wells and Youngs when it was formed in October 2006. From April 2012 he retired from the board to work part time as International Brewmaster and run his own brewing consultancy company, Brew 77 Ltd.
He is currently the only "Master of Brewery Management" (an award he achieved in 1993), is a senior examiner for professional brewer qualifications with the IBD world wide, a Director of the EBC (European Brewers Congress) and a Liveryman Brewer of the Worshipful Company of Brewers in the city of London.
Through his career Jim has taken a keen interest in brewing science including a term as chairman of the raw materials group at the Brewing Research International (BRi) and trustee of the BBPA/IBD grant fund which supports research and education in beer and brewing.
He also now is able to combine his love of the USA with his job at Wells and Youngs due to sales support in export markets being a key part of his International Brewmaster job role.
Iacopo Lenci, Birrificio Brùton, Italy
Iacopo Lenci was born in 1984 in the country-side of the ancient city of Lucca, in Tuscany, deep into the wine culture.
During the second half of the 90s several different Belgian beers started to be available in Italy, and that's been the beginning of a passion for many, including Iacopo. At the age of sixteen Iacopo started brewing at home, studying on those hard to find English manuals, immediately moving forward to the "all-grain" technique--with the help of his mother's kitchen and a couple of friends he laid the foundations of what Bruton would be.
Iacopo immediately focused on those styles and cultures he knew best (and preferred): English and Belgian style ales. But he had no idea to turn it into a job until 2006, when he left his cinema studies to plunge into the world of micro-brewing, throwing away stoves and pots and replacing them with a proper, very small brewing system!
Bruton Brewery was settled in the beautiful framework of the Lucca hills, in a place naturally voted to the growing of grapes and fruits thanks to the soil, the sun and, more important for the brewery, flowing and rich spring source water, that really helps in giving that elegant, delicate taste Iacopo wants his beers to have...
Iacopo managed the production from the very beginning, when they were just a brewpub, and after not even a year, he started taking care of the company, managing the brewery expansions and the restaurant on the second floor of the building.
Now, Iacopo works in synergy with Andrea Riccio, Brùton's head brewer, who came three years ago leaving his engineering job to follow the brewery in a grand adventure—and bringing with him a more "continental" German touch that extended further on Bruton's influence.
Now Bruton produces six styles all year long, plus a Christmas seasonal beer, all of them are totally unfiltered and bottle conditioned for a total of no more than two-hundred thousands bottles. A proper micro brewery!
Jerry Vietz, Brewmaster, Unibroue, Canada
Jerry has been with Unibroue since 2003. When he started, it was still owned by André Dion, who founded the brewery.
When asked to describe himself, he stated, “I would describe myself as a real fanatic of fermentation. I studied pure sciences for two years—biochemistry, physical and microbiology—and then spent three years studying food processing—biochemistry. That’s when I decided to concentrate on fermentation. Since then, I’ve worked in the wine and cider industry, and of course now I’m in beer. I’ve also brewed and made my own wine at home for 12 years. I stopped recently—with three kids, I’ve run out of space as well as time!”
He is very passionate about fermentation in general. “I’m not afraid to mix all kinds of stuff, to try new things. I’ve had the chance to experiment with a wide range of raw materials. I really believe that anything that contains carbohydrates can turn into something very interesting when it goes through the fermentation process, depending on the way you manage it. Each cereal, fruit, or sugar has a different profile and they need to be processed and managed differently in order to get a liquid with the desired characteristics.”
Click here to see the 2012 special guests.