Diageo’s Katherine Smart makes brewing history

Katherine is the first woman to be appointed as Renter Warden of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, leading the way for the next generation of female brewers around the world

Feature

With origins dating back to the end of the twelfth century and having been granted a royal charter in 1438 by Henry VI, the Worshipful Company of Brewers is one of the oldest of the City guilds or livery companies. 

Katherine leads Diageo’s Global Technical function with responsibility for Innovation, Research and Liquid Development, Packaging and Governance

As Renter Warden – one of the Company’s most senior leadership positions, Katherine is responsible, with the Master and other Wardens, for the oversight of the Company’s operations including supporting the charitable works of the Company. The Brewers Company distributes approximately £2 million in grants annually.

“The Company is delighted that Katherine has been elected as Renter Warden. A hugely respected brewer, she brings great experience to the leadership of the Company and will be a wonderful role model to other current and prospective female liverymen as she moves towards becoming Master.”

Michael O’Dwyer

Clerk to the Brewers’ Company

Katherine leads Diageo’s Global Technical function with responsibility for Innovation, Research and Liquid Development, Packaging and Governance. Katherine is particularly passionate about Diageo’s work to build a strong pipeline of female brewing talent. This includes the ‘Diageo Spirit of STEM scholarship’ which every year supports two female candidates to study a BSc in Brewing and Distilling and a MEng/BEng Mechanical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, as well as providing internship and mentorship opportunities within Diageo.

“I’m thrilled to have been elected Renter Warden for the Worshipful Company of Brewers – an organization playing a crucial role connecting brewers across the industry, and supporting valuable research and educational work. Brewing has historically been very male dominated, and when I started my career, I’d often be the only woman in the room at industry events. Today it is wonderful to see so many women entering the industry, building thriving careers and shaping the future of brewing.”

Katherine Smart

Global Technical Director at Diageo

Women in Brewing at Diageo

One woman making strides in the brewing industry is Shalom Kaite based in Diageo’s Port Bell Brewery in Kampala, Uganda. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Shalom completed the Certified Brewmaster Course at the Versuchs-und Lehranstalt für Brauerei (VLB) in Berlin in July, becoming the latest Brewmaster for Diageo’s Uganda Breweries.

“Studying for my Brewmaster qualification abroad during COVID-19 was certainly a unique experience. Staying focused on learning as well as the support of my classmates and tutors kept me grounded and positive. I’m thrilled to return to Uganda Breweries as a fully qualified Brewmaster, ready to apply everything I’ve learnt!”

Shalom Kaite

Brewmaster at Uganda Breweries Limited

Alongside Katherine and Shalom, Diageo has a strong cohort of female brewing experts around the world. This includes Hollie Stephenson, Head Brewer at the Guinness Brewery in Maryland USA and Jasmin Winterer, Brewmaster and Pilot Brewery Manager at St. James`s Gate Brewery in Dublin.