I know the secret recipe in Guinness

8 Mar 2022

From the female entrepreneurs of the eighteenth century to the appointment of our first female Johnnie Walker Master Blender this year, women continue to play a critical role in shaping the success of Diageo. This International Women’s Day, Kate shares why she’s proud to be contributing to a culture of breaking the bias and how Diageo has supported her on her journey.

Chemistry and beer might not seem the most likely of combinations, but for Kate, science was the start to a career she’d always dreamed of. She studied Chemistry and Biomedical Diagnostics before falling in love with brewing. Today Kate is Guinness’ Flavour Essence Manager and the scientist who leads the team that preserves and protects our legendary Guinness secret recipe and supplies it to 50 markets worldwide.

Kate Curran

Kate and her team oversee the raw materials used to make Guinness through the production process, quality testing, and then into packaging before it leaves St James’ Gate. After 12 years working her way up through various roles, she manages a team of male and female brewers and everyday use her knowledge of science, engineering, brewing, quality control, and problem-solving that she’s learned throughout her career.

“I’m physically quite small which can sometimes lead to not being seen as strong as others. My attitude is if you want to do something, do it. Diageo is a safe space to grow, I’ve always been encouraged to embrace my strengths, have my own voice and succeed.”

Kate Curran

Guinness Flavour Essence Manager

As the first woman from a family of five successive generations to work for Guinness, Kate has heard tales, and seen photographs from St James’ Gate as far back as the 1850’s. Before Kate her father, grandfather, great grandfather and great, great grandfather all held roles in the Guinness team.

The Guinness team - Kate’s father and grandfather

Kate’s father, who worked for Guinness for 42 years, started as a mechanical fitter apprentice in 1969 before working his way up to be responsible for managing the maintenance of the equipment in the keg plant as the keg plant manager. He worked closely with Kate’s grandfather who started in 1938 as a mechanical fitter.

Kate’s great grandfather started in 1894 in the Guinness lab, and her great, great grandfather worked for Guinness as a mechanical fitter in 1857, all passing down centuries worth of Guinness knowledge to Kate and her family.  

Kate and her father

“St James’s Gate is steeped in history and it’s special to know that generations of my family have brewed here before me. But if you thought the brewery was a place just for men, think again. My advice is don’t let anything put you off your dream career.”

Kate Curran

Guinness Flavour Essence Manager