Name: Danielle Whelan
Favourite Shepherd Neame beer: Whitstable Bay Blonde Lager
Favourite non-Shepherd Neame beer: Blanche de Namur Rosee by Brasserie du Bocq
Career: I’m from West Virginia in America and moved to Ohio when I was 15. After high school I went on to get my BSc in Chemical Engineering from Ohio University and then moved to Edinburgh, Scotland to study my MSc Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University. I then went on to gain experience in both the brewing and distilling industries, working as Assistant Brewer with Glen Affric Brewery in Liverpool then moving back to America where I worked as a Distiller with Watershed Distillery in Columbus, Ohio and Shift Brewer with Columbus Brewing Company in Columbus, Ohio. I moved back to England to join Shepherd Neame in October 2021.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in brewing? I wasn’t sure how I wanted to use my Chemical Engineering degree until I took a fun chemistry class in Brewing Science. I fell in love with how passionate people get about the aromas and flavours of drinks. I immediately knew that I wanted a career where I could manipulate flavour and get people excited about science in a creative way.
What attracted you to Shepherd Neame? The history of the company and rapport it has with its consumers, along with the fantastic beers we make. And I have to be honest – the fact that the brewery is located in one of the most beautiful areas of England was a big attraction!
What qualifications are needed for your role? Along with a degree in science and Institute of Brewing and Distilling qualifications, experience in the industry is essential. It is also useful to have knowledge of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and auditing, and ideally management experience.
What does a typical day involve? My role is multifaceted so no one day is like another. It ranges from paperwork and research at my desk to undertaking tasting panels and sensory demonstrations. I manage the laboratory and aim to ensure our products are of the highest quality throughout the entirety of the brewing process.
What personal characteristics help you in your role? Time management skills are crucial due to the varied nature of the role, along with problem-solving abilities. Being personable and approachable is also important since the role is very hands-on with the production teams and with visitors.
What is most rewarding about the job? Getting the various teams around the business excited about what we do and educating them about how cool brewing is!
What is tough about the job? One of the toughest - but also one of my favourite - parts of this job is being a newcomer in such a well-established company. It’s sometimes challenging to question the status quo and offer a fresh perspective, but I’m excited to see how we can grow together.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far? Honestly, this role with Shepherd Neame. Getting a work visa to come to the UK is no easy feat. I am flattered the team at Shepherd Neame have helped me obtain my dream of living in the UK and working in a career I absolutely love.
What are your hobbies and interests outside work? I love to be outside. Hiking, running, and travelling are at the top of my favourites list. I really enjoy rock climbing and reading all types of fiction and non-fiction books too! Whenever I have time I like giving back through community service and political advocacy.
To find out more about other roles with Shepherd Neame, visit https://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/careers