First female master brewer at NBL
Birgit Kriess (26), the only female brewer at Namibia Breweries, worked in a veterinary clinic in Germany before a passion for brewing overwhelmed her.
In 2008, Kriess became Namibia’s only female brewer when she graduated from Ferdinand Von Steinbeiss with a Diploma as Brewer and Malter. Thereafter, she received training in malt production at Durst Malt in Germany. Kriess then spent six months at Ferdinand Von Steinbeiss from where she graduated after passing the end exams. She returned home in August 2008.
Kriess has thus far enjoyed both the training and her work. “I never thought of this job as male dominated – although it seems to be so. I do my work and enjoy sorting problems and improving procedures. I love my job, and I really enjoy working with my colleagues. Thus far the brew house upgrade is probably the greatest highlight of my career at NBL. It is challenging and I enjoyed it a lot,” she said.
Looking back over the past five years, Kriess says her work environment has changed a lot since 2008.
“We had to upgrade a big part of the production area and there are still more projects coming to be able to accommodate the increased demand for our products. This means that the workload has increased a lot so it has become a bit more stressful at times but it is also fun to solve the odd problem or as we tend to say. There are no problems only challenges,” Kriess said.
Her greatest challenge thus far has been mastering the art of managing men; an art she has proven to have mastered time and again.
Kriess aims to continuously climb the corporate ladder – right to the top. What does she dislike most about the job – the weekend work. “But it is part of the package and you get used to it and adapt your life around it.”
She wishes that more women would take up this job as it is exciting and versatile almost on a daily basis.
“So come on ladies out there – I need some female support here at NBL.”
Kriess however warned that it is not an easy working environment. “One has a lot of responsibilities and pressure to meet targets, physical work is also required and unfortunately not a lot of women enjoy getting their hands dirty. So forget that perfect manicure and I am still waiting for those fashionable safety boots,” she jokingly concludes.