Home    Diageo    Insight

Diageo’s Katherine makes history and leads way for female brewers

Diageo’s Katherine makes history and leads way for female brewers

 August 27, 2020

 Read time

Diageo’s Katherine Smart is the first woman appointed as Renter Warden of the UK's Worshipful Company of Brewers.

She leads the way for the next generation of female brewers around the world.

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 in London is one of the oldest of the City guilds or livery companies. 

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.

Building a strong pipeline of female brewing talent

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,” said Katherine.

Women in brewing at Diageo

One woman making strides in the brewing industry is Shalom Kaite, Brewmaster at Uganda Breweries Limited 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!” said Shalom.

Diageo's strong cohort of female brewing experts

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.

Learn more about the women at Diageo

Great expertise, exciting careers, impressive work - might your next career chapter be with Diageo?

With a presence in over 180 countries, research Diageo's latest job vacancies - and join the women at Diageo taking on memorable challenges and working with iconic brands.


Find out more

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, X, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.


Join our women's careers community