Chemist turned brewmaster takes over at Great Western Brewing

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Chemist turned brewmaster takes over at Great Western Brewing

A former chemistry student who went on to work for Labatt and Boston Beer Company will now be at the helm of Great Western Brewing's booze creations.

Amanda Butt is taking over for longtime brewmaster Viv Jones, who is retiring.

"Viv has got 50-plus years of brewing experience. How do you not want to learn from someone who helped develop modern brewing techniques?" said Butt in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

Butt's road to Great Western began when the Newfoundland native was studying chemistry in university.

A professor asked the class, "'How come none of you are making beer?' and a light bulb went off," said Butt. "It never occurred to me that you can make beer for a living."

Butt searched out a brewery and started volunteering in the morning before her classes to learn more about the craft. 

"What I learned is that there is a lot of sanitation, so if you don't like cleaning, you can't really be a good brewer. But I loved it," said Butt.

She eventually headed to Scotland, where she earned a master's degree in brewing and distilling.

Butt went on to work for Labatt and most recently Boston Beer Company, which is most known for Samuel Adams beer.

In addition to the quality of the beer and the opportunity to work with Jones, Butt said the history of Great Western played a big part in her decision to make the move to Saskatoon.

"The story of the brewery is what's captivating," said Butt.

"The 16 employees saw that the brewery was slated to close and pulled their money together and took the most giant gamble."