International Women's Day 2024 - Cloudwater

Feb 19, 2024

At Cloudwater, we have a diverse team consisting of 50% women who are involved in different areas of the business such as production, packaging, warehouse, retail, hospitality, and management. We value and celebrate the achievements of women as it is an essential part of our identity here at Cloudwater. On February 6th, we hosted an extraordinary brew day in honour of IWD 2024 and invited women from various Manchester organisations who have inspired and impacted us and their communities. Participants in the project include Flawd, Manchester Laces, Odd Arts, Eat Well, Isca, and other notable figures like Maxine Peake and Rivca Burns who attended the brew day..It was amazing to have everyone under one roof, and we cherish the result of the day which you might be holding in your hands right now. Enjoy!



What percentage of the Cloudwater team are women?
Robyn: 50%!

How do you feel supported as a woman at Cloudwater, working in a predominantly male industry?
Robyn: Most recently, as a new mum, I have been blown away by the maternity and new parent policies at work. I have been thoroughly supported in my year's leave with a generous, enhanced maternity package and a flexible return to work with understanding for unforeseen circumstances like child illnesses or when childcare plans fall through at the last minute. To support women in beer is also to support families, and Cloudwater has gone above and beyond in this respect. It has made my return to work as a new mum stress-free and enjoyable. I feel huge gratitude to the company as I know new parents will be genuinely taken care of and supported in this massive life change, making it possible to have a full career and also be a parent. Juggling the two is not easy it's the hardest thing I've ever done, but extremely important to me and Cloudwater's support and understanding have made it possible. 

Mel: I've been here for nearly 5 years and I feel I'm a little cocooned from the ‘male domination’ factor of the outside brewing world.  I’ve had the good fortune to have brewed with, worked alongside or drank beer with feminists of all genders who have been entirely supportive of my career & growth within the industry.

I have a two-year-old and have talked about the supportive maternity policy in previous blogs. This has also been extended to a family-friendly operating policy with flexible working patterns. I've been able to return to work at a relaxed pace with zero pressure. I'm back to 4 days a week now & I couldn't have been more appreciative of that flexibility and the option to choose my hours. 

Who are your inspirations within the craft beer industry?
Mel: I'll always owe my career to the full-time legend that is Jess Wolfgang of Rhyme & Reason Brewery Wanaka, NZ.  We’ve not hung out in a few years now but her energy inspires me on the daily. I'll get back over that one day, but until then - stay fierce Wacky Beatle.

What is your favourite thing about working for Cloudwater?
Mel: I love the collaborative aspect. It's literally in the fabric of the company.
Whether it be building beer or soda recipes with collaboration partners, planning epic label art, organising events or discussing/highlighting social issues.
There's loads of autonomy when it comes to project work so you can make your day-to-day more varied and interesting.

What can you tell us about the mentorship programme you are currently involved in Robyn?
Robyn: I was approached to be a mentor this year with the opportunity to be paired with another woman in beer to be a mentor, support, contact, and friend. I have had two sessions with my paired menteed and have loved to help answer career questions and questions that are specific to being a woman that we can't always bring up comfortably in a male-dominated sphere. We have talked about equality and helped each other navigate career progression plans. I have learned just as much as a mentor and have really enjoyed being a sounding board and support to my bright, funny, hardworking mentee. 

What is your favourite thing about working for Cloudwater? 
Robyn: The amount of autonomy I have in my job. I am fully trusted to do my role to the best of my ability and it is so freeing as an employee to not be heavily managed. I also have free reign to propose new ideas, come up with new projects, as well as propose improvements and changes. Our production team works really well together in this regard and we are all genuinely friends as well as colleagues.

What was your journey into a career in craft beer?
Mel: Travelling in NZ, running into some epic NZ brewers (who happened to be womenfolk) and working in a brewtap.

What's your favourite Manchester boozer?
Mel: The one and only Maggers of Stockport - The Magnet Free House.

What change do you want to see within the brewing industry moving forward?
Mel: This is from both a feminist and a very human place. I'd like to see more support for small drinks producers & smaller independent businesses in the UK. I feel like (pre 2020) we were making strides and attracting more women into our industry. New Job roles were being created all the time. Now purely down to external economic factors, so much pressure has been put on the independent drinks sector that we’re simply in fight mode. Survival at best.
Even so, behind the scenes and behind all that pressure there is still so much work & energy going into helping to build a kinder, more welcoming and inclusive beer community.  

I like to imagine a time when energy savings are passed down the chain and eventually on to the craft producer. I think the key to greater equality in the industry is stability. It's being able to open jobs and welcome new people from outside of the industry. It's being able to see growth and having job security.

What's the standout moment working at Cloudwater?

Kamilla: I have worked at other breweries and with craftbeer for over a decade. After one of my first days as a part of the Cloudwater team, I realised I had only bounced ideas and made decisions with other women. That was a very unique experience compared to my previous jobs.

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