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Cloudwater: trailblazing British brewer


Caitlín McErlean has been at Cloudwater Brew Co. for about a year as one of the latest additions to the UK-based brewer.

Located in Manchester, the brewer was co-founded by Paul Jones and began brewing in 2015. It has been a trailblazer in many ways, including what it says is an “ethically conscious, human-centred business”.

Caitlín McErlean, brewer, Cloudwater Brew Co, Manchester, United Kingdom

McErlean can attest to this, as she does in her interview with the Beer Idiots, noting that there is an equal gender balance on the brewer’s premises.

This year, McErlean, 26, became the first woman in the UK to successfully complete a Level 4 Brewer Apprenticeship.

She was also awarded the highest grade possible by her end-point assessment (EPA) organisation, one of only 1000 apprentices to undertake this test.

Her journey in beer began while working at a local pub which specialised in craft beers during her studies at university in Durham. 

A few years later she joined Brewhouse and Kitchen, a brewery chain. She completed the company’s internal beer training course after which the company sponsored her forthe L4 Brewer apprenticeship.

After 18 months into the apprenticeship, Cloudwater offered her a position, which McErlean describes as, “my dream job, in my dream location”.

At Cloudwater she helps manage the brewing process from raw ingredients up to fermentation stage. 

In the video interview she says the brewer has managed to keep its head above the water, despite the Covid-19 crisis and the effects of Brexit.

Owner Jones has been blunt in his blog about the fortunes of the brewer: “It has been easily the most challenging period in Cloudwater’s existence. At times, we’ve wondered whether we’d make it through and honestly, we still have those moments now.”

McErlean also talks about diversity and inclusion in the industry.


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