Every Village Has An Irishman - And Village Brewery Is No Different!
My name is Barry Devlin. I came to Calgary in August 2015 from my hometown of Galway on the west coast of Ireland, with my fiancée Nikita, on a two-year working holiday visa. As unlikely as it might seem, I had never been in a brewery before starting work with Village, so it was a steep learning curve from day one.
My role at Village is that of a cellarman. Cellaring is possibly one of the most hands-on production positions at a brewery. Cellarmen are regarded as the caretakers of the beer. After the brewing process moves from the brewhouse to the fermentation stage, cellarmen look after the filtering, conditioning and packaging of the finished product. A selection of my daily duties includes carbonation readings, kegging, cleaning and sanitization of tanks, and transfers of beer from fermentation vessels to brite beer tanks for final conditioning.
We have a really great group of people involved in the production process including our Quality Assurance manager, Brewery Manager, and team of brewers, who are a wealth of knowledge. I discovered quite quickly at Village that every day is a school day.
While the production process is my main responsibility, I have learned so much more about the wider picture of the industry and the important role a brewery, in particular how Village, plays into the local community and economy.
My ultimate goal is to obtain employment in the brewing industry in Ireland on our return. Ireland is currently in the midst of a really exciting time for craft beer, with a range of established and newer breweries producing quality beer. There is legislation currently before our national parliament to permit the sale of small quantities of beer to brewery visitors. Astoundingly, the current legislation dates back to the 1800s and refers to saleable quantities to the general public from breweries in quarts. As it stands, only the big players like Guinness in Dublin have public taprooms due to licensing costs. A reduction is restrictions and costs will give the entire industry and employment in local communities a huge boost, something I am looking forward to being involved in.
Best part of my job:
It might be a (poorly kept) secret, but the brewing industry is a great industry to work in, so I would have to say I enjoy it all.
Worst part of my job:
Cellaring involves late nights, early mornings, lots of getting wet and lots getting dirty but it’s all worth it in the end (having a fresh pint at the end of a long day).
Favourite Village beer:
Since the beginning, it’s been Blacksmith for me, but our new pale ale The Village Neighbour is a close second.
The ever increasing collaborative culture in the industry was a pleasant surprise to me and who knows, maybe we might see an international Village Friend brewed sometime in the future...