‘Never interrupt someone doing what you said could not be done.’
These words on my business card help to remind me of all I have been through to get where I am today and the expectations I have confounded along the way. I am a firm believer that taking oneself out of one’s comfort zone can be a rewarding and thrilling experience and I aim to do one thing that scares me every week.
I was born in Bavaria, but have lived in Scotland for over two decades and consider myself as much Scottish as German by now. You might call me a Gerwegian! I first fell in love with my adopted Scottish homeland on a school exchange to Balfron, near Stirling, when I was just a girl, and returned to Scotland for good in 1994 to study at the University of Glasgow. The idea for WEST, a German-style brewery producing beers in strict accordance with traditional German Purity Law, was in fact born when my father visited me as a student in Glasgow and was unimpressed by what was being brewed locally at the time.
After my first job working as an ambassador for Glasgow at trade fairs and events across Europe with the Glasgow Tourist Board, now the Glasgow City Marketing Board, a partner at Scottish Law firm Maclay, Murray and Spens (now Dentons) approached me and encouraged me to train as a lawyer.
In 2006 I opened WEST Brewery, Bar & Restaurant on Glasgow Green. I didn’t let a lack of beer experience hold me back – though I’d never even drunk a full pint of lager before opening WEST! I’m proud to say during my years at the helm of WEST the company has received numerous awards for both the beer it produces and the service it delivers. We’ve developed from a self-contained German-style beer hall and brewery on Glasgow Green into a successful distribution operation with over 1,000 venues in the UK now stocking WEST beers. You can even drink our flagship St. Mungo lager on draught in Hong Kong!
In 2016 we doubled the capacity of our Glasgow Green hospitality operation by adding WEST Courtyard, a bespoke events space and the same year we completed a £5m brewery expansion and now operate two breweries from our Templeton home.
The same year I set up the “WEST Women investment fund” to give both financial and personal support to other budding female entrepreneurs – more info can be found here.
I’m thrilled to say I received an Honorary Doctorate for contributions to the Scottish economy from the University of Glasgow in 2015, which was undoubtedly a career highlight. However, my greatest pride and joy is still my son Noah, who keeps me going no matter what!