Thursday 22 June 2017

READY BUSINESS PODCAST: ‘People were dreaming of IPOs, while I was dreaming of IPAs’

With a background in engineering and maths and as well as a Masters in Theoretical Physics, Grainne Walsh is not your typical craft brewer as she explains on this week’s Ready Business podcast. 

She started in IT and fell along that path leading her to work for Amazon in Dublin but she still wasn’t happy with her career choice.

“After jumping around jobs, I was always finding something that was wrong and although I was having a great time with Amazon, I just could not settle.”

Beer – and especially local flavours and their provenance – was something that had been a great passion for her and in 2005 she started tinkering with her own home brewing, developing her knowledge and expertise all the while.

But at Amazon she was getting itchy feet and as she says, ‘While people were dreaming of IPOs, I was dreaming of IPAs.’

She decided to leave to pursue her real passion and when she told her boss, he thought it was a very cool thing to be doing. ‘Tech and craft beer have a lot of synergy in many ways with the attention to detail and geeky side,’ she says. 

Grainne moved back to her home county of Waterford wanting to strike out on her own, leaving the 9-5 behind for good. ‘Sometimes starting out is the hardest bit,’ she believes.

Metalman Brewery started three months later with an American style pale ale and hasn’t looked back since. Although it’s a crowded market now with more craft breweries in Ireland than ever before, they’ve expanded their sales and marketing and brewing capacity.

“We’re working a lot on exporting our beers to foreign markets,” she explains. “And we’re looking to build a proper Waterford brewery in the city where people can visit, find out our story and taste the beers on-site.”

If she can get a photo op with Jeff Bezos sipping their beers in their brewery then she’ll know her career path from Amazon to Metalman has come full circle.

The Ready Business show, in association with Vodafone, is available every Thursday via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Independent.ie. Or subscribe to the RSS feed of the Ready Business Podcast using your favourite podcatcher.

You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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