Panel & Interactive Discussion

Open Discussion About Gender Equality in Brewing & Distilling

The IBD is pleased to announce Supporting Women for Success, an open conversation about the role of female professionals and gender equality in the sector with a panel of five talented women working in the industry on Thursday, 24th June.

Despite the fact that there are more female brewers and distillers than ever before, there are still far fewer women in technical roles.

This panel, organised by the IBD Scottish Section, will involve an interactive conversation with the attendees to discuss their experiences in the industry and how to support women to thrive in your business.

The session is open to all professionals, female and male brewers and distillers who would like to share their views on this pertinent topic.


Tracy Adie - Content Program Manager - IBD

Tracy attained her Master Brewer certification in 2009 and won the IBD Younger Member of the Year award in the same year. She is currently the Content Program Manager for the IBD.

Tracy has over 20 years of experience in the brewing industry She is responsible for the learning material upgrades that the L&D team has been busy developing for the last three years. Tracy has always had strong ties to the IBD. She was a younger member representative on both the Midlands and Great Norther Section Committees and was also an examiner for three years. In 2018, she also became certified as a Beer Sommelier.

Tracy has worked in many brewery production and technical roles. She started as a Brewing Team Leader with S&N, before moving on to Frederic Robinson Ltd as a Packaging Brewer. She then went onto Molson Coors to hold roles such as Technical Brewer and European Innovation Manager, where she was successfully launched many new products into European markets.

Frances Jack - Senior Scientist - The Scotch Whisky Research Institute

Frances Jack has spent over 20 years studying the science of whisky flavour, and currently leads the flavour group at The Scotch Whisky Research Institute.

With a PhD in sensory science, she has carried out extensive work on how we perceive aromas and tastes, and the differences that exist from person to person. She works closely with the whisky industry providing support and advice in flavour assessment and measurement.

She recently led a project to update the SWRI’s Scotch Whisky Flavour Wheel, the language used across the industry to describe, monitor, and control flavour quality. Frances is a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, was Programme Chair for the 2018 Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference and has authored scientific papers and book chapters on whisky flavour and sensory science.

Jane Millar - Technical Development and R&D Manager - William Grant & Sons Distillers

Jane heads up the global R&D, liquid quality and technical development teams across WG&S distilling sites acting as a custodian to liquid quality.

Jane graduated from University of Strathclyde with a MSc in Chemistry. In her role at WG&S she leads the operation of the laboratories across the company portfolio of products. She also drives the innovation agenda for distilleries and is responsible for project work ranging from raw materials and processing, maturation, distillery design, renewable energy projects and novel processes from bench scale to plant scale.

She thrives on evaluating distillery processes and energy optimisation across the core brands including work overseas and effluent treatment. Her experience brings sound knowledge of operational processes in the distilleries working on a number of individual and team projects while forging strong relationships with people across the industry.

Jane has been fortunate enough to be involved in the IBD Scottish Section committee in previous years as well as a member of the Technical Committee for the WDSC.

Becky Paskin - Spirits Writer, Broadcaster & Consultant - Co-Founder, OurWhisky

Becky who has been writing about drinks for over 13 years and is an advocate for breaking down cultural misconceptions about whisky.

Becky Paskin is a UK-based spirits journalist, whisky specialist and consultant. Most recently she was editor of leading online magazine and global trade title The Spirits Business.
She became the first journalist to gain a General Certificate in Distillation (GCD) with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling – a qualification usually reserved for distillery operators. Becky is also a judge for the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) and member of exclusive society Keepers of the Quaich. She was named 2020 Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year, IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year 2020 and listed as About Time Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch in Drinks 2020.

In 2018, Becky co-founded the OurWhisky movement to promote whisky as a diverse and widely accessible drink.

She is the face and organizer of the annual OurWhisky Festival, and regularly presents educational seminars at global drinks festivals including Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and The Whisky Show in London.

Sandra Stelma - Head of Science, Brand Technical Innovation - Diageo, Ireland

Sandra completed the IBD Brewing Diploma in record time and won the JS Ford award which opened doors for her and kicked off her European brewing career.

Sandra started her career in R&D with South Africa Breweries. After completing her PhD circumstances ‘’forced’’ her to make the switch to production which proved to be a turning point. She took a role based in Switzerland supporting the 26 breweries across Europe, a great learning curve. After some time at Grolsch as Brewing Manager, she moved back to R&D taking up a role as Head of Science for Diageo based in Dublin.

Sandra has worked across a range of countries and cultures and has seen many successful and inspiring women. In her current role, she heads up the Science and Technology team based in Dublin that serves as Brewing Centre of Excellence for Diageo and their global brewing operation. In scope is technical support for innovation (process/liquid) and all the brewery operations (from utilising local brewing materials to optimising capex project). In addition, she manages an R&D program focusing on topics of particular relevance to Diageo and Guinness. Sandra also manages the affiliated global Laboratory and Sensory Services that works to develop analytical and sensory capability across the breweries and processes global samples. This is a very varied role from managing a highly motivated team, getting into the technical details of projects and working at a strategic level to ensure the team remains.

Hosted by: 

Shona Harrison - Analytical Services & Laboratory Manager - The Scotch Whisky Research Institute

Shona manages the authenticity analysis undertaken on behalf of the Scotch Whisky Association and has been called upon as an expert witness in cases relating to counterfeit spirits.

Shona joined the Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI) in 2007 as an Analytical Chemist having completed a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. The Institute is sponsored by most of the major whisky distilling companies in Scotland and carries out non-competitive research on behalf of its members.

Since joining SWRI Shona has developed her knowledge of Scotch Whisky production and successfully completed the Institute of Brewing & Distilling’s Diploma in Distilling. After a period working in the Analytical Services Group, Shona expanded her activities across Product Protection and Maturation research projects. In her current role as Senior Scientist, Shona is responsible for managing the laboratory & analytical services for SWRI’s member companies and to support the internal research programme of SWRI.

Shona is the main point of contact for external anti-counterfeiting work and her opinions and interpretations on whisky authenticity are UKAS Accredited to ISO 17025. Shona is passionate about inclusion in the drinks industry and is thrilled to be chairing an IBD webinar on such a pertinent topic.