Brewmaster / Manager, Product Exploratory
March is Women’s History Month and Constellation Brands is committed to the advancement of women within our company, within our industry, and in our local communities. To get to know some of the women in winemaking, brewing, and distilling roles across our company, we’ll be sharing some Q&A conversations throughout the month. The latest installment is a discussion with Ana María Romero, Brewmaster / Manager, Product Exploratory, based in Mexico City.
How did you first get involved in the beer industry?
I studied Chemical Engineering and I always liked food and beverage processes. But specifically, I remember as a child I liked to watch boxing with my grandfather and they played commercials of the breweries where they showed the packaging lines, the brewhouse and other parts of the brewing process. This left me filled with wonder.
When I finished my studies and started looking for a job, I knocked on several doors in the brewing, food and beverage industry, and in most of them women were not accepted. I was finally accepted into the Modelo Brewery. I entered the Quality Control Laboratory, as it was the only place where women were accepted in my profession, and here, I started to do analysis of raw materials, control of process or finished product. That is how I started in the world of beer.
What are the most important challenges you have faced?
Professionally, the main challenge has been to make my way into the traditional male-led brewing industry. When I started my professional life it was very sad to know that in many food and beverage industries, and even in the brewing industry, women were not accepted into positions that had to do with the production process.
Gradually I broke these paradigms and went into the plant and the brewing process, however, to achieve this I had to try twice as hard to do so, and convince the managers that I could do the job. Fortunately, everything went well and after several years of great effort, other women began to enter the production process, and I was given the opportunity to take over the Experimental Brewery and take several courses, including Master Brewery in Siebel (Chicago) and Doemens (Germany).
What do you like most about your work?
I have always liked research and development of new products, when I participate in the creation of a new product and see it in the market, or when I see that people consume it with pleasure, I love that feeling. I also really enjoy the tasting sessions. It is always nice to try different styles of beer since with these tastes I continue to train my senses, and this inspires me for other developments.
You are one of the first female brewers in Mexico. Has the number of women working in brewing production processes grown over the years?
I am the first brewing master of Mexico's largest brewing groups and now Constellation Brands. The number of women in the brewing production process has grown in recent years. Women are already more accepted in the areas of production, even in management positions. Craft breweries have grown in Mexico, and in some of them there are women brewing beer.
As a female brewer, what would you like to leave as a legacy?
My goal is to stay always up to date, the world of beer never stops. I also want to be able to share all the learning, stories, and flavors that I have acquired throughout my career through the development of sustainable processes and new products that last or are remembered over time.
I want to continue to produce quality beers, so that the brewing industry continues to include more women within the manufacturing process. It is important to give equal opportunities to women and increase the possibilities for the positive impact of our work. There is already a breakthrough but I believe that much more needs to be done.