Meet the Maker: Antonios Kotronis, Head Brewer, Keith Brewery Ltd.

Q: Where do you work?

A: We are based in the heart of the whisky producing region of Speyside. The brewery is a traditional mill that has been renovated to a brewery and accompanying warehouse and offices.

Q: How long have you worked with Keith Brewery and how did you start?

A: For the last four years I have worked at Keith Brewery Ltd. where we produce a big variety of tasty beers. From juicy American IPAs and real Scottish ales to German wheat and smoked beers. I started as every brewer started: for the love of beer of course!

Q: Describe the production process.

A: Because of the size of the brewery everything is done manually, with love and attention to detail – that’s the spirit of craft beer. Expect the usual ingredients – water, malts, hops – which are top quality; and we use fresh Scottish strawberries and raspberries for our fruit beers and really tasty pumpkins and spices for our pumpkin ale. Last but not least, loads of strong espresso is added to our coffee stout.

Q: What’s a typical working day like?

A: My typical day is quite busy actually. Depending on the schedule we will have to do brewing, bottling, casking, kegging and labelling. You will find me involved in every step of the production in order to make sure that every single bottle, cask or keg is of top quality. Also, because of the industry’s high standards of food and drink safety, every procedure is documented and recorded accordingly, so paperwork demands lots of my time.

Q: Describe Keith Brewery’s beers.

A: Larger Keith: Czech-style Pilsner – crispy, hoppy and a long-lasting finish.

Pale Keith: American-style IPA – fruity, citrusy, piney hop bomb.

Stout Keith: real complex but balanced chocolatey, coffee stout.

Herr Keith: German-style Weiss full of banana and cloves aromas.

Wry Keith: English IPA – spicy rye notes and earthy, flowery noble hop notes.

Pump’d Keith: pumpkin ale loaded with pumpkins and a special blend of spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

Frank: raspberry goodness! A crisp, light beer blended with fresh raspberries for a fusion of flavours that’s both light and refreshing but intense at the same time.

Sir Keith: warm, malty and sweet barley wine.

Q: What would you say sets Keith Brewery’s beers apart?

A: What sets us apart from other brands is that our beers are exciting but, at the same time, balanced, consistent and not rushed. We also use local Speyside water which comes straight from our bespoke well in the brewery; we use this in all of our beers.

Q: What one fact should bartenders know about Keith Brewery’s beers?

A: The basics to the perfect serve: that every beer should be served at the right temperature and in the right glass. Also, that when creating a new beer, we always think of accompanying foods to match.

Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?

A: My favourite part of the job is to play with new ingredients and create new recipes. The best thing is that there are no boundaries to imagination. I am very grateful to be doing a job I love.

Q: What’s your favourite way to drink Keith Brewery’s beers?

A: The best way to drink the beer is straight from the barrel, as fresh and untreated as possible.

Q: What’s your career highlight so far?

A: Being nominated for Master Brewer of the Year at the Scottish Beer Awards in 2016 and 2017. Our Stout Keith also received the maximum three stars from The Great Taste Guide in 2017 – recognition for the hard work of all the brewers at Keith Brewery Ltd.

Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?

A: I admire everyone that works for this company. Every person treats this company as their own and it shows in everything we do.

Q: How do you relax outside of work?

A: Music is my life, so playing my guitar is what I need after a busy day.

Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink?

A: Traditional Greek dinner with family and friends and loads of homemade wine.