My brilliant new career: From lawyer to brewer

Petra Wetzel used to fly around Europe translating legal documents as a lawyer until her Dad made a comment about Glaswegian beer, which made her changed direction

‘I stumbled into law. I was 27 and working for a marketing company in Glasgow when I started talking to a lawyer who said I’d make a great member of his team. Just two months later, I was working as a trainee for one of the biggest European law firms in Scotland.

‘The money was OK but the work was hard. I’m fluent in French, Dutch and German, so I’d fly to Holland and Paris to translate documents. I’d go weeks, sometimes months without seeing friends and family and I lived on takeaways.

‘Then, one night, talking to my dad about the lack of decent beer in Glasgow, I got an idea. Why not set up my own brewery business? It was radical, but the more I talked about it with my husband, the more excited we became.

‘We quit our jobs and signed a 25-year lease on an old building on Glasgow Green park. I didn’t know the first thing about beer, but a friend of my parents is a brewer in Germany, so he taught me the ropes.

‘We began trading in 2006, but like any new business, we encountered problems and in 2008 the business went into administration. The stress was enormous, and my husband and I split up just before my son Noah was born.

‘But I wasn’t through. I really believe that a person who doesn’t make mistakes doesn’t make anything at all, so I threw myself into buying our business back with the help of a loan from my parents.

‘Since then, the business has grown every year. We’ve doubled our sales in the last 12 months and are now in talks to export to Ireland and the US. My hours are long and the work is intense and chaotic but that’s what I love about it. Best of all, it’s all mine.’

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