These words on my business card have been a constant reminder to me over the last 13 years to not let anyone tell me what is “normal”, or what I am capable of. I am a firm believer that taking oneself out of one’s comfort zone can be a rewarding and thrilling experience and I aim to do one thing that scares me every week. In fact, if you want to read about my latest scary adventures, please have a look at my travel journal.
I was born in Bavaria, but have lived in Scotland for over two decades and consider myself as much Scottish as German by now. You might call me a Gerwegian! I first fell in love with my adopted Scottish homeland on a school exchange to Balfron, near Stirling, when I was just a girl, and returned to Scotland for good in 1994 to study at the University of Glasgow.
After my first job working as an ambassador for Glasgow at trade fairs and events across Europe with the Glasgow Tourist Board, now the Glasgow City Marketing Board, a partner at a Scottish law firm approached me and encouraged me to train as a lawyer.
In 2006, I founded WEST, a German-style brewery to produce beers in strict accordance with traditional German Purity Law. The idea for WEST was born when my father visited me as a student in Glasgow and was unimpressed by what was being brewed locally at the time. The business has come a long way since then and in 2016 we doubled the capacity of our Glasgow Green hospitality operation by adding WEST Courtyard, a bespoke events space and the same year we completed a £5m brewery expansion and now operate two breweries from our Templeton home. The same year I also set up the “WEST Women investment fund” to give both financial and personal support to other budding female entrepreneurs – more info can be found here
I’m proud to have received an Honorary Doctorate for contributions to the Scottish economy from the University of Glasgow in 2015, which was undoubtedly a career highlight. I love telling people the story of “How the WEST was won” at gatherings large and small (apparently I even have an agent for speaking engagements!), but I would rather talk to people one on one over a beer. I’ll buy the beers, as long as they are brewed by WEST.
In September 2021 I passed the WEST reigns to our brilliant senior leadership team (and I am no longer the Managing Director, the wonderful Matt Munro now fills my size 5 boots with much more capable feet) which is scary and exciting in equal measures. WEST has made me who I am today, but having never set out to run a brewery, I am looking forward to seeing what’s next in this lovely journey called life.
My pride and joy has always been my son Noah, who has been my greatest inspiration and who keeps me going no matter what. Having been a single mum to a now 16 year old whilst starting and growing a business has taught me more than any University degree or boss ever could. Finally, Amelia Earhart has inspired me to learn to fly a plane. I just hope I don’t disappear into the ocean one day.