When Viena Nzana was studying, a career in biochemistry beckoned. But when science of a different kind captured her attention, Viena turned to brewing. “I stumbled into brewing by accident and never looked back,” she says. “What’s not to love?”
Today, after two and a half years at Lion, Viena is Head Brewer at XXXX, a title that attracts a great deal of interest from friends and acquaintances. “I get a lot of questions,” she laughs. “Like, besides drinking beer, what else do I do?”
Quite a bit, as it turns out. XXXX is one of the three largest beer masterbrands in Australia and, as Head Brewer, it’s Viena’s responsibility to know the brands intimately. Because of this, every day is different, she says. “There’s no monotony.”
Viena’s current role involves a high level of people management and she’s also immersed in the technical activities of the brewing department which keeps her engaged across all aspects of the business. The collaborative nature of the brewing team at Lion means there is allocated problem solving time for brewers to work through processes and challenges together, a process Viena enjoys.
Where tradition meets innovation
While brewing’s origins are steeped in tradition, todays brewers also work with the latest technologies and must continue to innovate for success. XXXX utilises several different types of technology to do this, including SCADA for production control, Isomixers for product consistency at scale and, more recently, Hololens which allows for virtual viewing of the plant offsite.
When Viena considers the future of brewing, she predicts flexibility to be important going forward, along with the ability to cater to a diverse range of consumer tastes and preferences.
Our consumers are as diverse as our products.
"Because of this, we need to be able to cater for even the smallest volumes. Anything that ensures quick scaling up and down, and quick changeovers, will be a winner," Viena says.
Doing things differently
This focus on the customer is at the core of Lion’s purpose. So is a shared commitment to creating a supportive, collaborative workplace for the people who make it happen – one of the many things Viena says makes Lion a great place to work.
Viena recently participated in Women at Lion, an initiative designed to help women build and develop their knowledge and skills in the beverage industry, a traditionally a male- dominated workforce.
The Women at Lion program aims to help participants strengthen their career vision, grow peer networks, and increase their confidence as professionals and individuals. Or, as Viena describes it in a nutshell, “a program filled with light bulb moments on what makes me, me – and how to embrace that”. Viena says the program makes her proud to work at Lion.
I’m proud of Lion’s drive on diversity, and the acceptance that we haven’t always got it right when it came to women in our industry, but we’re actively working to correct this and get the best candidates into roles.
With her future career looking bright, what’s next for Viena? She’s keeping an open mind, quoting what she says is the best career advice she’s been given. “Enjoy where you are, the next role will come.”
In her downtime, Viena enjoys kicking back over a relaxing weekend breakfast with her family and exploring nature with her busy toddler son. She’s also working on an exciting new project of a different kind for 2022; her second child, due in May. “Then I’m shutting down the factory,” she says. “I’m looking forward to watching my kids grow up together.”
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Every day at Lion, collaboration powers our business. We never stop looking for ways to make genuine connections with our customers. We believe our people have it in them to achieve something outstanding.