Alumni Story Simon Dankwa: From brewing beer to partner of a beer bar

December 19, 2023 •

3 min reading

From brewing beer to partner of a beer bar

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What motivates someone to open a beer bar? We talked to our former student Simon Dankwa, who after studying hotel management at the EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality in Passugg (EHL SSTH) and after various stops in between, was first managing director at LägereBräu AG and today lives his passion for beer as a partner of the "Gleis Bier" beer bar in Aarau.

How I came to brewing beer

After his studies as Dipl. Hôtelier-Restaurateur HF (today under the new curriculum Dipl. Hotelier-Gastronom HF) at the EHL SSTH, Simon Dankwa got a management traineeship in the Pre- and Opening Team of the Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel in Cape Town to gain first international work experience.

After a certain training period, he was able to take over the position as team leader at the Paulaner Brauhaus at the V&A Waterfront. This involved learning how to brew beer and sparked an ongoing interest in beer brewing.

My job in a beer bar

After Simon Dankwa moved back to his home canton of Aargau, he first served as managing director of LägereBräu AG. Looking back, Simon says: "At LägereBräu, we delighted guests every day with an honestly produced local product and innovative surprises. It was important to us to be an authentic company to touch."

These accumulated experiences have certainly been incorporated into his new job at the "Gleis Bier" beer bar in Aarau. There, he presents guests with a selection of local beers and a total of 150 different beers on the drinks menu. In the integrated beer store, customers can choose their own beer, but can also ask for advice on different beer types if they wish.

Simon Dankwa is a beer sommelier and has a great enthusiasm for beer. Tastings of the weekly beer or larger beer tastings are also planned in the beer bar.

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Trend toward Swiss beer

There is a great awareness of regional and sustainable products in the catering industry. This is a continuing trend that is also reflected in the Swiss beer market. The Swiss beer market is more creative and diverse than ever before. Imported beers now account for only a small share of the Swiss beer market, and the number of new breweries in Switzerland is rising unabated. The trend toward craft beer, specialty and non-alcoholic beers continues. The growing interest in beer is changing the beer market and creating a new beer culture, further fueling the demand for regional products.

Read more here: What are the main types of beer?

How does studying at a hotel management school help you find your calling in beer brewing?

After studying hotel management at EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality in Passugg (EHL SSTH), Simon Dankwa was able to move into versatile hospitality positions and quickly develop his career thanks to his HF degree and the practical experience he had already gained during his studies. He has worked in Switzerland and abroad, assisting with openings of hotel and hospitality schools as well as clubs and restaurants, and giving F&B seminars.

I love the versatility and myriad opportunities that a degree from a hospitality school can provide. I describe myself as a brewer, restaurateur, logistics, marketing, sales as well as financial and business expert all rolled into one.

He is of the opinion that a good hotelier and gastronome should not be too shy for any work that arises in his business. This is the only way he can gain the necessary experience to become successful later with his own business. But it is always important not to get lost in operational tasks, but to keep the overall view and to push the strategy further.

Jobs in a brewery

Are you also interested in a job in the world of beer? There are a variety of jobs and activities in a beer brewery, such as the following positions:

  • Brewer
  • Employee or head of bottling
  • Sales manager
  • Brand Manager
  • Service and catering staff

The scope of duties includes, among other things, the production of beers, personnel management, process and quality management, but also sales. Furthermore, it is necessary to feed and entertain the guests of the brewery and the possibly associated gastronomic facilities.