This Amelia Earhart quote adorns the business card of Petra Wetzel, founder and Managing Director of WEST Brewery in Glasgow. Perfectly apt for someone who has continually confounded expectations, growing her business from a self-contained German style beer hall and brewery on Glasgow Green into a successful distribution operation with over 1,000 venues in the UK now stocking WEST beers.
Originally from Bavaria, Wetzel first fell in love with her adopted Scottish homeland on a school exchange to Balfron. Returning to Glasgow in 1994 to study at the University of Glasgow, Wetzel has been here ever since. The idea for WEST, a German-style brewery producing beers in strict accordance with traditional German Purity Law, was born when Wetzel’s father visited her as a student in Glasgow and was unimpressed by what was being brewed locally at the time.
After her first job with the Glasgow Tourist Board, now the Glasgow City Marketing Board, working as an ambassador for Glasgow at trade fairs and events all over Europe, Wetzel was approached by a partner at Scottish Law firm Maclay, Murray and Spens, who encouraged her to train as a lawyer.
In 2008 Wetzel opened WEST Brewery, Bar & Restaurant on Glasgow Green. She didn’t let a lack of beer experience hold her back – despite having never even drunk a full pint of lager before opening WEST, Wetzel has quickly risen through the ranks of the industry, with WEST receiving awards for both the beer it produces and the service it delivers.
Following on from the success of WEST’s flagship venue on Glasgow Green, in 2015 Wetzel opened a second bar and restaurant, WEST on the Corner, in the west end of the city, which has already received many accolades and rave reviews.
Recently completed was another ambitious project – the construction of a brand new events space and brewery within the Templeton Building, which increased brewing capacity 10-fold, allowing for greater creativity from the brewing team and facilitating the addition of further bottled beers to the WEST range.
As the WEST beer brand continues to grow with international shipments of St. Mungo as far afield as Hong Kong and Russia, closer to home, Petra received an Honorary Doctorate for her contributions to Scottish Enterprise from the University of Glasgow in 2015 which she cites as her career highlight.
As WEST flourishes, Wetzel continues to take on new projects that would make Amelia Earhart proud.
“This is a sector I’ve operated in for over a decade and I’m getting fed up being the only woman in the room,
or the token female speaker at business events.” -Petra Wetzel
The aim for West Women is to help more female entrepreneurs exploit the many opportunities that exist within our burgeoning food and drink sector, providing seed capital and other financial assistance to emerging female entrepreneurs operating within Scotland’s food and drink sector.
Female entrepreneurs seeking funding from West Women should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.