By Johannes Hangula
CHRISTIAN Müller currently heads the brewing of world-class premium beers here on Namibian soil; his initial childhood dream does not come close to that of making beer. The head brewer at Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) tells his story.
Today Müller heads the brewing of NBL’s world-class beer brands – a career he embraces with passion and love, regardless of his childhood dream of cooking sumptuous meals and becoming a chef of note. Müller said, “After my initial dreams of becoming a policeman, astronaut or even a firefighter, I wanted to become a chef, but eventually after careful consideration, taking into account the work and life balance of being a chef, I was on the lookout for other alternatives. In school I enjoyed Biology, Chemical Science and Mathematics, and always wanted to do something with food and science.
“I weighed in on my options which included cooking, baking, as well as becoming a butcher, but eventually none of the above appealed to me any longer. One morning I woke up with the Hansa brewery on my mind, which was located opposite our primary school in Swakopmund, and my curiosity got the better of me as I always wondered what is happening in the huge vessels of the building that was called Sudhaus and why there was always steam coming out of the chimneys”.
It was in the 1980s when Müller contacted the general manager of Hansa Breweries, the late Ernst (Emil) Heuschneider and his brew master Josef Niedermeyer. Müller added that, “They showed me the installations of the Hansa brewery, which was very impressive. They even took me all the way along to Windhoek and showed me the old South West Breweries in Talstreet, where I met Mrs. Masche and Pfaller, and even Dr. Schmidt for the first time. I was amazed and excited. I then knew what I was going to do with my life one day. The dream to become a brewer was born. But I had a second dream: to see the world while I am still young”.
Inspired by both dreams of travelling the world and eventually becoming a brewer, Müller submitted job applications to various breweries in Germany. In August 1988 he started with an apprenticeship as a brewer at the well-known ‘Coelner Hofbräu Frueh’, in Cologne/Köln. During the three years of apprenticeship, he attended a vocational school in Dortmund. After the apprenticeship, Müller graduated as a brewer and maltster by trade in 1991.
This year Müller celebrates 25 years as a brewer. He qualified as a master brewer in 1995 after two full years of study in Munich. Müller said, “For more than seven years I travelled the world as a commissioning engineer for breweries in different countries where I learned a lot of international beer- and brewing styles and techniques.”
He started working for NBL in 2003 when he kicked off at the Hansa Brauerei in Swakopmund as manager of the brewing department. After Hansa closed down in 2005, he was given the opportunity to move to Windhoek and head the technical support department, which he accepted. In June 2007, Müller became the head brewer (manager: brewing) of NBL. In 2015 Müller qualified as Africa’s first certified beer sommelier a course he completed in Germany and Austria.
When asked why he is so passionate about brewing, Müller concluded, “Brewing is a combination of craft, a r t , science and technology – all four elements I have great passion for!”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015