Peter Austin is a man who has seen it all (and who no longer has to worry about it all either) he talks about his vast brewing experience with a disarming air of insouciance. He condenses years of hard gained experience into an easy knowledge, into which he is generous enough to include a tyro interviewer as an adept. "As I'm sure you'll know" is a frequent preposition to an elegant reply to a clumsily framed question.

If Peter conveys a sense of ease when he talks about brewing it is because he genuinely believes that it is, not easy exactly, but certainly simple. Those who know him may well be familiar with a number of his fundamental brewing tenets, some of which are his own, others which have been passed down by wise old brewers through generations.

Perhaps the most fundamental of these he learnt from a venerable Bavarian brewer who once gave a talk at the Moss Side Brewery. He concluded his highly technical paper by saying, "When I became a brewer my Grandfather told me that a brewer can only do four things. Buy the best raw materials regardless of cost. Keep the brewery clean. Boil the copper well, and pray to God!" Peter reckons this is still sound advice.

He comes from a brewing family. His great-uncle was a brewer in Christchurch, Hampshire, and his father worked for Pontifex, who, when Peter was growing up, were the leading brewing engineering

firm in the country. It failed after the war when it stuck with copper fabrication when everyone else moved to stainless steel. He remembers holidays when his father ( who took him to breweries on business) said, "Wait here, I won't be long" and vanished for five hours at a time. Initially after schooling he did not go into brewing but instead went to sea, being invalided in 1941. Unable to return to war service he then decided to follow the family business and went to Friary Brewery in Guildford to study brewing under R. J. Storey between 1942-44. There followed a brief period at Morrells in Oxford after their head brewer died and in 1945 he went as third brewer to the Hull Brewery, where he stayed for 30 Years eventually becoming Head Brewer. Peter took early retirement in 1975.

Thirty-three years brewing had not cured him of the passion for crafting good beer, and within a very short period he was itching to get his wellies in the mash tun once more. He set up Ringwood Brewery, Hampshire, in 1977 and chose the location for its family ties rather than for its great distance from Hull (though it probably did him good to get away from all those doubting brewers who called him a madman for what he was trying to do - at the time there were very few microbreweries).

Ringwood thrived, due to Peter's strict adherence to his firmly held beliefs. Peter now has no involvement in the Ringwood brewery.

Subsequent to Peters success at Ringwood he was asked by numerous want to be brewers to help them set up breweries which he did. In 1982 Peter hired Alan Pugsley to train to brew and work with him on the brewery start ups and he then set up the consulting company Peter Austin and Partners (Contracts) Ltd. Which would soon be active worldwide.

He reckons he has installed around 120 breweries in 17 countries, including Siberia,China,Nigeria and South Africa. In the UK he has installed more then 30 His influence goes much wider than his installations, however. He often sees evidence of his work in other fabrications. It could be something as simple as the pattern of holes in a mash tun base, but it gives him quiet satisfaction to see.

More importantly he pioneered the combination to the twin roles of fabrication and brewing training. Peter Austin is richer than Croesus, his is the richness of pleasure, of pride and sheer joy in brewing good beer and helping other eager souls to become that special and singleminded individual - a good brewer.