Distillery supervisor


Distillery supervisors coordinate the production processes comprised in the production of spirits and manage the workers engaged in the process. They verify distilled liquors being produced at specified amounts and proofs.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to distillery supervisor:

distilling supervisor
distillery manager

Minimum qualifications

Associate’s degree is generally required to work as distillery supervisor. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Distillery supervisor is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Distillery supervisor career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to distillery supervisor.

malt house supervisor
animal feed supervisor
green coffee coordinator
dairy processing technician
food production planner

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of distillery supervisor. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of distillery supervisor with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

cider master
animal feed nutritionist
food production manager

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of distillery supervisor.

Appropriate raw materials for specific spirits: Raw materials, such as grains, potatoes, sugars or fruit which can be fermented to produce a specific type of alcoholic spirits.
Spirits development: Processes related to the manufacture of aged and unaged spirits. Under the category of unaged spirits fall vodka and gin. Under the category of aged products fall whisky, rum, and brandy.
Temperature scales: Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales.
Quality assurance methodologies: Quality assurance principles, standard requirements, and the set of processes and activities used for measuring, controlling and ensuring the quality of products and processes.
Spirit taxation regulations: Use of information resulting from the spirit safe to compare and conform with taxation regulations in relation to distillation strength. Spirit safe is a locked and sealed glass-box only accessible to representatives from the tax office of the government. 
Range of spirits: Spirits and their combination for developing the final product such as whisky, vodka, cognac.
Food and beverage industry: The respective industry and the processes involved in the food and beverage industry, such as raw material selection, processing, packaging, and storage.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of distillery supervisor.

Measure density of liquids: Measuring the density of liquids, including oils, using instruments such as hygrometers, or oscillating tubes.
Manage food manufacturing laboratory: Manage laboratory activities in the plant or factory and using the data to monitor the quality of manufactured products.
Manage staff: Manage employees and subordinates, working in a team or individually, to maximise their performance and contribution. Schedule their work and activities, give instructions, motivate and direct the workers to meet the company objectives. Monitor and measure how an employee undertakes their responsibilities and how well these activities are executed. Identify areas for improvement and make suggestions to achieve this. Lead a group of people to help them achieve goals and maintain an effective working relationship among staff.
Keep inventory of goods in production: Keep inventory of goods whether they are goods in the front end (i.e. raw materials), intermediate, or back end (i.e. finished products). Count goods and store them for the following production and distribution activities.
Encourage teams for continuous improvement: Empower teams to identify opportunities for continuous improvement and then drive the process to improve the results.
Apply haccp: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
Measure ph: Measuring pH which is a measure of acidity or alkalinity.
Supervise crew: Supervise and observe the behaviour of employees.
Prepare containers for beverage distillation: Prepare containers or drums for beverage distillation. Prepare equipment for the process of purification and removal of diluting components like water, for the purpose of increasing its proportion of alcohol content.
Take measures against flammability: Take measures against fire. Liquor that contains 40% ABV will catch fire if heated to about 26 °C and if an ignition source is applied to it. The flash point of pure alcohol is 16.6 °C.
Ensure safety in the production area: Take ultimate responsibility for the safety, quality and efficiency of the production area.
Operate distilling equipment: Operate the different parts of distilling equipment such as the pot, the distillation column, the lyne arm, the condenser, the distillate, and the aging barrels.
Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
Apply gmp: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Inspect insects in whole grain: Inspect loads of unprocessed grain to detect harmful insects, like grain beetles.
Follow production schedule: Follow production schedule taking into account all requirements, times and needs. This schedule outlines what individual commodities must be produced in each time period and encapsulates various concerns like production, staffing, inventory, etc. It is usually linked to manufacturing where the plan indicates when and how much of each product will be demanded. Utilise all the information in the actual implementation of the plan.
Mix spirit flavourings according to recipe: Mix flavourings and other ingredients such as fruit acids to produce brandies, cordials, and fortified beverages.
Measure the strength of distillation: Measuring the alcohol concentration based on the information in the spirit safe and maintaining the distillation process and the distillation strength within the parameters asked by regulations for taxation purposes.
Mitigate waste of resources: Evaluate and identify opportunities to use resources more efficiently with continuously striving to reduce waste of utilities.
Rectify spirits: Rectify spirits by repeatedly or fractionally distilling it to remove water and undesirable compounds.
Execute proofs of alcohol mixture: Measure temperature (using e.g. thermometer) and specific gravity (using e.g. alcohol-proof hydrometer) and compare readings with tables from standard gauging manuals to determine proof of mixture.
Blend beverages: Master blending beverages as to create new beverage products that are attractive to the market, interesting to companies, and innovative in the market.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of distillery supervisor. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Processes of foods and beverages manufacturing: Raw materials and production processes for getting finished food products. Importance of quality control and other techniques for the food and beverage industry.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of distillery supervisor. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Ensure continuous preparedness for audits: Ensure constant compliance with standards and requirements, such as keeping certifications up to date and monitoring activities to ensure correct procedures are followed, so that audits can occur smoothly and no negative aspects can be identified.
Manage delivery of raw materials: Manage reception of raw materials. Receive raw materials from the suppliers. Check for quality and accuracy and move into the warehouse. Make sure that raw materials are adequately stored until they are required by the production department.
Develop financial statistics reports: Create financial and statistical reports based on collected data which are to be presented to managing bodies of an organisation.
Show confidence: Demonstrate degrees of maturity by fully understanding one’s own qualities and abilities which can serve as sources of confidence in different situations.
Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
Hire new personnel: Hire new personnel for a company or organisation payroll via a prepared set of procedures. Make staffing decisions and direct selection co-workers.
Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
Maintain updated professional knowledge: Regularly attend educational workshops, read professional publications, actively participate in professional societies.
Manage environmental management system: Develop and implement an environmental management system.
Adapt efficient food processing practices: Ensure to adapt the most efficient production techniques to accomplish food processing tasks with the least amount of time, effort and costs.
Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
Control of expenses: Monitoring and maintaining effective cost controls, in regards to efficiencies, waste, overtime and staffing. Assessing excesses and strives for efficiency and productivity.
Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
Analyse production processes for improvement: Analyse production processes leading toward improvement. Analyse in order to reduce production losses and overall manufacturing costs.
Interpret data in food manufacturing: Interpret data from different sources, like market data, scientific papers, and customers requirements in order to research development and innovation in food sector.
Analyse work-related written reports: Read and comprehend job-related reports, analyse the content of reports and apply findings to daily work operations.

ISCO group and title

3122 – Manufacturing supervisors





  1. Distillery supervisor – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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