A FORMER Evesham student has been selected as part of The Independent’s list of female ground breakers of 2017.

Lauren Soderberg, 31, formerly of Evesham High School became the first woman to achieve the position of ‘Beer Guru’ for the pub group New World Trading Companies (NWTC) making her a Master of Beer.

The Independent asked her for some information about what she does in the beer industry, but she was unaware that she would be featured on their list of extraordinary women.

She said: “I was blown away. It took a while to sink in. There are so many incredible women on that list, it is an honour to be included alongside them.”

The beer industry is predominantly a male industry, but Ms Soderberg, who has worked in hospitality for the last 15 years doesn’t think that women should shy away from traditionally male trades.

She said: “I know it can be intimidating, but that shouldn’t stop women doing something they are passionate about. Just go for it.

“It’s time for women to be heard and taken seriously in these male dominated industries.”

Now training others to become a Master of Beer, Ms Soderberg had to complete a 2000-word essay, a two hour exam and a blind beer tasting which according to The Independent she ‘passed with flying colours’.

As part of her role as Beer Guru, she holds Ale Masterclasses, sources beers for the company’s menus and also trains staff across NWTC’s twenty sites.

Ms Soderberg said: “I love what I’m doing at the moment, and there will be more training and more Masterclasses in the future as we open more units.

“The big dream would be to eventually get in to brewing, and possibly have a brewery of my own.”

She features on The Independent’s list in the food and drink category alongside the Women of the White Helmets in Syria, and Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for supporting education for girls.