THOUGHT PIECE the carling team

Distillery Raw Materials Chemist Job Description


The raw materials chemist is an important technical role crucial for the success of a distillery. They are a part of the technical support team and are responsible for ensuring the raw materials used in the distillation process are of a suitable quality. They will also create guidelines and analytical processes to ensure high quality raw materials are available for the distillation process.

Some of the materials that the raw materials chemist may be working with include wheat, malt, yeast and other products used at the distillery. They work with distillers and suppliers to improve the products that the distillery creates and are also responsible for creating raw material specifications.

Raw Materials Chemist Responsibilities

Most of the responsibilities of the raw materials chemist are highly technical and specialised. The key responsibilities include:

  • Efficiently and accurately test raw materials
    The distillery’s ability to produce high quality product is dependent on having access to high quality raw materials in a timely fashion.   The raw materials chemist must be very efficient and accurate when performing their testing processes.
  • Develop NIR models for in-house testing
    The raw materials chemist must develop highly accurate near-infrared spectroscopy models to perform in-house testing.
  • Create a quality monitoring metric for raw materials
    The raw materials chemist must develop quantifiable measurements to denote what qualities are acceptable for raw materials. These metrics will form the basis on raw materials quality assurance and may have to be continually adjusted based on the quality of the product and seasonal changes.
  • Ensuring in-house analytical capability is maintained
    They must ensure the equipment used to analyse the raw materials is well-maintained and appropriate to the task.
  • Develop and monitor projects
    Various projects will be run in conjunction with distillers to ascertain what effect different properties in raw materials have on the final product. The raw materials chemist will help monitor and support these projects.
  • Create quality specifications for raw materials
    They will establish a set of specifications that denotes precisely which properties raw materials must have for specific products.
  • Work with the procurement team to create specifications for suppliers
    To ensure that raw materials of suitable quality are found, the raw materials chemist will work with the procurement team and create annual raw materials specifications for suppliers. They will deliver supplier performance reviews to ensure materials meet these specifications.
  • Create technical development projects that work with business strategic objectives
    Technical development projects must be in line with the goals of the distillery and working towards the improvement or development of specific products. The raw materials chemist will also be required to ensure the projects are running correctly and are well resourced.
  • Ensure quality management systems are implemented correctly
    Quality management systems to ISO 9001 standards must be in place to ensure the quality of raw materials is consistent.
  • Develop strong relationships with customers
    The raw materials chemist will work closely with distillers and external customers. The relationships between the chemist and internal/external customers must be strong.


A Bachelor degree or higher in a science field (ideally chemistry) is required for this role.

Work Experience

Raw materials chemists should have experience with a variety of scientific processes and distillation processes.

  • Experience with NIR modelling software
  • Practical and technical experience with laboratory equipment and procedures
  • Knowledge of the malt and grain distillation process
  • Strong experience working in a quality assurance position within a laboratory, ideally within a distillery
  • Laboratory information management systems experience
  • Project management experience is an advantage
  • Food safety experience is an advantage

Key Skills

Key skills of a raw materials chemist include:

  • Knowledge of malt and grain distilling processes
  • Raw and co-product material processing knowledge
  • Technical and practical understand of laboratory equipment and processes
  • Food safety techniques and due diligence requirements
  • Laboratory Information Management System knowledge
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Project management skills
  • Self-motivated and driven to improve
  • Excellent time management skills, able to work under pressure

The Carling Partnership offers a range of specialist jobs for a wide range of companies exclusively in the distilling drinks industry.


What is the primary role of a raw materials chemist in a distillery?

The primary role of a raw materials chemist in a distillery is to guarantee the quality of the raw materials used in the distillation process. They conduct tests, develop quality metrics, and establish guidelines to ensure that high-quality ingredients are consistently available for producing distilled beverages.

How does a raw materials chemist contribute to the quality of distillery products?

A raw materials chemist contributes to product quality by efficiently testing raw materials, developing Near-Infrared (NIR) models for in-house testing, and establishing quality specifications. They collaborate with suppliers and the procurement team to maintain the standards needed for superior product quality.

What educational qualifications are necessary for a raw materials chemist?

A raw materials chemist typically requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in a science discipline, with a focus on chemistry being highly ideal for the position.

What type of work experience should a raw materials chemist have?

A raw materials chemist should possess experience with NIR modelling software, practical laboratory equipment and procedures, knowledge of the malt and grain distillation process, and experience in quality assurance within a laboratory setting, preferably in a distillery.

What are the essential skills for a raw materials chemist?

Essential skills for a raw materials chemist include a deep understanding of malt and grain distilling processes, knowledge of raw material processing, proficiency with laboratory equipment and food safety practices, excellent communication, project management capabilities, self-motivation, and the ability to manage time effectively and work under pressure.