THOUGHT PIECE the carling team

Distilling Technical Support Team Leader Job Description


The technical support team leader plays a crucial role in ensuring the technical aspects of the distillery are working correctly. They report directly to the Technical Area Leader and work closely with a wide range of distillery staff.

The technical support team leader must ensure that the technical strategy of the distillery is closely followed. Key goals include maintaining/improving the production process, ensuring technical compliance, improving distillery efficiency, managing a team of technical support staff and delivering innovative engineering solutions. It is a highly technical role where project management skills, personal skills and engineering ingenuity all play a role.

Technical Support Team Leader Responsibilities

Because this is a senior technical support team role, they will have a wide range of responsibilities throughout the distillery. They will help roll out technological improvements to the distillery and ensure it continues to operate with a high level of efficiency. The technical support team leader is primarily a management role and will often be responsible for the actions of many staff — ensuring that they correctly implement the technical strategies of the distillery. Key responsibilities include:

  • Effectively manage a team of technical support staff
    They must be capable of effectively managing staff and ensuring they remain highly productive around the distillery. The team leader should be able to motivate and develop staff members, improving their overall efficiency. The team leader must ensure annual objectives are met and guides their team to do so.
  • Train and develop team members
    Team members should constantly be improving their skills within the distillery. The team leader helps identify the types of training which staff should undergo.
  • Personally train team members
    The technical support team leader will use their own knowledge to personally train staff members as necessary.
  • Ensure technical specification compliance of raw materials
    The raw materials that come into the distillery must be tested to ensure they are of suitable quality. The technical support team leader will supervise the quality assurance programs that are used to test these materials. They will also run supervise any compliance programs.
  • Ensure technical specification compliance of spirits
    They will also ensure a technical framework is in place to have quality assurance on new make and mature spirits.
  • Represent the technical team and report to management on a variety of metrics
    The technical support team leader will regularly meet with management and report on the progress of technical projects, process changes, technical issues regarding product development, technical efficiency drives and production yields. They will deliver key analytical data and provide inside on delivery of key business objectives.
  • Manage project resources
    They will work in collaboration with the technical support team area leader to ensure technical projects are completed on time and budget.
  • Ensure quality management compliance
    They will ensure distillery-wide ISO9001 quality management compliance.
  • Manage department budgets
    The technical support team leader will be crucial in managing the budget for technical aspects of the distillery. Working in conjunction with the technical support team area leader, they will also look for budgetary savings and long-term plan capital spending.
  • Develop strong relationships with customers
    They will have to develop very strong relationships with both internal customers and external customers.


While it is possible to work your way into this position from an apprenticeship at a distillery, generally, technical staff enter these kinds of roles with a degree — often chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, process engineering or scientific. In addition:

  • Training in LEAN or Sigma Six principles (ideal)
  • Knowledge of ISO and FEMAS systems (ideal)
  • GLP and analytical method development (ideal)
  • Knowledge of legislation and regulations in relation to spirit drinks (ideal)

Work Experience

  • Previous experience as a team leader
  • Experience working with malt and grain distilling processes
  • Previous experience with GLP or other analytical method development
  • Proven ability to manage and lead a team
  • Track record of successful project management in food or beverage production facility
  • Experience providing process improvement and creating engineering solutions involving complex machinery

Key Skills

  • High-level communication skills
  • Advanced project management and planning skills
  • High-level problem solving skills
  • A strong leader, dedicated to solving problems and continual improvement
  • Ability to work in high pressure environments with deadlines
  • Able to communicate technical information clearly to others
  • Physical co-ordination, endurance and dexterity
  • Highly adaptable and able to learn new technologies quickly
  • Research skills and ability to gather information to support technical decisions
  • Encourages an organisational learning approach involving staff development
  • Able to understand and enforce distillery technical standards
  • Methodical, analytical and organised

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


What does a technical support team leader do in a distillery?

A technical support team leader in a distillery supervises the adherence to the distillery’s technical strategy, striving to maintain or improve production processes, ensuring technical compliance, enhancing efficiency, managing technical staff, and offering innovative engineering solutions. It’s a role that integrates project management, interpersonal skills, and engineering innovation.

What are the primary responsibilities of a technical support team leader?

The technical support team leader has comprehensive responsibilities including managing and motivating the technical support staff, rolling out technological advancements, supervising quality assurance of raw materials and spirits, liaising with management on technical metrics, overseeing project resources and budgets, and maintaining strong relationships with both internal and external customers.

What educational background is typical for a technical support team leader in the distilling industry?

Typically, individuals in this position possess a degree in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, process engineering, or a related scientific field. Additional training in LEAN or Sigma Six principles, knowledge of ISO and FEMAS systems, GLP and analytical method development, as well as an understanding of relevant legislation and regulations, are considered ideal.

What kind of experience is beneficial for a technical support team leader?

Valuable experience includes a background as a team leader, familiarity with malt and grain distilling processes, previous involvement with GLP or other analytical methods, a proven capacity to manage and direct a team, and a history of successful project management within the food or beverage production industry.

Which skills are crucial for the role of technical support team leader?

Critical skills for a technical support team leader include advanced communication, project management, problem-solving, leadership dedicated to improvement, the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines, clear communication of technical information, adaptability, research proficiency, a methodical and analytical approach, and an emphasis on organizational learning and staff development.