New breweries are continuing to pop up in towns all across the United States as the craft beer industry grows.
What does this mean? More job opportunities for those passionate about craft beer!
In addition to many skilled positions for seasoned craft beer professionals, there is an increase in need to fill the more “entry level” positions at a brewery. These positions can be found in a variety of categories including production and hospitality.
Many new breweries are small businesses, where the owner-operator handles most of the day to day responsibilities. Owner-operator’s are typically the CEO, lead brewer, and marketer for the business.
Larger, more established breweries, may have employees within the company to fill these roles. Whether small or large, running a brewery requires a lot of hard work! Sanitation, packaging and general operational jobs can be tedious, but are necessary for the success of the brewery.
Many of these more foundational, operational positions come as “entry level” or “internship” jobs. These positions are great opportunities for someone to gain valuable experience at a brewery.
And for those who are willing to do the work, it’s also a foot in the door to a career in craft beer, which can be competitive depending on where you live. If a career in craft beer is a goal, entry level jobs are valuable assets for your resume.
Craft Beer Entry Level Jobs
Cellar Worker – Perhaps the key responsibility for this position is brewery sanitation. Cleaning and filling kegs, assisting with bottling and packaging, and “performing other duties as required” is a basic job description for a cellar worker. This “on-the-job” training position can be invaluable for learning the business of craft beer production. You will be trained in safety procedures for a brewery, the proper handling of ingredients and inventory, as well as brewery organization.
Bottling Line & Packaging Operator – The role of the bottling line operator is to assist and support the bottling and packaging process of the brewery. These are the final steps before product goes into distribution, so attention to detail is a must.
For a clearer understanding of the duties, here is a list of “Essential Functions & Duties” from a recent Bottling Line Operator job listing:
- Operates brewery bottling, canning & kegging lines
- Daily clean-up & maintenance of equipment
- Observes cleaning cycles for proper concentration, pressures, and efficiency
- Analyzes brewery and bottling line equipment, components, raw materials, and end products
- Keeps bottling line running efficiently to minimize lost production time
- Coordinates with the Warehouse Manager the storage of full kegs and delivery of empty kegs to the kegging area
- Using a forklift, unloads empty cooperage or other loads as requested
- Maintains and rebuilds cooperage as needed
- Sanitizes beer lines and ensures the packaging equipment is ready for the next day’s production
You can see from the responsibilities listed, this entry level position offers valuable experience for both brewery production and operation skills.
Laboratory Technician – Sometimes you will see “Quality Control Tech” added to the title of this entry level position. The brewery lab tech is responsible for sampling, monitoring and documenting the brewing and fermentation process. Expect to work in a supporting role with the brewery team, handling product analysis and data entry. Laboratory experience and/or education, in addition to a familiarity with the brewing process, is usually a pre-requisite for getting hired.
A recent Brewery Lab Technician job listing outlined “Duties and Responsibilities” as follows:
- Conducting aseptic and environmental sampling
- Preparing microbiological data, sterile plating, and microscopic analysis of microbial growth
- Chemical and microbial analysis of water, wort, yeast, beer, etc.
- Collaborate with Lead Shift Brewers to maintain lab beer inventory, improve yeast viability assays, and optimize sensory panel tastings
- Data entry for brew, fermentation, cellar, and quality control
As you can see, a brewery lab tech must not only be passionate about craft beer quality but also have a science background and have a “team player” mentality.
Hospitality – Tap Room Staff – Production breweries will often open a taproom where they can sell their beer on site. Taprooms are great income sources for breweries, large and small. In fact, for smaller breweries, the taproom can account for over 50% of their annual sales.
Tap Room’s provide opportunities for a number of hospitality jobs. But before working in any tap room, consider what type of environment you are wanting to work in. Larger breweries will have a structured system for their hospitality jobs. In a structured environment you can expect to work one job at a time. For smaller tap rooms, it’s often a “all hands on deck” environment. This provides an opportunity to get experience in multiple positions at the same time.
General requirements for hospitality jobs in the craft beer industry are a (1) knowledge of craft beer and (2) experience in customer service. Some breweries may require you to be TIP certified or have completed a Cicerone certification for beer service.
No matter what opportunity you choose, hospitality jobs are great introduction into the craft beer industry.
Craft Beer Job Growth
With the growth of U.S. craft beer, the opportunities to work in the industry are promising. Whether they be start-ups, small businesses, or large; the hunt for skilled candidates to fill job openings is on.
According to the Brewers Association there were 3,464 breweries operating in the U.S. in 2014, a 19% increase over the previous year. Those breweries accounted for 115,469 jobs, an increase of 5,000. In 2015, breweries crossed the 4,000 mark, and could be found in more than 2,000 cities across all 50 states. What is very interesting, is that there are still 1,000 cities (populations over 10,000) without a local brewery.
That translates into a lot of job opportunities still to come in the industry. So, if you’ve always wanted to work in craft beer but didn’t know where to start, an entry level job may be the answer. Entry level jobs offer a lot of experience and potential for a long and successful career.
Want to hear about more job opportunities within the craft beer industry? Download our eBook, Beer Jobs: The Ultimate Guide To A Career In Craft Beer.
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