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Being offered a job at a brewery

So, I am faced with something of a decision. I was offered a job at a brewery to be a brewer. The deal is, the brewery is 35 miles or so from me, I don’t own a car (and don’t particularly care to get one), would have to take about a $4/hr pay cut, and possibly not get any benefits. I work in an office building now with benefits and it’s pretty relaxed. But it’s not necessarily what I want to be doing either.
I could move out of town to the smaller town that this brewery is in, take the pay cut, and gain valuable experience. Or, I could wait for a better opportunity to come along (if there ever is one).
If I didn’t have loads of students loans to pay off, I’d be on this right away. But as it stands, I make about $13 an hour and usually do okay money-wise.

What do you all think? What would you do?

I would keep the current job, pretend that I only make $9 an hour, use the extra money to pay off the student loans as fast as possible, and then move and take a job as a brewer, free from the debt.


unless you absolutely loathe what you do now. you’d likely enjoy your actual job more as a brewer but the stress of making less, buying a car, commuting 70 miles a day, will definitely offset some of that happiness.

I gota say I’ve been presented with opportunities over the years that sounded a lot better than what I was doing at the time. Some I took advantage of but it was primarily based on the challenge & financial aspect. If you have student loans that means you’re educated in something and it’s probably not in brewing. Use that education to your benefit. I’ve been in my profession for 38+ years and I have no regrets about how my career has evolved. When I retire I plan to have my fun. Maybe as a brewer or maybe drive a parts delivery truck. Who knows but at that point money won’t matter.

So, unless you hate your job, I’d suggest following your career and enjoy brewing along the way.


It would be very unusual for a small brewery to offer any benefits. So make sure you factor that into the financial side of things.

It sounds like your situation now is pretty stable. Maybe the brewery would let you volunteer in your off-time so that you can at least get a sense for how much you’d like it.

If you would “love” to be a brewer and have no family (wife, kids) then I say do it. Chances like this don’t come along often and doing a job you “love” rather than “need” is something that 99% of the world would “love” to have.

Take a chance! Go for it!

If you have a wife and kids to support, well that’s a completely different matter.

Tough call. I agree with the comment that its wise to stay in your field if you are working in it and enjoy the job. But I also agree that taking a a chance and doing something you’d love as a job, would be worth the pay cut. Are you sure you’d like being a commerical brewer? It seems like it would be a lot different than homebrewing, much more cleaning for example. I’d definitely move to the smaller town, you wouldn’t want to have additional car expense at the lower wage.

How far of a commute is that from Hannibal MO?

Sounds like you have reservations about the decision anyways. At this time in your life, maybe you already know what the right choice is.


not sure of your life situation (age, kids, wife, family etc), but I would ask myself this:

if you still are at your current job (hopefully promoted a few times!) - but generally doing the same thing, in say 10 years time, would you be happy?

hard to answer, for sure, but stability is sometimes overrated - and leads to many people doing jobs they don’t care for, or even hate… Easier said than done for sure - it is hard to leave the comfort zone in any part of life.

I say if you’re young and willing to take a chance - go for it. the worst thing that happens is you don’t like it, or don’t make enough money etc, in which case you can just leave the job and look for something else. maybe just look at it as a learning experience and take to job with the idea of trying it out for a year and re-evaluating your situation then.

Ill give you some insight. I did a 4 month apprenticeship at a commercial brewery in my town. It was volunteered time for that entire duration and I gave them 40+ hours/week of it. The only reason I kept volunteering that much of my time was because I absolutely LOVED it. It is my goal to get into the industry now whether it is to own my own brewery/brewpub, or to work as a brewer. I will tell you this though: being a brewer is not all about glory or making money. You bust your a$$ to brew, meet demands, and strive for perfection and consistency each day. Also, the stress level can be a bit overwhelming unless you are a person who can handle loads and loads of demands and expectations and still produce results at the top of your game. Also back to the money factor. If you have student loans to pay and are thinking about taking a $4/hr pay cut, honestly it would be against my better judgement for me to say go for it. I myself have LOTS of student loan debt and I am currently working for $8.50/hr. and can barely make ends meet as it is. You would have to be comfortable with the fact that you wont be making a lot of money and even though you would have full time employment, there may still be hardships. I live by the philosophy that you should never let anything stand in the way of what you are passionate about. However, as in my situation, I am trying to work down some of my debt so that when I go for the job I ultimately want to do for the rest of my life, I can make whatever income I make and would still be able to pay my bills and have money to live. The only way to make money in the brewing industry is to work for the big 3, start your own place and have it take off, or to become the head brewer/brewmaster of a notable brewery. Even then, the second 2 arent going to make you a killing. I hope this helps you in your decision.

1+ being debt free is a really important thing. This is really good advice.

Having said that, don’t think that this has to be an either/or decision. Your post sounds like they approached you? If so, you probably have some negitioting room. I would suggest that you talk to them and tell them your heart wants to take the job but your brain tells you not to take such a cut in pay and benefits. Ask if they can make a better offer or if they will raise your pay after a brief probationary period. Possibly, they will bonus you for production above some set target. If this is a brew pub and you develop a recipe that sells quickly and brings in new business then perhaps you could get a commssion on the increased sales. Do some brainstorming and see if there is an ideal situation that would let you take this job. Then ask for that! It never hurts to ask. All they can say is No. In which case you are in the same situation you are now but if they sweeten the offer then you can have the best of both worlds. A new job you love and no pay cut.

First off, congratulations man! A real honor and testament to your brewing acumen to be offered a job brewing beer.

To my mind, the big hang up is the benefits. It’s sad that we live in a country where you can’t pursue your dream because you might get an illness that will bankrupt you with an avalanche of hospital bills.

If it were me (and it’s not) I’d keep the job with benefits and keep looking for a brewing job where you won’t have to hazard your health and retirement.

Not knowing anything about your personal situation, my post will be basically useless.

That being said - if you want to become a professional brewer, you should probably take advantage of this opportunity.

Move to the smaller town, take the pay cut, and call your student loan servicer and ask what they can do to accomodate you (some of them can be pretty flexible).

You could volunteer at my place :slight_smile:

$13/ hour doesn’t seem like much but it is a LOT more than $9. If you don’t get perks at the brewery, financials will get stressful very quickly. I don’t know about your area but $9/hr here is barely enough to make ends meet without any niceties at all. Unless you can brew for yourself at your place of work you will have a hard time doing any homebrewing for fun.

That’s my 2 cents worth YMMV.

Your decision is indeed a tough one…a wise person once said doing what you love is more important than making lots of money…this is a wonderful philosophy, but likely quoted by one who had plenty of money! There are lots of people in the world who are miserable in their work…and we all know two truths to be self-evident: 1) Life is too short to drink macrobrews, 2) Life is too short to be miserable for 8 plus hours a day…

Just my 2-cents…good luck my friend…this is a tough dilemma!



i say stay where you are, however express interest in volunteering…so many posters above have made excellent points; if you volunteer, you have an “in” and they will know your work ethic and determination to make the best beer possible, making it an almost sure thing if you find yourself in the position to make the move.

i would love to brew as a job and someday i may, however right now, i have an incredible opportunity and benefits, not brewing…4 dollars an hour and benefits can be a pivotal decision, based on your current wage.

good luck with whatever you choose.

Thanks for all of your input, guys! I haven’t decided against it, but they’re going to be taking resumes soon and I think I’ll send them mine, check out the situation. Otherwise, there is a brewery opening up in town in May that I’m going to try and get on at. I think maybe now isn’t the time to make such a career move involving such a pay cut and likely no benefits. We’ll see.

Yep, are you the guy leaving, by chance?

Yep, are you the guy leaving, by chance?[/quote]

Nope, pretty legit brewery though, surprised they don’t pay better. I’m with most of the others though, I’d be cool to do something like that, but good pay and benefits are sometimes hard to come by…work at UI? I do…

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