Questions for the Brewing Industry

Hello all!

I am a first time poster and although I have done the forum searching and web searches I still have questions. Basically I am looking to change my career to go into the brewing industry. I live in Reno, NV and we have a good number of up and coming breweries that I would be happy to work for. However I have found those I have talked to say that it doesn’t pay much and it can take a bit to move up in the ranks. I have my worries coming from a 2k+ a month paycheck that my life style would not be supported and so a pay cut to do what (I think) I love would be ok but I want to have a better idea of what I may be getting my self into so I can prepare that life style change. So my questions:

What are the pay scales you know or are paid?
What should I do to prepare my self for an interview?
What should I ask?
What is the best way you know of for putting my self out there the best?
What do you like about working there and why?

Any and all input would be helpful.


I would say prepare for it just like you would prepare for applying to any other job.

For starters, read any industry news you can, specifically geared towards the craft segment if that is what you want to work in.

Second, go to a site like glassdoor and just enter “brewery.” You’ll find tons of postings, where people are relaying experiencing working in the industry, interviewing in the industry, pay in the industry, as well as job listings.

But you also need to know what your focus is. When you say you’d “be happy to work for” the local breweries, what do you mean? Are you currently an accountant who wants to continue to be an accountant, but do so for a brewery? Well, that might not be too tough a switch. Are you currently a dental hygienist who wants to become a brewer? Well, that’s a tougher sell. Want to work on a packaging line? Marketing? Are you willing to be a tour guide? Are you willing to spend your entire day simply cleaning up the brewery floor?

Keep in mind, the final product is awesome, but these are businesses. Basically, anything a consumer packaged goods company may need, a brewery will, too, although maybe on a smaller scale.

Ok ok,
Well I AM an accountant currently but I would say my focus would be in the science of brewing. I plan to some day soon take a master brewers course but until I can afford it I need to learn as much as I can. I for now would just be happy to be in the door pushing a broom or mop. But I would hope to be brewing, bottling, canning, filtering, or anything else that deal directly with the product. But at this point I know enough that I would not like sales or doing the company bookkeeping. I do bring my bookkeeping and inventory skills to the table and I know that is important when dealing with the large scale brewing but I understand that I will most likely just be the low man on the totem pole for a good bit.

I had not heard of Glassdoor until now so I will indeed look at it.

AS for “prepare as it were any other job”, I have had the job I am at for over 8 years and the job market have changed. I feel a bit out of my element when researching as the places I knew about or used back then are far out dated. Also seeing that this is a new industry for me the contacts and connections I know are no help. I do know a few people in the home brew community and have talked to a few guys at the local breweries but as for preparing for an interview and knowing what skills could be useful to an brewing employer, well that’s all new as well.

I would suggest you go all out for establishing a home brewery to have fun with before you take the big step of quitting a fairly decent job. Once your home brewery is paid for you can continue your life style and have fun. This would sure beat cutting your income by 50%, or more, and not being able to afford home brewing. If this doesn’t give you the change to your lifestyle you are wishing for, go for a brewery job.

tons of good info over on forum. There are literally dozens of threads of real advice from real $500.00/month brewers, cellarmen, etc. advising starry-eyed homebrewers of the realities of their lifestyle and profession. Its hard, back-breaking, low-paying work for a product that is ‘heavy n’ cheap’.

One thing I would say to be careful of: put yourself in the shoes of the brewery/owner. You are a candidate who has training in a professional skill and are willing to ‘push a mop’. Why would they hire an accountant to push a mop and not a guy who wants to push a mop and push it well? You will likely want to move on at some point into the science of brewing/production, etc.

The angle I would push for is pro bono work for these breweries and doing their books. Most brewers (and most smaller scale entrepreneurs for that matter) are not numbers people, and you do have a value-add there.

Good luck! You are asking the right questions. Spend some time on probrewer and learn more of the right ones to ask.