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Thread: Volunteer Work in Brewery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1

    Volunteer Work in Brewery

    Hi,

    I am a software engineer and homebrewer that suddenly finds himself out of a job. Luckily, my employer has given me a generous severance package which will support me for a few months.

    I cannot imagine spending 8 hours a day 5 days a week answering want ads and applying for jobs, so I was considering volunteering my time at a local brewpub or brewery one day a week for a change of pace.

    I have no desire to become a professional brewer, but there are quite a few talented brewers in my area that I could learn a great deal from in order to improve my homebrewing skills.

    I know all the brewers in my city and visit them once every few months to see what's up, so they know who I am.

    Is volunteering to help out in the brewery a good idea for the brewer? the business? for me? I would think that having an assistant would be a good thing, but perhaps I'd be getting in the way more than helping. Also, once I found a new engineering job I would no longer be able to help. Are there insurance concerns or labor laws that would be a problem? Should I go directly to the brewer with my proposal, or should I "apply" through the normal channels of the brewpub/brewery management? I realize that I would probably be cleaning out mash-tuns and mopping the floor, but that's OK if I am learning too.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Berlin, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    351
    Conventional wisdom says "no", because breweries are places where it's quite possible to get hurt, and non-employees aren't covered by insurance.

    Still, brewers can be "the hell with rules" kinda people. I know that about five years ago, I hurt my back while working as the brewer in a brewpub in Virginia (lifting a keg wrong, ouch!), and wasn't able to work for a couple of days. I had to come back to work before healing fully, though, because I had to make the beer! A local homebrewer who I had met at a homebrew club party offered to come in and help me with the heavy lifting (he did shovel a lot of grain!), and together we were able to brew a bunch of beer and have a good time doing it.

    I've been a production brewer in a couple of different microbreweries as well, and can testify that it's nice having company while working a brewing shift solo!

    So, without expecting much, go ask your local brewers if you can come hang out and learn something. They might surprise you!

    Cheers, Tim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    30
    From what I am reading, I don't think you would want to do the work that makes up the majority of a brewers job(cleaning, racking, cleaning, shoveling, cleaning etc.). With that said, maybe you could do some knowledge trading, i.e. trade some time doing IT work for a pub, in return for some one on one training in the brewhouse. If that doesn't work, see if you can schedule a brewing short course.
    Although I thought Mr Hops was kind of hasrsh, he is right, the abundance of free, short term, labor, is one of the things keeping brewers wages down.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    1,566
    Portions of this thread have been removed due to the unproductive nature and tone of the conversation.

    The ProBrewer Discussion Boards are for an exchange of ideas, opinions, advice and thoughts related to and relevant to the craft and specialty beer business. ProBrewer respects differences in opinions and encourages users to express their opposing point of views. Users are free to disagree in a mature and professional manner. Insults, trite and derogatory comments or innuendos are not allowed and will be removed from the forum.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Riverbank, California
    Posts
    5
    I agree with tarmadilo, on solo shifts company can be welcome if it isn't a busy day. There are several times that I have had homebrewers come in hang out and shadow me around for a shift to see if they can learn a thing or two. I have always viewed it as a great consumer relations opportunity for the brewery.

    Talk to your local brewers. I think you will get a much better reception to hanging out discussing brewing than volunteering your custodial services one day a week.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Macomb,Oklahoma
    Posts
    97

    Volunteer Work

    We all work volunteerly. But in the US it is ilegal to allow someone to work for no pay except not for profit org's(just because the brewery dosnt make money they are still for profit). And all the other labor laws apply. Insurance would be the big concern for any business that allows non owners to work without being covered by insurance program.

    Doug
    Doug A Moller
    Brewmaster
    Doug's Brau Haus
    (405)226-3111

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