In response to Sam A . . . .
I used to be a brewer and have been formerly trained at one of the Brew Schools that you're talking about and you are correct in noting that the teachers there and other brewing professionals
. . "have bachelors if not masters degrees in microbiology, chemical engineering, or food sciences."
and yes, they are willing to work for those wages. Do note however that many of the instructor that have moved into the educational sector are more than likely being more highly compensated than your average brewer.
When I first entered the brewing industry out of school in 1996, I was offered a assistant brewers position in a NC brewery for $17.5k that would lead to a Head-Brewer Position making ~$22k. When I turned down the position the owners were bewildered. My feeling at the time were the same as yours.
I went on to work at several other breweries over the next several years. Originally, all the positions that I landed were salaried positions and none reached above $25k. The problem, as I have just mentioned was that all my positions were salaried. My hours continually ran long 50h/wk was light, 80h/wk
was average and 100+/wk were not unheard of. You can do the calculations and figure out that on an average week I was just above minimum wage. When I called my employer on it I got frowned upon and was basically told I was not a team player.
Some of the other's mentioned the benefits and they are correct but you need to realistically weigh what "perks" your brewery may be offering.
Originally, I entered the brewing industry for my passion for beer and brewing and ultimately I left the industry for the reasons that are being discussed on this post. When people ask me about my experiences in the brewing industry, I say its a love hate relationship where you're overworked and underpaid. As long as there is someone out there willing to do what you are for what you're making or less, the salaries will never increase.