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Thread: The Brewers Culture

  1. #1
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    Jun 2003
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    The Brewers Culture

    I am writing an article on The Brewers Culture. There have been numerous threads here on how you got into the biz, what you did before, etc. I would like to know the reasons you stay in this biz: flexible hours, autonomy, creativity, pros and cons of the brewers world.

    Do you like to work 60 hours one week and 20 the next? Include everything you can, stream of consciousness, bullshit, ramble on, go for it. For a finish; what would you do to change your environment? Please don't say you'd have an endless supply of (hop variety here) for $4.00 a pound.

    My interest is at its base; what makes us do what we do.

    Thank you in advance. I'll post my article here first.
    Last edited by beertje46; 10-18-2007 at 10:32 AM. Reason: content
    Cheers & I'm out!
    David R. Pierce
    NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
    POB 343
    New Albany, IN 47151

  2. #2
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    116 views and no responses? AlexisScarlett tells me my post may have come off like a home work assignment so I changed the wording a bit.
    Cheers & I'm out!
    David R. Pierce
    NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
    POB 343
    New Albany, IN 47151

  3. #3
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    Nov 2003
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    Hyattsville,MD
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    This is not original but the old" a bad day in the brewhouse still beats mosts days at any other job"....though I've read a few stories on here that might make me pull that statement back. Overall, I would have to say from working in a brewpub environment that I enjoy the interaction with a working restaurant, the flexibility in making your work schedule and being humbled everyday when you realized no matter how much you learn about brewing beer you still don't know jack. The passion to get better is what drives me, knowing that if you keep an open mind to the industry as a whole you can grow beyond your wildest dreams. The people are also what keeps me here, and by that I mean other brewers, it's inspiring when I meet someone that's been doing this since before I was legally able to drink, they're some of the best people I have ever known and the best people I've ever encountered in any industry.

    All in all, how can you hate your job if you're product is what you and others love, it's a win-win.
    Cheers,
    Mike Roy
    Brewer
    Franklins Restaurant,Brewery & General Store
    Hyattsville,MD

    Franklinsbrewery.com
    @franklinsbrwry
    facebook.com/franklinsbrewery
    Franklinsbrewery.blogspot.com

  4. #4
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    Jul 2006
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    Oconomowoc, WI USA
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    Back in 1992 I was an egger, young engineering student living in a Midwestern city. I was looking for a part-time job for a little extra spending money. Posted on the job board was a position at a local brewpub for a keg washer, and you know what I was thinking, free beer!
    After a few months of keg washing I was promoted to an assistant position and a few months after that I was offered the head brewer position. At that time I had to make the decision whether I should continue school of become a brewer. Within three hours I became the new head brewer, my decision; if brewing was no longer fun Iíd go back to school. Fifteen years later I am still having fun.
    Brewing incorporates everything I enjoy, it is creative, it is chemistry, it is microbiology, and it is engineering.
    I have traveled from coast to coast living a minimalist lifestyle, because you have to being a brewer, you know what I mean. I married my career and I still love it as much, and some times even more that the day we met.
    Brewing beer is like being a rock star, less the drugs, sex, and money.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2006
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    Sutton, Mass
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    Beer Culture type thing

    I'll start by saying that I am relatively new to being a professional brewer. I graduated from brewing school only about a year and a half ago. I have lots of experience working in Pharmaceuticals, Environmental Labs, and general chemistry type stuff. So I am going to run with this concept, who knows where it will go, but here I go.

    Why are weeks that are 20 hrs, then the next 80 hrs good, why do I wake up at 4:45 AM to drive and hour and 20 minutes to double brew and get home at midnight, why am I not working my nice cushy old job (that I could do standing on my head) and make far more money than I am now... Simple... Love.

    It is not the love of beer necessarily but the love of brewing. OK I love beer, I admit it, but I love brewing instead. Back when I was strictly a home brewer I would brew a batch of beer and have 1 or 2 bottles of it. I'd give the rest away. It was something I could make, make well enough that people liked it, and I enjoyed making it. I even enjoyed home brewing when it was below 0 F, just because I had a brew day scheduled and I was crazy enough to brew two batches that day (nothing quite like your water line freezing while chilling wort!) I eventually took the next step and went into brewing full time, or some weeks part time... it really depends on the week.

    Another thing is the atmosphere of brewers. In the world of Pharmaceuticals folks are not so nice. If you have a problem, can you talk to a competitor and they will help you out. Heck there have been cases of one brewer even lending a hand to get another brewer in the next town over brewery running again. You don't find the not as cut throat feeling in most places.

    I am running out of steam while writing this stream of consciousness, but the last comment you said was to comment on what to do to make the industry better. On the craft side, very little. Maybe we can work more together to promote our product. But we are doing tons of that already... beyond that I am stumped. Maybe once I get over my honeymoon period things will change. But I love my job, and I would not trade it for anything in the world!
    Dammy Olsson
    Foolproof Brewing
    Pawtucket, RI

  6. #6
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    [COLOR=DarkOrange]



    Working is for people who Cant brew!
    cheers,

    Lijah Foregger
    lbeer2@rocketmail.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damase
    I am running out of steam while writing this stream of consciousness, but the last comment you said was to comment on what to do to make the industry better. But I love my job, and I would not trade it for anything in the world!
    Nice response as all have been.

    What I actually said was "For a finish; what would you do to change your environment?" I feel we all work toward making the industry better, how would you change where you work to make it better?
    Cheers & I'm out!
    David R. Pierce
    NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
    POB 343
    New Albany, IN 47151

  8. #8
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    Jun 2006
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    Sutton, Mass
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    Make my personal environment better

    OK, I see what you are interested in now. For me that is a tough question to answer. There are only two people who work at the brewery, me and the owner. So any change that I can create I am doing. There are things I might like to change, but can not.

    I'd love to have a marketing arm, right now I spend many a weekend doing festivals and tastings, but I know there is that silly little cost thing involved. Of course having the brewer show up at a tasting or festival promotes your product more and more. I'd love to have a little tasting room at the brewery, so we don't turn away folks who want a tour (a little state law is involved here.)

    As of right now I have changed everything I can, the next thing to change at the brewery are the big esoteric items. How do I get more people to drink my beer. Once I solve that problem then all the rest will begin to fall in place. But that takes time and patience... I have plenty of both. I'm a brewer and I ain't goin' anywhere for a while.
    Dammy Olsson
    Foolproof Brewing
    Pawtucket, RI

  9. #9
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    Oct 2002
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    Richmond, VA
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    226
    I started brewing when I lived in Richmond, VA, at Legend Brewing Company. After a few years there, my wife got accepted to Harvard and we moved to Cambridge, MA (later, to Boston). I immediately looked for brewing jobs there, but there were no openings. I took a job as a carpenter for a stained glass studio, then got a job as a carpenter/welder at a scenic studio. We lived in Boston for five years, and over that time I kept looking for brewing jobs in the area Ė interviewed twice at Harpoon. Since I couldnít get hired as a brewer in Boston, I decided to start my own brewery and hire myself.

    For me, the inspiration to start my own brewery comes from two sources: 1) a passion for creativity; and 2) a compelling desire for freedom.

    Iíve always loved working and creating things with my hands. Pride in craftsmanship is very strong with me and whenever I witnessed a beer drinker really enjoying a beer that we brewed at Legend, I felt very proud of what I and my co-brewers had created Ė not just that beer, but also the drinkerís experience of that beer. I think that is what really drives me in this craft and what made me pursue those brewing gigs and ultimately to start Bavarian Barbarian Brewing Company. Itís all just so I can create an enjoyable product for people (an audience, if you will) to experience. Because there are so many styles and so many creative possibilities in brewing, I just naturally latched onto it.

    The desire for freedom comes from a combination of a sustained frustration and ever-growing ennui in working for other people. Over the last few years before starting the Barbarian, I felt increasingly trapped in my jobs. Someone else telling me I had to be somewhere at a specific time every day, telling me what to do and how to do it and always reminding me of the consequences of failing to follow those directions began to weigh heavily on my consciousness. Basically, my boss was an asshole and the job was driving me crazy. Now, a few weeks away from our first brew, Iíve never felt more free. After regarding freedom as an abstract idea for most of my life, to finally get to experience this level of freedom is amazing. Even through all the disappointments, delays and struggles of starting this brewery, I canít help but feel an overwhelming joy of freedom. Iím free to really get my creative ya-yas. I enjoy work Ė even hard work Ė and I have the freedom to set my own standards for that work.

    Freedom and creativity seem to abound in the craft beer industry and as long as I can channel that freedom and creativity into my customersí experiences of good beer, I probably wonít grow tired of it. Those are "the reasons I stay in this biz."

    Oh, and Iím really digging starting a business and making money.
    Mike Hiller, Head Brewer
    Strangeways Brewing
    2277-A Dabney Road
    Richmond, VA 23230
    804-303-4336
    www.strangewaysbrewing.com

  10. #10
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    Jun 2003
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    Seeing how we've added a few new faces I wanted to get this kick started again.

    Maybe I could have gotten more response if I'd claimed to be a noob homebrewer.
    Cheers & I'm out!
    David R. Pierce
    NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
    POB 343
    New Albany, IN 47151

  11. #11
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    Jan 2004
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    St.Louis->Tacoma
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    633

    Ramblings

    For me creativity plays a huge part of why i stay in "The Biz", not only the writing recipes part but being able to play the MacGyver role. You know tackling those odd problems that can't wait to be "fixed right" because hundreds of gallons of beer is at stake if you don't rig something up right away.

    I have always liked to tinker with stuff, like turning Stomper truck motors into helicopters when i was 8, or plugging the Stomper truck motor into the wall just to see what would happen. "ziiwinnnnnnng.. POP, crakle, frizzle..'mom what happened to the lights?" I also loved my job at this little money pit ice rink, besides the free ice time to perfect my slapshot and the figure skaters , i taught myself alot about how to make things work with what i had. The Zamboni was over 50 years old, i won't even bore you with all the tinkering and rigging i did in that place. Then there was the computer tech job, arrrg!!

    Brewing allows me to be that kid franksnsteining Stomper trucks, constantly finding new uses for everyday objects, ways to improve upon things, make things easier, or sometimes harder , but always learning something in the process. Brewing is a living evolving science, career, hobby, dead show (Thanks Sirius 32), news room (Thanks NPR), classroom, social network (Thanks Probrewer), way of life, and did i mention they pay me to do this.

    I have to thank Probrewer once more, and Mark Sprigg for an Awesome Letter of Reccomendation for my current job. The position was posted here on Probrewer. Once i applied, my prospective employer actually read through all of my posts, which in turn led to me being interviewed and offered the job...
    Q music, cut to commercial.
    Last edited by Jephro; 01-22-2008 at 09:44 AM.
    Jeff Byrne

    12 year pro craft brewer *NOW available for hire...
    Auburn, Wa - for now

  12. #12
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    Oct 2002
    Location
    N.O.LA. usa
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    becouse

    well in responce to your request , i think the reason we / me the brewer
    makes beer instead of pushing a pencil is that , every day there is something new and interesting to do or learn .
    at the same time i am serving my fellow man with a -VITAL - means of
    pleasurable liquid .it is also the responce you get when you tell someone who does not make beer like , bankers - stockbrokers ect...
    what you do
    for a living and they say i wish i was doing that . or you are so lucky
    If ever i get frustrated or discouraged about my job , i think of those things
    and its instantly -----all good----

    cheers and hope that helps
    cheers,

    Lijah Foregger
    lbeer2@rocketmail.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Copenhagen
    Posts
    269

    Real

    Brewing is a craft. It allows me to remain grounded. Every day is different and it never gets boring, at least no yet.

  14. #14
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    Jan 2008
    Posts
    34
    Opened the brewery late last year after 6 months of renovations to a retail space in a strip mall. Previously, I worked as a mechanical engineer for 10 years in a foundry. Whenever I ask myself why I would go through all the crap that I have endured over the past year, I picture myself back in the cubicle, surrounded by people with bad attitudes never wanting anymore to life than they already have. I yearned for the freedom and to be one of the few guys that made it our over those prison walls. Now we sell a ton of beer to those same guys and I hope their lives are happier because of it.

    When I look back, it is just for a split second to reflect, the back to the beer world. I try to apply all the stuff I learned over the past 10 years engineering and hope to some day have a monster PLC controlled brewery with tanks as far as the eye can see, and beer trucks lined up outside waiting to be filled. For now I will settle on delivering beer in my Ford Ranger, clean toilets, mop floors, sweat over the kettle, shovel the mash tun, scrub tanks, tweak recipes, and love every minute of it.

  15. #15
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    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
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    962
    I would die in a cubicle, I need to work with my hands, be creative and use the all the science education I endured. One can never know everything about brewing, so you have guaranteed mental stimulation for life. Yet further, never need a gym membership. That is the formula for a long life-physical stimulation, mental stimulation and a couple beers a day!

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