View Full Version : Pay rates

10-18-2002, 10:23 AM
I recently got hired at a brew pub and the starting pay was less than fair in my opinion and i am wondering what a fair wage would be? I am in charge of filtration, bottling, kegging and will soon be brewing batches of beer on my own on a 10 bbl system. Thanks

10-18-2002, 10:23 AM
if you are luckey $10.00 hr.

10-18-2002, 10:24 AM
I think you have to look at that from another site. As we all know, brewing in a brewpub, and as you do on a 10 BBL system, is a lot of beer to sell. So, unless you are not 100% bussy in the Brewery, you should offer to help in the Restaurant, at the Bar, help with promotional events, spent time at the Restaurant and Bar talking to customers etc. Also, do you train the servers in so called "Brew-school", so they know how to answer customers questions on beer? After all of that, I think you will be paid VERRY well, no Owner let you leave than. Fred
From: Fred

10-18-2002, 10:25 AM
Here is a site that has some information on pay rates. http://www.abgbrew.com/faq.html

If you are an assistant brewer, then obviously you won't make as much as the Brewmaster or Head Brewer in the establishment. Brewing is a difficult industry to survive in, for both brewers and owners and it may be that the brewery you are at now just can't afford a higher rate. If this is the case, then stay for a while, learn what you can and move on when the time is right. Keep in mind though, that brewing is not the best paying career out there.

Good luck.

10-18-2002, 10:25 AM
You've touched on a point that is at the core of why the "brew-pub" industry is failing. It's a resturant industry...and a living wage is always going to be rare, hence, brewers will be transient,less experianced, and the general product quality suffers, as it has.

From: Mike

10-27-2002, 10:06 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Guest
[B]You've touched on a point that is at the core of why the "brew-pub" industry is failing. It's a resturant industry...and a living wage is always going to be rare, hence, brewers will be transient,less experianced, and the general product quality suffers, as it has.

Sorry but you are wrong!

Living wages are not rare and in fact are out there. It just depends on how you live. While being a brewer will never make you rich it has its rewards. If you got into brewing for money, then I might say you got in to the wrong business.

10-27-2002, 01:10 PM
If I were in it for the money, I wouldn't still be doing this after 14 years. I know several other brewers who have as much experiance as I do who are making about 25k after working for the same brewerys for at least 4 years. It's all fine as long as you don't hope to buy a home or have kids (and don't live in California). As it is, you'll only be worth as much as the other resturant employee , who can be trained to do your job.
Drink up dreamers...your runnin' dry.

Sam A
10-27-2002, 06:14 PM
Maybe I'm confused, but I've been looking into the brew schools and a lot of the people who teach there and have worked in the industry have bachelors if not masters degrees in microbiology, chemical engineering, or food sciences. Some of the diploma courses require you to at least have a degree in the sciences. Do people with this level education really work in the brewing industry for roughly the same pay rate I made working at the local hardware store while in high school??? I understand that you may never get "rich", but why would anyone sink money and time into an industry where there is no return on investment?? How do all these microbreweries and brewpubs get started without a little VC? I look at breweries like Harpoon, Sierra Nevada, Dogfish, Saranac, Victory, and Magic Hat. They seem like they're doing well enough to pay their employees more than an average 30k. Sorry if I sound a little bewildered, but the comments above make it seems like the brewer beats out the starving artist in their desperate dedication to thier craft.

10-28-2002, 04:30 AM
The wages in the brewing industry can seem like they are low when compared to the amount of money a brewhouse can generate. But dont forget it cost money to run a business.

If you are a Micro/Regional you generate less money per barrel then does a brewpub. They have to sell their beer by the 6pk or keg and will not fetch the same $ for the product as I will selling it across the bar for $3 per pint.

But in the restaurant business while the brewery runs a lower COG for raw materials the beer is usually only about 15-20% of the entire revenue for the company. All the other departments make up the bulk of the revenue with a much higher COG (Kitchens can run as high as 30-35%) as well as the labor pool at 20%. Overhead for the building can kill also if you are on a lease, there is the POS system (probably a lease also) etc...
When all is said and done alot comes in but alot goes out.

There is more to the job then the pay, look for the benefits. My employer pays for my insurance 100% and has a 401K with a match. We are a small brewpub (500bbls last year) so that is not a bad deal. I am also compensated in other ways such as free meals and pints (that can add up quickly), as well as several trips a year such as the CBC, GABF and other festivals.

The job is what you make it, and it is a blast.

10-28-2002, 11:51 AM
It seems pay rates have really not changed much in the brewery industry. Not enough to match increased cost of living in most areas of the U.S. We have probably lost a lot of great brewers because of this.

Is there a Union for craft brewers? Does any one know anything going on in this dept?

10-28-2002, 04:33 PM
You forgot the part about since you know how to brew you must also be the resident fix it guy!

11-04-2002, 01:52 PM
Opps . . . I posted a response to this conversation here


Michael Murphy
11-04-2002, 05:55 PM
Having started my own brewery And I have a pub already, I now Take only 250$ a week for my self. The rest goes into paying bills and more bills. I brew about 6 times a week and I clean and keg about 100 times a week. I have to say though I love it. And at least I'm not getting rich but more importantly I'm not making anyone else rich.

11-05-2002, 04:25 PM
Brewers at my brewpub get maybe $10 to $15 per hour plus beer. Sometimes more. Pay does not seem to necessarliy correlate with quality work. At least they are making more than I am. Beer is too cheap on the West Coast. We deserve to make more than $4 a pint on a beer that is laborously made from scratch, especially when New Yorkers pay $5.50 a pint.

Michael Murphy
11-06-2002, 01:31 AM
I'm selling mine for 4.00$-4.50$ a pint. I have a huge malt shipping expense. About 150$ for every 2000lbs of malt. But thats the going rate for a pint in Rome.

02-04-2005, 08:50 PM
I say we jump on the band wagon and get bush to drop a lot of the taxing on alcohol so we can all make some money. because wether you think your boss is rich or not, if he owns just a brewery hes probably not. Hey i only make 8, and i love my job.

Larry Horwitz
02-07-2005, 04:51 AM
I have been in the industry for over 10 years, and i am here to tell you that you can (that's right) you can earn a decent living as a brewer. Some things to keep in mind:

1. if you are way underpaid (BAA says that average is about 40K for a well trained head brewer) GET OUT! Some owners will just never understand the value of a skilled competent brewer. Don't try and train. Just leave.
2. Good organizations pay based on perfomance (at least a little) and give bonus and benifits. If you aren't getting these things, leave.
3. if you can't travel...get used to your pay. In this business you must be able to move markets to get an increase.
4. Don't brew in California...not only is the cost of living nuts, it seems to be the one state where brewers make mim wage.
5. Go bigger. Bigger breweries have bigger budgets, pay higher wages.
6. Be a professional team member. You can't expect to make a great wage if you just show up, make wort, and leave.

While you may never get rich as a brewer, managing your carreer while working hard and smart will help you keep eating...buy a house, and raise your kids.

02-07-2005, 10:02 AM
Thanks for a good positive messege. I love to brew, money does not mean to much but yes it is important. Unfortanatly i do live in california. Half my pay goes to rent and food is so expensive. Thank fully i live in Chico and i don't have to drive much which saves me lots of money. Bike riding keeps me healthy and active also. I am finding the biggest problem is to further my education while working fulltime and having a family. But you know i love my wife and kid and my job. And i have fun at work and with my fellow employees, which i can say i never felt at any other job. Brewing is a rich buisness, just not a very profitable one in california.

03-25-2005, 10:24 AM
I agree with Larry. You can make a good living in the brewing industry. You can earn good money working for a 500 bbl a year brewery, and you can make good money working for a 500,000 bbl a year company. You can even make good money working in CA.

I have been brewing since 1991. My pay rate has increased in comjunction with my experience. Keep in mind that there are many brewers out there, willing to work for less NOW, so they may one day earn more based on the experience they gained while employed.

It's pretty simple really. In 1995 my brother graduated from law school. He earned less then, than I did, because he had no experience in his chosen field. Ten years later, he has his own law firm. You have to start somewhere, and as long as you are committed, willing to learn, and have a strong work ethic, you will eventually get what you earn.

By the way, I will be hiring an assistant brewer in June. The starting pay is $25,000 a year with health and paid vac., which is a hell of a lot more than I made as an assistant brewer in '91, '92, '93, '94 and '95. I know, that was ten years ago, but I got paid $8.00 an hour with little or no benefits.

03-27-2005, 05:33 PM
After 12 years in the industry learning how to do everything from bankruptcy law to 3 phase electrical, you can open your own brewery and 6 years later buy a home in California and make a reasonable living.
Don't expect the hours per week to change much! Consider that $10 per hour cheaper than paying to go to school! The more you understand the cash flow and profit in a brewery/brewpub, the more you will be armed to make the case for a more productive deal for you and the mgmt. This understanding will pay you back for the rest of your career.

09-13-2005, 10:18 AM
I love it.
All these guys out there who say "it's great, you can make a good wage working in a brewery" ....don't say how much they make.
Hey,...it's all what you make (or make-up) of it .
Delusion can be a very happy, comfy place.I find most prospective professional brewers completley un-realistic about brewing jobs.

Larry Horwitz
09-14-2005, 07:47 AM
head brewers in our company make in the 40-60k range with bonus, full medical, dental, 401k with matching, paid vacation, reimbursment for education expenses, mbaa memberships, trip to GABF, trip to CBC, comp in the restaurant, milage....best brewing job ever.

09-14-2005, 08:22 AM
head brewers in our company make in the 40-60k range with bonus, full medical, dental, 401k with matching, paid vacation, reimbursment for education expenses, mbaa memberships, trip to GABF, trip to CBC, comp in the restaurant, milage....best brewing job ever.

Com'on.....You gotta know that rare extreemes are the exception.