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Team JJ
09-03-2010, 05:02 PM
Hi, all.
I was just wondering if you guys and gals would be willing to share some info on what a brew master should expect to receive as compensation for their labor. i.e. wages, bennies, and should the brew master be expected to pay for their beer over and above the shiftie?

This is a small brew pub in a tourist town with a high cost of living.

Thanks in advance, JJ

Team JJ
09-03-2010, 05:03 PM
Oh, and we will probably be producing around 600 bbl/ yr.

el_mocoso
09-03-2010, 05:30 PM
All Brewers should get free beer.

GlacierBrewing
09-03-2010, 05:39 PM
Hi, all.
I was just wondering if you guys and gals would be willing to share some info on what a brew master should expect to receive as compensation for their labor. i.e. wages, bennies, and should the brew master be expected to pay for their beer over and above the shiftie?

This is a small brew pub in a tourist town with a high cost of living.

Thanks in advance, JJ


Hi JJ,
Well, first and foremost, regardless of what "a brew master should be expected" to receive, at 600bbls a year your bottom line may not support a salary more than, oh, around $11 an hour.
As a head brewer in a small production brewery affected by a seasonal customer flow (much like Leadville), I would love to get health insurance, 401K, paid vacation, etc. That's what I'd like to get. The bottom line drives all. It is a difficult balance to strike: paying your talent enough so they feel appreciated but not so much so that it bleeds the company.

As far as free beer over and above the shiftie; unless this person is in a ownership position (shareholder, partner, etc), I would not give carte blanche. The company/owners bought the ingredients, paid for the utilities, paid the payroll. They own the beer, not the brewer. Maybe establish a weekly or monthly beer budget for employees. And make sure ALL beer, including shifties, are "run through the register" and accounted for. Your accountant and TTB agent will thank you!


Prost!
Dave

Tash
09-04-2010, 01:02 AM
Generally as a matter of respect your 'Brewmaster' should have access to the product that they create. Remember that this is the person that makes the beer. Keep in mind that this person can spill more beer in a mishap than they could manage to drink in a year.

It is just a sign of good will.

That being said the abuse of free beer is it's own issue. Some brewers are very poor at using good judgement so you'll have to find someone who does not have a pre-disposition to over consumption.

Tash

kugeman
09-04-2010, 07:05 AM
I worked as head brewer in a busy tourist town producing less than 500 bbl annually for several years.

It depends alot on the age & experience of the brewer. Any good company should offer some sort of health benefit package. I always viewed benefits (health & vacation) as being worth 3-4K a year. So adjust the rest of what I'm saying accordingly. These are based on a job with at least some form of benefits.

If it's a young brewer (say 26-27 yrs old) with only "assistant brewer" experience then I would say 24-28K. 22K is the very bottom I would think is acceptable. But for someone over 30 yrs old, even with limited experience I would think 28-32K.

If you've got someone in the early to mid 30's with several years experience as a brewmaster? I would say 35K is the absolute minimum. 38-40K is better.

And no matter how experienced and great at your job, how much recognition & business you bring in, the brewmaster will probably never make over 45K in this situation.

Keep in mind though, there are other ways to structure compensation besides just salary. There's equity, sales bonuses, budget efficiency bonuses, etc...

These are very ballpark figures, it really depends on the person and the position. When I was a 27 yr old trying to find a job, I was thrilled when someone offered me $10/hr. I have no idea how I lived on that at the time... :rolleyes:

As far as free beer goes? Usually a little common sense plays into it. I always felt like pints & growler fills should be free for me. But kegs I paid at least cost (not wholesale cost, but just real cost). I tried to be responsible in my consumption. Always off the clock, but that was a personal choice. I know brewers that enjoy a beer (responsibly) at lunch.

Do a search, at one point on probrewer there was a survey about pay scale...

Sulfur
09-04-2010, 09:27 AM
My Saturday morning 2cents. Pay for beer? Yes, owning a brewpub/brewery is an expensive ballsy endeavor (that sometimes can pay off nicely). A lot of capital flows out and hopefully back in. There's labor, equipment, spare parts, real estate, investors, banks, repairs, taxes, taxes, operating losses, and raw materials to pay for...I imagine, I'm a beer brewer not owner. But the raw materials involved in making one glass or two of beer are what? Minimal. The beer left in the bottom of tanks, the beer lost during transfers, not to mention inherent losses during production (e.g. in the whirlpool) etc. vastly out-proportion what a brewer drinks while sampling the beer. A pint or two or three or four at the end of the day is negligible!

There's probably some accounting term for it, but you cannot say you lost X amount of dollars by not selling a beer. That's like a company saying they made a million dollars because they had it left over at the end of the year i.e. they did not spend it - and they had it to begin with. They didn't make the money, they just didn't spend it.

A brewery/brewpub will make a given amount of money dependent on many variables like time of year and week, seats available, competition, marketing, size of brewery, tanks available, accounts available, kegs avail, etc. I can walk in on Monday and look at the numbers and say if it was a good weekend or not. Taken out over a long period such as a year, and looking at the statistics, then you can estimate how much money you stand to make in a given time period. Whether or not you make more beer. As long as the supply is more than the demand, then you are not losing money by using some of that supply in negligible amounts such as for the guys or gals responsible for making it!

farmbrewernw
09-05-2010, 02:06 PM
I'm a brewer not an owner as well. I will say that sometimes I think it's kind of ridiculous that I have to pay for a keg of beer even when I rarely if ever drink my shifties, but I think I may be abnormal in that regard. I have known brewers that have totally taken advantage of their drinking privileges. Sure we waste a lot more beer than we could ever drink, that's not really the point, the point is that there are some out there that if given the option to have as much free beer as they want would abuse that to the fullest. Abuse may come in the form of giving free beer to friends constantly or over consumption by your brewer. To an extent you have to be prone to it, my dad is a recovering alcoholic, but given the chance to drink as much free beer as they wanted some brewers would more than likely become useless. Should a brewer be able to get a keg free or at a severely reduced rate (cost) now an again? I think so, but should they get as much as they want? Probably not unless they are the owner.

To respond to the wage question, I'm 28 and have been a brewer for a year now. i make $12 and hour no benefits, to me I would say a head brewer should be making around $35k-$40k a year with benefits (at a small establishment) and someone like me should be making $20k-$30k a year with benefits. I'll admit that I don't work in the most ideal wage situation but circumstances at this time keep me here, I will say that without formal training this job has allowed me to get a great deal of experience, I look at it as paid schooling. Your probably going to find people like me that initially will take lower pay just to get the experience, but remember, if you want to keep good brewers they have to be rewarded over time.

Natrat
09-05-2010, 07:34 PM
Way to shoot yourself (and me) in the foot, dude.

I think brewers should all make six figure salaries and be celebrated by the public. We provide WAY more entertainment per dollar than those richer-than-god hollywood stars.

Now, pardon me while I go make twelve cents scrubbing this kettle, the beer's a waitin'!

Nat

drewseslu
09-06-2010, 09:09 AM
What a loaded topic...But I guess I'll weigh in anyway.
I'll be 27 next week and have been doing this since I was 23. My first job started at $8/hr with no benefits, my last/first head brewer gig was at a nanobrewery where I made 150bbls the first year and we were on pace for 225 this year before it closed. There I made $10/hr with no benefits. That whole time I worked at another brewery first as cellarman, and then was promoted to production brewer and only then did I recieve benefits and compensation in line with what has been mentioned above.
The next project I tackle, despite being under 30, I will insist on that compensation scale (however, the ambition of the project will more than justify it).
As far as the beer issue is concerned, depending on the job it has ranged from only a shiftie, to a 'beer card' for tracking, up to however much I wanted.

brewery master
09-06-2010, 08:01 PM
you want to look for a brewer every year?great brewers are rare my 30 years brewing speaks for it,s self.my beer sells for more should i get paid more?the best thing to do here is to find a semi-retired brew master,pay them based on sales.quality demands a higher price.i,d love to make some out standing brews for this place to demonstrate what real beer tastes like.you need to find a great brewer to come in on company, the only long term solution.don,t ever think making great beer is easy,too many people wanting to get in the beer buis.4 out of 5 fail in 5 yrs.this brewer goes so do your clients.

farmbrewernw
09-07-2010, 09:24 AM
Way to shoot yourself (and me) in the foot, dude.

I think brewers should all make six figure salaries and be celebrated by the public. We provide WAY more entertainment per dollar than those richer-than-god hollywood stars.

Now, pardon me while I go make twelve cents scrubbing this kettle, the beer's a waitin'!

Nat
Heh, totally really what I meant to say is that I should be making $60k a year with full benefits and 4 weeks paid vacation :rolleyes:

GlacierBrewing
09-07-2010, 10:44 AM
Heh, totally really what I meant to say is that I should be making $60k a year with full benefits and 4 weeks paid vacation :rolleyes:
HEAR HEAR!!:D

v2comp
09-07-2010, 11:50 AM
as a wise man once told me; "you're only worth what you will work for", and he was right!
So whatever you think you are worth as a brewer, you should never accept a job that pays less than that and then complain about it or do a half assed job of it.
I do believe that if you as an owner hire someone in good faith and lead them to believe that there is a bigger picture that includes them eventually being able to make enough to actually survive and maybe even prosper as a brewer, then you should do your best to take care of that person.

in my limited experience and in my opinion, I didnt actually get into the brewing business for "money", I did it because I love the idea and practice of brewing and drinking beer. if I wanted to go back to making money, I would get back to using my Mechanical Engineering degree for something more lucrative, like my last business.

Jephro
09-07-2010, 12:23 PM
12 years ago while in college i started a gig working on the construction of a brewery funded by a pub on the property. We made $6.00/hour and were eventually given free room and board on the third floor. Working the door in the pub and bartending supplemented my income (not to mention the student loans i still owe on). When the brewery finally opened my best friend and myself (homebrewers) got the "assistant" gigs running the show for a whopping $7.50/hour.

I spent the next 5-6 years looking for the right gig working 40 hours in breweries and another 20 bartending just to make ends meet, a living wage and benefits was all i wanted. There are too many breweries out there that pay peanuts and don’t understand why they cannot keep a good brewer. It's hard to keep a consistent product when you have fresh meat coming in every 12-18 months, owners trying to save a dime hiring a homebrewer with no pro experience that quickly realizes it's way more work than they realized for way less pay. One guy i worked for used to say "if the state would let him he would train monkeys to go push buttons and turn levers". (I was not there long- insert Office Space line of choice here)


Bottom line, if you find a good brewer treat them well, pay him/her a REAL living wage, do your best with benefits (i know this can be tough for small places). A brewery/brewpub is all about the beer...right? Treat your brewer as well as he treats you and your business, he/she can make or break you.

My personal opinion on this- for a medium size brewpub 750-1500 bbl's/year:

-Head Brewer that just gets the job done - 35,000-40,000 (i.e. ghost brewer that makes the beer and leaves, rarely talks to guests and staff, "don't call me at home" attitude <should be a shift production brewer>)

-Head Brewer that takes ownership and truly cares - 45,000-55,000 (i.e. participating in sales building, BS'ing with the guests, going to festivals, controlling waste, producing the best quality beer possible for your market- not just what they like, training staff <the brewer that is the face of the beer/brewery>)
* this is before benefits and production/sales based bonus



Just a short addendum - run the numbers for your COG's and compare a typical kitchen with a brewery... # of employees in each and your labor and overhead. Brewers are waaay underpaid in most cases.
-Your hottie bartenders often make more than the brewer

brewkettle
09-07-2010, 02:02 PM
I am an owner (15 yrs) and our former brewmaster. I can tell you in our facilities, everyone of age gets a shiftie at days end, and everyone gets 50% off on all food and bevs of any type every time they are in the pub.

There is health care available for all full time employees. The percentage paid by the employee is based on salary vs hourly positions. Figuring ( and making sure) key staff members are salaried.

We offer a simple IRA to all staff members.

For full timers, 1 week of vacation after 1 year. 2 weeks after 3 years. 3 weeks after 7 years.

Paid Holidays for full timers IF it falls on their scheduled work day. We are closed New years, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Close @ 2pm on Christmas eve, Christmas Day and close @ 2pm on New years Eve.

I enjoy my shiftie almost every night and certainly don't mind paying 50% for everything else including food. It seems to me that our 60 staff members find it to be an equitable agreement as well.

aorrick
09-08-2010, 09:17 AM
I am the head brewer (and only member of production staff) at a brewpub in a small town in western Washington. I went from homebrewer/production brewery volunteer to Siebel and Doemens Academy, and then took the head brewing job here fresh out of school, with not much practical brewery experience (maybe all of 100-150 hours in a brewery). I took the job in May of 2009 for $12/hr. No benefits. I helped in getting the brewpub ready for opening, and we opened in October 2009. For the first 4 or 5 months I split time as the brewer and bartender. At first 1 shift beer was available to all staff working that day/night. Now we pay $2.50/pint. At one year I recieved a $1/hr raise. I feel that as a brewer with my experience my pay is probably within the scale consistent with other brewers sharing my level of experience. I have often used my own vehicle, time, and gas to pick up materials and deliver kegs/retrieve empties, and deliver samples/make sales calls. I work beer events and brewer's dinners/nights off the clock (although that is probably only 8-10 days a year. I expect that as we grow, so will my pay and benefits. In our first year of production we did about 280bbl. We are on pace for a little over 350 in our second year. I make an honest effort to get to know our customers and brew the beer they want to drink. I am still young (26) and new to the industry, but I tend to believe that this is the lifestyle and career path I chose, and as my skill and experience grow, so will my compensation. Certainly, I would like to be earning more. But who wouldn't?

Adam Orrick
Grove Street Brewhouse
Shelton, WA

farmbrewernw
09-08-2010, 02:45 PM
I am the head brewer (and only member of production staff) at a brewpub in a small town in western Washington. I went from homebrewer/production brewery volunteer to Siebel and Doemens Academy, and then took the head brewing job here fresh out of school, with not much practical brewery experience (maybe all of 100-150 hours in a brewery). I took the job in May of 2009 for $12/hr. No benefits. I helped in getting the brewpub ready for opening, and we opened in October 2009. For the first 4 or 5 months I split time as the brewer and bartender. At first 1 shift beer was available to all staff working that day/night. Now we pay $2.50/pint. At one year I recieved a $1/hr raise. I feel that as a brewer with my experience my pay is probably within the scale consistent with other brewers sharing my level of experience. I have often used my own vehicle, time, and gas to pick up materials and deliver kegs/retrieve empties, and deliver samples/make sales calls. I work beer events and brewer's dinners/nights off the clock (although that is probably only 8-10 days a year. I expect that as we grow, so will my pay and benefits. In our first year of production we did about 280bbl. We are on pace for a little over 350 in our second year. I make an honest effort to get to know our customers and brew the beer they want to drink. I am still young (26) and new to the industry, but I tend to believe that this is the lifestyle and career path I chose, and as my skill and experience grow, so will my compensation. Certainly, I would like to be earning more. But who wouldn't?

Adam Orrick
Grove Street Brewhouse
Shelton, WA
You pay $2.50 per pint that's harsh, I would think you would get at least one shifty free, but I guess if things are hard you have to do what you have to do. Sounds like I'm on par as far as pay with you, but as you said with more experience and time I expect more pay and benefits. Good luck with it all and cheers!

aorrick
09-09-2010, 07:56 AM
You pay $2.50 per pint that's harsh, I would think you would get at least one shifty free

I realize that most head brewers probably get some free beer. I try not to make an issue of this. Where I really struggle is that I often feel that I am expected to do 'favors'. For example, picking up materials or delivering beer, on my own time, after work, with my own vehicle and fuel. These things can eat at me a bit, but I try my best not to make a big issue of this either, because if we have to brew, we have to brew, regardless of how stressed the owners get over our diminishing malt supply. I think most brewers can't just leave our work at work, and usually I will rather put in time and energy unpaid than run out of beer or turn out a product below our customers' and my own expectations. Some might say I am taken advantage of. Perhaps. But if the beer isn't up to par, or we run out, that is reflective of my work and nobody else's. Given that we want to take pride in our work, and do it the best we can, sometimes I think that requires certain sacrifices. I don't know. Just rambling thoughts.

farmbrewernw
09-09-2010, 09:02 AM
I realize that most head brewers probably get some free beer. I try not to make an issue of this. Where I really struggle is that I often feel that I am expected to do 'favors'. For example, picking up materials or delivering beer, on my own time, after work, with my own vehicle and fuel. These things can eat at me a bit, but I try my best not to make a big issue of this either, because if we have to brew, we have to brew, regardless of how stressed the owners get over our diminishing malt supply. I think most brewers can't just leave our work at work, and usually I will rather put in time and energy unpaid than run out of beer or turn out a product below our customers' and my own expectations. Some might say I am taken advantage of. Perhaps. But if the beer isn't up to par, or we run out, that is reflective of my work and nobody else's. Given that we want to take pride in our work, and do it the best we can, sometimes I think that requires certain sacrifices. I don't know. Just rambling thoughts.

Totally, I know how you feel I've spent a lot of my own fuel and time doing "favors" which has always seemed ridiculous to me since we make so little in the way of pay. Your right we have to do what we have to do, I will say that if a brewery is not willing to compensate over time that's their own problem, we'll just move on. That's why you see a lot of brewers with only one to two years at any one place. I'd like to start my own brewery but if I'm unable to do that at least I'd like to find a brewery I'd like to stay at that is willing to compensate me and give me a good working environment.

Jephro
09-09-2010, 03:29 PM
I think most brewers can't just leave our work at work.
You darn skippy! ;)
I bet most of us here have at some point sat staright up in bed from a dead sleep: "did i leave the water on" did i leave the kettle flame on" "did i open the blowoff arm valve" etc. and jumped in your car and driven 10, 30, 60 minutes just to make sure.

That's what i meant by "a brewer that takes ownership". I don't think you should do it unpaid, but if the business truly cannot afford the OT and you're committed enough..more power to ya. It is just frustrating when owners take advantage of this, or don't bother to thank you, or compensate those who do this once it is within their means to do so.

HinduKush
09-09-2010, 04:45 PM
You darn skippy! ;)
I bet most of us here have at some point sat staright up in bed from a dead sleep: "did i leave the water on" did i leave the kettle flame on" "did i open the blowoff arm valve" etc. and jumped in your car and driven 10, 30, 60 minutes just to make sure.

That's what i meant by "a brewer that takes ownership". I don't think you should do it unpaid, but if the business truly cannot afford the OT and you're committed enough..more power to ya. It is just frustrating when owners take advantage of this, or don't bother to thank you, or compensate those who do this once it is within their means to do so.
Check, done it, done it again, developed OCD after brewing for twenty years.

You should see me CIP the dishwasher at home. :D

farmbrewernw
09-09-2010, 10:00 PM
You darn skippy! ;)
I bet most of us here have at some point sat staright up in bed from a dead sleep: "did i leave the water on" did i leave the kettle flame on" "did i open the blowoff arm valve" etc. and jumped in your car and driven 10, 30, 60 minutes just to make sure.

That's what i meant by "a brewer that takes ownership". I don't think you should do it unpaid, but if the business truly cannot afford the OT and you're committed enough..more power to ya. It is just frustrating when owners take advantage of this, or don't bother to thank you, or compensate those who do this once it is within their means to do so.
Oh man I've lost so much sleep wondering if I set the temperature on the fermentation tanks right, it's a bitch coming to work in the morning to see an active ferment on an ale at 40f. Why hasn't anyone developed remote sensing yet?

fcaseyf
09-10-2010, 06:43 AM
Oh man I've lost so much sleep wondering if I set the temperature on the fermentation tanks right, it's a bitch coming to work in the morning to see an active ferment on an ale at 40f. Why hasn't anyone developed remote sensing yet?

If you switch up your control panel you can. I run Red Lion DLC's through an HMI that is hooked up to our server through an ethernet cable. I can check and change temps on my phone now.

Jephro
09-10-2010, 11:56 AM
If you switch up your control panel you can. I run Red Lion DLC's through an HMI that is hooked up to our server through an ethernet cable. I can check and change temps on my phone now.

In the words of Peter Griffin, "that's freakin sweet!".

fcaseyf
09-10-2010, 12:01 PM
In the words of Peter Griffin, "that's freakin sweet!".

The other nice "peace of mind" thing that I did was hook up flow switch on my water line to my HLT that turns a red light over the entrance/exit door to the brewery on when there is water running to the HLT. That way you can always see if you have cooling water running during knockout and always a reminder to turn of the HLT fill before you leave.

farmbrewernw
09-10-2010, 02:00 PM
The other nice "peace of mind" thing that I did was hook up flow switch on my water line to my HLT that turns a red light over the entrance/exit door to the brewery on when there is water running to the HLT. That way you can always see if you have cooling water running during knockout and always a reminder to turn of the HLT fill before you leave.
I like how you think.

Jephro
09-10-2010, 04:22 PM
WOW, and i thought i had this brewery MacGuyver'd / Geeked out. :cool:

I heard a story a few years back about how New Belgium had allowed remote control to their systems. The story goes a brewer's plane was delayed so he started a brew from a bar in the terminal of the Denver airport and freaked out the people working in the brewery at the time.

BrewinLou
09-12-2010, 09:52 AM
Several years ago I watched 3 brewers watch helplessly as their automated system crashed at the Hoffbrau in Northern Kentucky. They called Munich and had guys there remotely take control of the system. I told them they needed to reboot their system. Yusk

Natrat
09-12-2010, 11:52 AM
After having a fully automated DME system at a brewery, I have gone back to fully manual.

Not only do pneumatic valves open too quickly for my taste, you cannot adjust them to be partway open.

And when one stubborn valve does not want to open for knockout, and you are stuck under a hot kettle banging on it with a (insert name of valuable heavy metal object here) for 25 minutes...well, let's just say I prefer a manifold or diverter panel to those push button consoles. Or their remote-operated-from-overseas-cousins.

I do have safety shut off switches on my fill tanks (one of the first breweries I worked at called me "floodman.") and am lusting over remote temperature equipment.

Back to the topic; pay me more. Or I flood your brewery with the beer I should have had for breakfast.

Nat

Sean W.
09-13-2010, 03:04 PM
I make $12 an hour at my first brewing job. I am happy to make that and I still feel stoked every time I think about the fact that I did the same work for free during a couple of internships.

I do not, however, have health insurance through my job. I would love to, and I understand that it's not entirely possible for every employer to offer it, but it's very important to me. Luckily it looks like I will be able to get on my girlfriend's health insurance as a domestic partner. If I could give you any advice, it's to make sure your brewer can get on a health plan. Everyone should have it.

Also, a little paid vacation would be a cool incentive, even if the salary is not super high. Maybe if they work over a year you could offer some paid vacation or a paid trip to GABF.

Also, it's very nice that we get a free couple of pints after work (we don't drink on the job except to taste), and get an occasional growler fill for the weekend.

Ted Briggs
09-14-2010, 07:55 AM
If you switch up your control panel you can. I run Red Lion DLC's through an HMI that is hooked up to our server through an ethernet cable. I can check and change temps on my phone now.

Damm Casey, do you come into work at all anymore? Hee-hee :rolleyes:

shortz
09-25-2010, 08:16 PM
brewers that own the process do deserve the cash since they actually care and are really making someone else prosperous cause of their ethics. benefits Including a decent wage. free beer within reason of course. don't people hire with a probation period and then the wage increase anymore?

I totally disagree with the age warranting pay though. come on, a 35 year old isn't necessarily a better brewer than a 25 year old with the same amount of work experience. work experience and initiative and gut feeling can play a bigger role than someone being older.

I have a family so I have expectations.

farmbrewernw
09-27-2010, 01:11 PM
Yep I have expectations as well, I'm kind of tired of people defending the fact that they are brewing beer so it doesn't matter if they make little and get no benefits, it's tough though because I really love what I do. I guess the best I can say is that you just have to find a brewery that will take care of you, or in my case hopefully I'll be able to start my own place, I'll make even less and work harder but I know it will be rewarding.