View Full Version : Career Change

09-01-2005, 12:13 PM
Greetings all-

I'm relatively new to this list but have been homebrewing off and on for several years. I am presently an environmental chemist and would like to change careers to become a brewer. I would like to have some advice on things I can do to make myself more marketable and to get a start in the brewing industry.

Recently I had the opportunity to help with the latest batch that was brewed at the local brewpub and I had a great time with that. I guess that experience is what has lead me to wanting to be a brewer. I volunteered and am hoping to help with the next brew that the brewer makes. But in the meantime I'm doing more brewing at home, reading, and listening here and on other lists.

If you have any advice for me please let me know.


09-01-2005, 09:51 PM
My advice is to stay an enviromental chemist! You already make more than you ever will in the brewing industry. Buy a nice homebrewing setup, and brew until your heart is content.

The industry is highly overcrowded. At best you are looking at 7-10$ /hr job for the next 3-5 years before you even got close to a head brewer position. Plus you will have to invest in a brewing course which will take 5-7 thousand $ to be competitive and learn the fundamentals of what it takes to be a good brewer. Even then there is no guarantee of being a successful brewer.

There have been several threads started here with the same question, you can look them up on the search tool.

It doesnt hurt to dream, and maybe you are the next Garret Oliver or Tomme Arthur. Just dont confuse dreams with reality! Everyone starts somewhere. Have a great day & Good luck.

09-03-2005, 10:12 AM
I guess the best thing to do is tell you my story. I was an Electronic Eng making very very good money. In 1993 I went to The Siebel Institute and changed my life. The first 5 years of my life as a brewer I spent all of my reserve capital subsidizing Owners that didn't know what my value was and just knew that they could get someone to do the job cheaper. I traveled the world and in 13 years I have finaly gotten the opertunity in brewing to earn a living close to what I had as an Eng. Dont get me wrong I love brewing, but I am a manager that just gets to dabble in brewing once in a while. That being said I believe that brewing saved my life, since I was bordering on becoming a basket case as an Eng. If you truly love brewing go for it. Just realize that its not going to be easy, and the best way, maybe to start your own business with some backers. Good luck Graydon

09-04-2005, 06:52 AM
Thanks zbrew2k and jay.

These are the kinds of experiences and opinions that I need to here.


Michael Murphy
09-04-2005, 08:31 AM
I love brewing, I cant imagine I will ever work out of the brewing industry for the rest of my days. I dont think I want to be a kettle monkey for the rest of my life, but I imagine I can find a good consulting gig, or sales beer or equipment or maybe both. who knows, if you like the idea of working this closely with beer you may love it and accept its not easy to land a kick ass brewing job. At best a job as a brewer. But if you start out with no experiance or knowlage you will be making what I made in High school 15 years ago!

09-12-2005, 12:00 PM
I am always looking for Chemists with a penchant for brewing. Send me your resume. We pay extremely well with opportunities for rapid advancement.

E-mail: mv82@mbco.com

09-16-2005, 06:11 PM

Instinctively I want to look you in the eyes, grasp your shoulders and firmly, yet calmly say, "Don't do it". A good day job is the envy of many in the industry...things like benefits elude most (especially on the small scale), and any illusions of job security are fleeting at best. The wages have already been discussed...they can vary greatly, but are generally only suitable for the young, incredibly dedicated and hard working types going through a "phase" or others with a back-up source of security in their lives.

Having given my due diligence to "the warning", I will share that there are aspects of the brewing industry that are truly unique and alluring. There is a fairly open exchange of technical information and problem solving amongst brewers that you won't find in most industries...there is the "coolness" factor...and there is the satisfaction of holding a glass filled with your work that brings satisfaction to you and others. Only you can decide if you can afford it financially (short and long term), or need to pursue a more personal goal.

An option not often mentioned on this forum is "the big guys". Your skills and experience may qualify you for a pretty sweet career path with one of the larger breweries. You would probably be surprised to find out how many brewing professionals homebrew or regularly visit their local micro's...they are often as passionate about funky styles and new flavors as most craft brewers (and are usually technically much more proficient). After all, they have the resources to dedicate to their environmental concerns, are a big part (most) of the industry...they may provide a smooth transition. If you really want to roll the dice you can always go off on your own, but a big name on your resume might help with a bank loan.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had 12 good years in brewing and have transitioned into biotech. I miss taste panel, but love the benefits. Good luck.

Jim P