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Retiring from craft beer...into what? (please direct if not appropriate forum)

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  • Retiring from craft beer...into what? (please direct if not appropriate forum)

    Hey ya'll,
    After 5 years of being in the state of Florida as a brewer I decided to hang up my boots. South Florida doesn't have enough positions, and personally from experience in another state it's pretty behind. I've only been in back production, beertending, and management all of my career life. So, with that being said- with all the experience I have from the craft beer industry...what other career fields do most brewers move into? I've been unemployed for two months, and not having the best luck when it comes to applying to new fields of work. If you or you know of someone that switched careers and have insight please let me know what you/them had luck in. Thank you very much

  • #2
    I transitioned pretty seamlessly into cheese making (I’ve since moved back to brewing). I’d imagine warehouse/shipping & receiving would be pretty seamless as well.

    Best of luck with your transition.


    • #3

      Hi Emily Ann-

      I asked pretty much the same question (link here) her over ten (yikes!!) years ago...

      You can read the responses there. The thing is, I found it VERY hard to walk away from the brewing industry. I honestly can't imagine doing anything else. Since that post, I stuck to it and have subsequently been hired as a head brewer at a startup, did some consulting, was hired as a brewery director, and have now settled back down into the wonderfully mellow position of head brewer at a brewpub*. (* Which is the lifestyle that everyone imagines when you tell them that you are a brewer...)

      I am lucky in that I go into this biz early enough (mid-'90s) that my resume is pretty strong and I'm pretty employable.

      We have a big problem in this industry where bosses hire people based on false pretenses that they will be sitting on barrels all day drinking beer and making up recipes where in reality this is an unforgiving, back-breaking way to make a living. Young folks just starting out can be taken advantage of by unscrupulous (or uninformed) bosses who lure people with romantic notions of "being a brewer" and then pay them peanuts and overwork and burn people out.

      As someone said all those years ago to me in that thread: Don't despair!! If you maintain your passion for beer, something will come up. It's just a matter of finding the position and the right people to work for/with.

      Good luck and cheers- Mike


      • EmilyAnn
        EmilyAnn commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey Mike! I’ve been a professional brewer for a decade as well. I should have made it more clear that I moved from a previous place to Florida and have been here and brewing for 5 years. I don’t want to walk away honestly this is my passion and I love the hard work. But, I’ve been the first female brewer in each brewery (Covid had me go through some furloughs) and it’s not that progressive here in south Florida compared to where I came from. I’ve been through all positions except head of operations too in breweries that produce 300 to 1700 bbls per year. I’m just at a point where I want to be treated equally and have a fair wage in an expensive ass state lol. I appreciate your link and your comment

    • #4
      I wish I could offer more than solidarity, but here's that at least. I'm 35 and am asking myself this very same question. Ten years collectively in beer, plus a year and a half bartending and working in a kombucha kitchen. Been in the industry since I was 23. I love working in beer, but I'm not making nearly what I would like to be (certainly not what I'm worth) at this point in life. I could rant and rave, but suffice to say, I'm another haggard, disgruntled brewer walking into a midlife what-the-hell-am-I-doing phase. I am quitting and will be done in January, taking a couple months off to sleep deeply and not walk on concrete all day and be funemployed. Saw a sign recently at a bagel shop advertising jobs for the same money I make now, after a decade of experience in my field and having made an innovation brewer of myself. Ha! So, maybe spreading cream cheese is next?

      I hear you. I wish you luck in your endeavor, and also echo your question. I know some folks go into working for the hop purveyors (YCH, Haas, Crosby, etc). If you don't mind sleeping in hotels 150 days out of the year, that could be a great gig and they often hire people like you and I who've been chewed up and spat out by this industry.
      Last edited by SamJ; 11-30-2022, 05:10 PM.


      • #5
        Well guys...after months of being unemployed and figuring shit out I did it. I moved into sales for a distilling manufacturer. My hours are only 8 per day, I get 3 weeks of PTO, full health insurance coverage, and making 10K more on salary plus commission. Thanks for all of the insight and suggestions! You all really helped me out!