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Advice for getting into the industry

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  • Advice for getting into the industry

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Bryan Dierschow. I am currently working towards getting into the brewing industry, and it has been a bit of a tough slog (I'm sure most of you have had similar experiences!). I am seeking advice on what I can do to bolster my resume so I might slide my foot in the door.

    My background:

    I have been a homebrewer for almost 5 1/2 years. I have been through two internships, six months at The Fort Collins Brewery, and six months at Odell Brewing Company. I currently work at a liquor store. I do not have a college degree (I am about 6 years past the last college course I attended), but I do have a certificate from the Siebel Institute for completing the Concise Course.

    What things might I look into to bolster my resume?
    Ideas I have visited, but am not sure the true value of:
    • Taking the examinations from the Cicerone program
    • Taking the examinations from the BJCP
    • Seeking further brewing specific education from Siebel, MBAA, IBD, etc.
    • Going back to college to seek an Associate or Bachelor degree in biology or chemistry
    • Seeking out businesses that may offer forklift certification
    • Getting into bartending/other pub work
    • Seeking out more internships

    If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, I am open to look at any/all of them! Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this and respond!
    Bryan Dierschow
    Hopeful Novice Brewer

    Fort Collins, Colorado

  • #2
    Maybe the next route would be working for a distributor.


    • #3
      Find an outside skill or network


      I get asked this quite a bit. Here is what I would recommend. Find a skill outside of brewing that you can bring to the table. Maybe it's welding/plumbing or electrical. Maybe it's lab skills or some awesome software knowledge you have or can develop. I like the above comment with working with a distributor or sales.

      The bottom line is that a brewery already has people on their staff that knows the brewing process, but they could really use someone that can troubleshoot electrical or something along those lines.

      When I was getting into it, I worked for the beer/wine lab in college and traded time on our pilot system and free labor on lab work just for the opportunity to volunteer on bottling days and it just kind of took off from there.

      Good luck and these are just some thoughts.



      • #4
        Get an entry level position at a brewery and wait for the opportunity to jump up the line. Chances are that someone will move on or quit and you will be in the right place at the right time to take over their position. I know of several "line brewers" that made it from tasting room to brewer in a little over a year. The industry is expanding and people are moving around. I would much rather move someone from the keg washing/bottling line to assistant brewer/brewer than hire someone that I did not know...


        • #5
          It sounds like you have some good experience under your belt, Have you ever considered re-locating ?
          When I started out I went wherever the work was, I ended up moving four times in 5 years but the experience was worth it.

          Tariq Khan (Brewer/Distiller)

          Yaletown Brewing and Distilling Co.
          Vancouver, B.C.


          • #6
            (to fa50driver): That is my problem. I am having trouble getting an entry level position. I have been looking at it assuming that I will 'work up the line.' I have applied for positions in tasting rooms, warehouse, packaging, cellar, and brewhouse.

            (to Tariq): I am actively open to relocation. I have applied to positions at breweries ranging from California to Maine. I haven't looked at Canada, I'm not sure what it would take to get ok'd to work in Canada as an American citizen. I have seen a trend among Canadian job postings that they are looking for someone already in Canada, I think they don't want to deal with that issue either
            Bryan Dierschow
            Hopeful Novice Brewer

            Fort Collins, Colorado


            • #7
              I 2nd what Tariq said. If you really want to be in this business, tear up your roots. It will reciprocate. I've moved 3 times to follow my dreams and it has worked for me every time. Look for packaging jobs, and express your passion for the industry. I know a lot of brewers who started with homebrewing and worked their way up to the mash tun via packaging. It's a long road, however.
              You can skip all of that with a related degree. Microbiology, Engineering, Business, etc.
              Jason Raimondi
              Anderson Valley Brewing


              • #8
                Nick is right on. Get some sort of mechanical skill you can bring to the table. Electrical / PLC (especially PLC) and HVAC top the list. And I'm not talking about reading "120v for dummies" either. Make it commercial, and make yourself good at it. This alone may take you years and you'd then be able to make 3x what a brewer makes using it, so you've at least got a choice. Side jobs are a brewer's best friend.

                On your list the only thing that might help you is a degree, and only if you want to be on management staff of a larger brewery. No one really looks at anything else you've mentioned except to see "is he really serious", which you've proven with your internships.

                Fork training is great - but it takes ten minutes for your new employer to do it, and they'd do it anyway since you're a liability until you've been certified into their program.