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Thread: Life after brewing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Life after brewing?

    Brewing has been very good to me. I got into the industry in the mid-90's and have worked at a brewpub, a small micro and spent many years at a pretty large regional brewery. I have met some wonderful people, had great times, learned an awful lot and made a pretty good life for myself.

    I think I've come to the realization, however, that this is a younger person's game. I'm starting to think that I may want to move on.

    So, forum: What other professions do our unique skill set and knowledge base as brewers qualify us for? Also, how can one possibly relate the depth of that skill set to a potential employer outside of our industry?

    This is all probably idle thought as I don't plan on going anywhere too soon, but any thoughts or opinions out there in forum-land would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers- Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I have known a few brewers who have migrated into consulting, sales, and technical support for a supplier. It is always helping buying filter sheets, chemicals, pumps, etc. from someone who has spent time in the brewing aspect of the industry.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    A lot of Boston area brewers are now here

    Mike Roy
    Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store
    5123 Baltimore Ave
    Hyattsville,MD 20781

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hardy, VA
    A Janitor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    If you want to get out of the brewing industry altogether, there's always food & beverage, or food processing, or microbiology, or lots of choices. What are your strengths? Play to these. There are many facets to brewing. Like to brew new beers? Try cooking. Better at sales & promotion? Tons of stuff there! Better at managing people? Always a need there. Have a degree? Use it. You've obviously made contacts over the years. Use them to learn about other opportunities. And use your imagination. Over the years you must have thought about what someone else's job would be like. Must have heard of interesting opportunities in a similar field.

    I'll take issue with your "younger person's game" analysis. Perhaps in a small micro or brewpub environment where one might have more passion than accumulated life wisdom and more opportunities to learn, your point could be well taken. But there's no reason why a person, given the right environment, can't fulfill him/herself professionally and otherwise with a job in brewing. I have been working in the industry for 20 years and have lots more to learn and to share. You might also take an example from Karl Strauss or Fritz Maytag, both of whom, along with many, many others have made brewing a happy life long endeavor.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Bioethanol plants are always head hunting brewers hear in Wisconsin I get 2 or 3 calls every year. When Cargill’s malting plant in Janesville closed and was turned in to a Bio plant some of the workers just stayed with the plant.


    Good luck in your endeavors

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Operations management in small to medium sized manufacturing/processing enterprises of all sorts.

    I have had brewers move into: dairy (cheese, yogourt, fresh milk etc), soda pop and other beverages.

    I would also echo the sales potential for someone of your experience. perhaps technical sales for equipment manufacturers, chemical suppliers, malt/hop distributors etc.

    Good luck


    Liam McKenna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Asheville, NC


    Quote Originally Posted by el_mocoso
    A Janitor.
    Funnily enough, my uncle's brewery was buried by A-B in the 50's, and he finished out as a janitor. He hastened to point out that he was Head Janitor for an entire school system, but he was a janitor. If you had a Budweiser anywhere near the guy, he'd knock it out of your hand.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    pembine, wi USA
    I was actually the Head Custodian at a school for a couple of years. Most frustrating job I ever had dealing with teachers and administrators. Nothing made sense. It paid well though. When I left 11 years ago I was making over $50k, 4 weeks vacation, full paid insurance and a retirement plan that contributed an amount equal to 15% of your annual salary.

    Glad I left though.
    Tim Eichinger
    Visit our website

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Richmond, VA
    Start your own brewery. You'll still work your ass off, but hopefully after a while you'll be able to hire some brewers to do the heavy lifting.

    I would also suggest getting into the sales side of things. Don't know if you have an inclination or the personality to do that kind of thing, but it's pretty rewarding and I think clients would appreciate your brewing experience. Believe me, I'm not much of a salesman, but I do all the local sales calls for my own brewery here PA and it's fun. I get to work with some great people who work for the bars and restaurants I sell to. Though I don't really have the right personality for sales, I make it work and I find it rather rewarding. That said, I still can't wait until I can hire someone else to do it.
    Mike Hiller, Head Brewer
    Strangeways Brewing
    2277-A Dabney Road
    Richmond, VA 23230

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewdahm
    If you had a Budweiser anywhere near the guy, he'd knock it out of your hand.
    Sounds like my kind of guy!
    (insert evil laugh here)
    Jeff Byrne

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Los Gatos, CA

    In need of help

    Do not dispare Mike,

    I left a career in finance and business development after 32 years. I turned to consulting as I had a wealth of knowledge that was sellable on many levels.

    I now am in the process of re-starting a brewery after purchasing the assets from a bank foreclosure - it was just too good to pass up. I know nothing about brewing, brewing equipment, etc. and I am in desperate need of help.
    I am a good business man but I am being brought to my knees over the unbelivable amount of detail in this industry.

    I am looking for someone (maybe like you) who can help me. I can provide the labor but not the vast experience and knowledge needed to get our brewery re-started.

    Our brewery is in the Yosemite foothills (California) and we will be the only micro-brewery in the area. We are in an hostorical gold rush town dating back to 1849; charming and attracting 4 million visitors per year in and out of Yosemite Park.

    Believe me Mike, you have sellable services without doing the physical labor part. People like me would love to learn from people like you.

    If anybody (including Mike) reading this is interested in contacting me my email address is


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