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Thread: How did you get started?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    How did you get started?

    Hello! We have been brewing at home for about a year now and know this our passion and is what we want to do professionally. It won't be anytime real soon, but we plan to open our own microbrewery (or beer company, whatever we can afford) in the future. We figured one of the best places to start would be to actually work in a brewery.

    My question is - is this the best place to start? If so, what types of positions are available for beginners? What types of qualifications would we need to have to walk into a brewery looking for employment? Reading the threads it appears as though a lot of you either work in a brewery or run one, so what do you look for?

    You have to start somewhere, and I would love to hear anyones stories on how they got started in the brewing business.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    If there is a microbrewery in your area, offer to volunteer on the bottling line, cleaning kegs, shoveling out the mash, etc. This will endear you to the brewers there. They will then tell you all about the industry.

    Check out the brewing schools such as Siebels, American Brewers Guild, UC Davis, having a brewing education is becoming more valuable to employers.

    Read everything you can get your hands on.

    Start raising money right now.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Richmond, VA
    I agree with Mr. Linus - even if you have to volunteer your time doing the dirty grunt work for a brewery or brew pub, you'll gain an education, experience and a bit of respect. As you might imagine, there is a world of difference between homebrewing and a production brewery or brew pub.

    As for me, I spent a year working as a sales associate/delivery driver for a limited distribution company attached to a production brewery in Virginia. When one of the brewers left, I was hired to take his place and I spent another four years working as a brewer. There were six full-time brewers plus one head brewer and we shared shifts and responsibilities, so we had a chance to learn every aspect of the brewery. Personally, I learn more from experience than I do from classes or instruction, so attending brewing school would never work out for me. It might for you, so check it out. But the really indespensible education comes from learning in a brewery. I would recommend spending some time in the distribution business as well if you plan on opening your own brewery or brew pub. I'm working on a business plan right now for my own brewery and I'm finding my experiences in distribution invaluable in terms of sales strategy and marketing.

    You should understand something else right away, too: it's a tough industry to get involved with. I spent a few years as a professional actor and, like acting jobs, there are a lot more brewers out there than brewing jobs. Competition seems tight. I haven't worked as a brewer in over three years since moving to Boston, and it's been difficult to find work - mostly because I haven't worked as a brewer in over three years.

    As for starting your own brewery, I can tell you from the perspective of a man with a business plan that you're asking for trouble. Get ready to spend months researching equipment, suppliers, costs, taxes and licenses. If you don't already have a business education or experience, get ready to spend lots of time in libraries and lots of money at bookstores trying to catch up and develop a business sense. Actually, I've been having a blast working on this because I enjoy doing research. There are lots of resources available to you, not the least of which is this very website. These nice folks here are eager to help and will do their best to point you in the right direction.

    Good luck and I hope my humble words are helpful.


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