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Old 01-24-2013, 03:55 PM   #21
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FYI - a lot of companies (not just breweries) will not let people work for free. It's a huge liability, especially when manual labor is involved. They are responsible for anyone working on the floor (paid or unpaid) and if you were to cause harm to yourself, someone else, or expensive equipment the onus is on them to compensate for the incident. They might let you wash kegs, but probably not much else.

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Whattawort View Post
FYI - a lot of companies (not just breweries) will not let people work for free. It's a huge liability, especially when manual labor is involved. They are responsible for anyone working on the floor (paid or unpaid) and if you were to cause harm to yourself, someone else, or expensive equipment the onus is on them to compensate for the incident. They might let you wash kegs, but probably not much else.
Agree, I was thinking about the "free labor" aspect when I made my post, but I still say it's worth offering though. It's not like he is an experienced brewmaster who is selling himself short, they'll understand he's trying to get his foot in the door. The offer of working for free, might tell them he is dedicated to making this a career path. Maybe they could end up hiring him at minimum wage or get him into an intern program with them, which are rarely paid. I think at the very least, putting the offer out there, shows you want the job.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:06 PM   #23
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FYI - a lot of companies (not just breweries) will not let people work for free. It's a huge liability, especially when manual labor is involved. They are responsible for anyone working on the floor (paid or unpaid) and if you were to cause harm to yourself, someone else, or expensive equipment the onus is on them to compensate for the incident. They might let you wash kegs, but probably not much else.
Around here a lot of them allow you to volunteer time, granted we only have two fair sized breweries (both micros) and a few brewpubs/nanos but they allow it. From my understanding it is not an "everyone gets to" kind of thing but they do allow it to happen regularly and it is an excellent way to get your foot in the door and a great reputation in such a small industry.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:09 PM   #24
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One thing you'll find at most breweries with a taproom is that the brew staff will sit and have a few beers after their shift. Show up at the bar regularly, if they have one, and wait for the right opportunity to strike up a conversation and give them a 6-pack of some impressive homebrew. Stop by every few days and just talk to them without being too annoying. Then once they have some confidence in your knowledge, find out when they're brewing next and just show up with beer. Ask if you can just hang out and watch. Ask lots of (good) questions without being annoying and if they're comfortable with you being there, pick up a squeegee and start on the floors.

Sending in a resume will do nothing if you don't have credentials and they don't know you. So make sure they can put a face to the resume.

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:28 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by brettg20 View Post
I guess it depends on where you live.
In a thriving craft beer market with no fewer than ten nanos/pubs in 50 square miles from my house. Two of which produce consistently great beers, the rest produce mediocrity.

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Thanks for all the input everyone. I'm starting to get a sense that I might fall out of love with brewing if I work at a brewery. That's based on a lot of your experiences at least. I kind of like the idea of volunteering or working part time to see if its the kind of job I could do and prove myself that way.

I appreciate all the comments so far. I'm in no particular rush at the moment. Getting a job would be life changing. Partially because of brewing but mostly because I'd have to move to a new city in a new area with no guarantees of success. You all helped me put a few things in perspective. I think I am going to go make a stout and ponder...
Yes. Why ruin a much loved hobby doing someone else's grunt work. As an example, my Wife owns a restaurant and has worked in that industry for well over 30 years. It's a chain and their recipes are set in granite. No variation allowed. Guess what, she HATES to cook. All of the day in, day out cooking for the restaurant has drained any and all passion and enjoyment out of cooking for her. Luckily, I do all of the cooking at home.

Now, I do love to brew. I love crafting and dialing in my own small batch recipes to perfection and sharing my beers with the LHBC, entering them into competitions, hanging out with my brew friends, learning everything I can and generally enjoying the sh!t out of the hobby. I have seen what happens to members of our LHBC that have delusions of grandeur and either go to work for a micro or raise the capital for their own operation. I'll pass. I love my hobby too much for all of that. The most i've done, and will do, are upscaling my recipes on a micro's equipment just because the head brewer likes my beer and wants to do a guest session.

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One thing you'll find at most breweries with a taproom is that the brew staff will sit and have a few beers after their shift. Show up at the bar regularly, if they have one, and wait for the right opportunity to strike up a conversation and give them a 6-pack of some impressive homebrew. Stop by every few days and just talk to them without being too annoying. Then once they have some confidence in your knowledge, find out when they're brewing next and just show up with beer. Ask if you can just hang out and watch. Ask lots of (good) questions without being annoying and if they're comfortable with you being there, pick up a squeegee and start on the floors.

Sending in a resume will do nothing if you don't have credentials and they don't know you. So make sure they can put a face to the resume.
See? This will be your best in-roads to a local brewery. Live at the taproom, join a LHBC, brew quality homebrew and share it with them. Befriend them. Then, when a position opens up, your name will be the first that comes up.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:56 PM   #26
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Maybe you can look at it like any other trade: are you looking for a job or a career.
I suspect in the case of brewing there's a significant distinction, a job probably isn't what your looking for whereas a career requires time, money and commitment to pursue it wherever the opportunities are. Careers usually take fare more investment and risk, generally speaking.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:11 PM   #27
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For real....
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:58 PM   #28
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lol as in everybody and their brother on here wants to do this, until they realize how hard it is to get the job and how hard the work is.
Homebrewing does not equal commercial brewing.
Search the threads and you'll see dozens of similar ones to this one. A variation on the theme, too, is the "I want to open my own brewery" thread.
Good luck.
Actually Id say half the people are in my camp and have no interest in turning their hobby into a job.


@ the op. Dont overthink it.

Keep is as simple as:

I am interested in beer and brewing
Understand the basics as I have been homebrewing for x years
Currently have a physically demanding job
Know what a hard days work is and show up on time/sober.

My dad always said their is an abscence of excellence in every field.

Not as a pessimistic statement about the world, but a positive one, as in you can fill the void.

I am sure they get all sorts of people that say they "love beer" ect...but that doesnt mean they are good workers.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:59 PM   #29
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So I have a lot to think about. I'm at a weird point in my life and I'm glad I asked here. I may have done something rash like quit my current job and move to a bigger city with a brewery in it. From looking online, brew master apprentices make about the same I do now, brew masters only a bit more. Having a mortgage and some student loan debt, may not be a career path for me...

Having said that. School probably won't help me. I noticed a school (relatively) near me has a partnership with Niagara College starting in Sept 2013.

http://www.oldscollege.ca/programs/H...ers%202013.pdf

Don't know if anyone has attended Niagara but sounds like a brewing career is more in who you know than what piece of paper you have on your wall. Thoughts?

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Old 01-24-2013, 08:19 PM   #30
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I agree. You're more likely to get hired by knowing a head brewer who you've made a great impression on than having a degree. Once you talk to enough people in the industry, you'll find that sometimes people who just graduated from prominent programs like UCDavis have never even made a single batch of beer and couldn't really tell you much about brewing. It's pretty shocking actually.

But having said that, the final decisions are generally up to the owners, not the brewers.

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