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Old 10-12-2011, 09:46 PM   #1
beerisambrosia
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Default Brewmaster/engineer Job Advice Wanted

There must be some professional brewers on this forum. I'm interested in your advice.

What is the typical career path to becoming a brewmaster, or brewing engineer, say, at a medium-sized brewery? What are the preferred or best Master's level engineering programs to become a professional brewer? (I earned a Bachelor's in chemical engineering with highest honors from a top-tier engineering university 15 years ago, but I work in a field other than engineering and have no significant engineering work experience.) What sort of salary, work hours, and creative license come with being an engineer at a brewery? How much job security does a brewing engineer enjoy?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

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Old 10-12-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
Suthrncomfrt1884
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Most smaller breweries don't have an engineer on the payroll...once the brewery is built, it's pretty much self sufficient. I only work for a small brewpub, but the salaries for even a head brewer at medium sized breweries (depending on experience and location) is only in the range of 40-50k a year tops with varying hours. I sometimes work 30 hours a week, sometimes 60. It all really depends on what's going on and demands you need to meet. A lot of times with those 30 hour weeks, you end up still coming in on your day off to check fermentation temps, and progress on batches.

As far as getting into the career...I've gone to Siebel. But, this isn't neccissary. Look around and volunteer your help at a brewery. Hard work goes a lot farther than schooling, especially if you're willing to learn. You do need some sort of knowledge on the brewing process in order to even be concidered though. Plenty of homebrewing experience was a plus for my situtation.

An engineering degree alone won't get you many offers though. Most people who end up in the brewing field are microbiologists or something similar.

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Old 10-13-2011, 10:08 PM   #3
beerisambrosia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884
Most smaller breweries don't have an engineer on the payroll...once the brewery is built, it's pretty much self sufficient. I only work for a small brewpub, but the salaries for even a head brewer at medium sized breweries (depending on experience and location) is only in the range of 40-50k a year tops with varying hours. I sometimes work 30 hours a week, sometimes 60. It all really depends on what's going on and demands you need to meet. A lot of times with those 30 hour weeks, you end up still coming in on your day off to check fermentation temps, and progress on batches.

As far as getting into the career...I've gone to Siebel. But, this isn't neccissary. Look around and volunteer your help at a brewery. Hard work goes a lot farther than schooling, especially if you're willing to learn. You do need some sort of knowledge on the brewing process in order to even be concidered though. Plenty of homebrewing experience was a plus for my situtation.

An engineering degree alone won't get you many offers though. Most people who end up in the brewing field are microbiologists or something similar.
Thanks for your reply. That's the kind of information I was looking for. It never occurred to me that a smaller brewery wouldn't have a full-time engineer. I gather that the largest breweries, the companies that make don't-offend-anyone light lagers, just want efficiency/cost control with perfect brand reliability/consistency. So the big guys hire engineers. I'm not sure process optimization alone would keep me fully satisfied as an employee. So that's why I was interested in information on a smaller operation, where I thought there might be some room for trying different things out. As for having a creative outlet, I guess that's part of why people homebrew. I can still do that, assuming SWMBO puts up with it. I never considered volunteering either. Good idea.
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