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Old 09-21-2011, 06:03 PM   #1
siobhangeraldine
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Default Call out to commercial brewers! What are you looking for in an employee?

I recently got the opportunity to meet up with the brewmaster of Mill Street Brewery here in Toronto, and am hoping that by the time I meet up with him I will have a good enough handle on technical brewing to get a job at the brewery. I have a Biology degree and have a good understanding of chemistry and the like, so my research so far has been fascinating and fun. I have been reading the 750 pg reference guide called Handbook of Brewing Processes, Technology, Markets and have learned all about commercial production. But for the interview, what should I be prepared for? If/when you hire a new technical brewer, what do you ask them/what do you look for? I really want this opportunity, and want to make the best of it.
Thanks for any input!

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Old 09-21-2011, 06:25 PM   #2
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There is a "help wanted" section over on the probrewer forum. I'd read through some of the ads to see what other breweries are looking for.

http://probrewer.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=27

From what I've read on there, the two biggest factors are ability to lift a full keg of beer (~72kg), and being willing to work for minimum wage.

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Old 09-22-2011, 02:36 PM   #3
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It also takes someone passionate about cleaning, since that's probably what you'll spend most of your time doing. I don't remember which brewery it was, but their "head brewer" had a business card that listed his title as "head janitor."

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Old 09-22-2011, 07:15 PM   #4
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I think in terms of weight lifting 55 pounds seems to be a bit realistic, 72 kg is a lot for anyone to lift on a regular basis. But cleaning, yes and lifting, for sure but what about technical skills? Thats more what I want to know about. Grunt work is easy, anyone with a good work ethic can do that. I am a scientist, though, also. So how can I make that worth something?

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Old 09-22-2011, 10:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhangeraldine View Post
I think in terms of weight lifting 55 pounds seems to be a bit realistic, 72 kg is a lot for anyone to lift on a regular basis.
It's not a TERRIBLE lot. Go to the gym and do some basic barble exercising. If you're a healthy, strong male you should pretty quickly (months) get into the upper 100's as far as deadlifts go, and hopefully do a decent fraction of that as power cleans (jumping and lifting over your head). After a few months, lifting a 72kg keg will seem like a breeze.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:51 PM   #6
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As a fellow scientist with a BS in Biology and 6 years work experience as an analytical chemist, who also tried to break into the brewing industry, I can tell you that the number 1 thing breweries are looking for in new employees is experience. It doesn't matter how ****ty, lowly, or poorly-paying the job is, they want someone with previous brewery experience with brewing coursework preferred. It's kind of F'in annoying and I got tired of being rejected for jobs that would pay a fraction of what I'm making now so I stopped trying.

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Old 09-23-2011, 01:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhangeraldine View Post
I think in terms of weight lifting 55 pounds seems to be a bit realistic, 72 kg is a lot for anyone to lift on a regular basis. But cleaning, yes and lifting, for sure but what about technical skills? Thats more what I want to know about. Grunt work is easy, anyone with a good work ethic can do that. I am a scientist, though, also. So how can I make that worth something?
Well, you don't have to lift the kegs up over your head. If you haven't already, search for "lift" here:
http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/search.php

and:
http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/s...highlight=lift

read through the job postings. All of them require ability to repeatedly lift 55 pounds over your head, and most require you to occasionally lift/maneuver kegs.

And grunt work is really, really hard. As someone who does grunt work for probably 40 hours a week (of my 80 hour workweek) I think you're underestimating how much it sucks to lift really heavy things when it's really hot.

Over on the AHA forum there's a homebrewer-turned-probrewer who talks about how during the heat wave this summer, they would take breaks by standing in the sun outside on a 112*F day, because it was a lot cooler than inside the brewery.

A brewery is a factory. They make cool stuff there, but it's still a factory.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I am a scientist, though, also. So how can I make that worth something?
Don't work at a brewery.
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Old 09-24-2011, 02:13 PM   #9
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Wow, you guys sure are encouraging. Talk about stamping out a lady's dreams. Well in my world, things aren't so ****ty as they seem to be in your worlds. I am excited about working in a craft brewery, I am sure I will do lots of grunt work but I am used to that. I have been working for myself as a contractor for years now, and I'm pretty sure some of the hard work I have done in 45 C weather is comparable to moving around kegs. And eventually I will get involved in the brewing. Or I will quit and move on with my experience to carry me to the next one.

So lay off with the negativity, please. I am looking for advice, not peoples bad feelings.
Thanks.

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Old 09-24-2011, 02:32 PM   #10
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Well, the first thing is that this is a homebrewer forum. While many of our fine regulars have been commercial brewers at one point and many have moved on to commercial brewing, you're going to get a typical homebrewer response. Most of us realize that working in a brewery is going to ruin the hobby for us.

The second thing is, and sorry for airing my pet peeve on your thread, but posting anything on a public forum is going to garner comments and opinions that stray slightly from the exact question you asked because not everyone shares your goals.

Hypothetical exaggeration:
Q: What's the best round to use to shoot myself in the head?
A: You shouldn't kill yourself, there's still hope.
Q: Jerk, just answer the question.

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