5 Steps To Becoming A Master Brewer

Hooray, Beer!

Hunter Joynerby Hunter JoynerGet The Job, Guides - 12 months ago

How To Become A Brew Master

Ahhh, beer, beer is good. Psyche; beer is magnificent.

It’s so good that sometimes you just want to quit your monotonous, daily routine, move to the mountains, grow a lumberjack-worthy beard, and brew your own liquid courage in peace and tranquility.

What if I told you that there’s a more practical way to go about gaining a career in brewing?

There are over 30 Professional Brewing Schools, Courses, and University Affiliated Brewing Programs in the United States that offer courses and degrees in brewing.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can go to school to learn how to brew beer, and then you can get paid actual, real money to do it. You’re probably wondering why no one has told you this before.

But, how feasible is it to become a Brewmaster? And how do you go about becoming the individual that oversees the entire brewing process in a brewery?

We’ve developed a 5 step process to get you there. We’ll explain each step in more depth below. To begin, the extremely basic steps go like:

  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Get Social
  3. Attend a Professional Brewing School
  4. Start Working In a Brewery
  5. Advance

Step 1.

Educate Yourself:

This is a house of learned doctors!…Ehrm, I mean, brewers

Any brewmaster will tell you that the first step to becoming a Master Brewer is to do research on your own, and to set up your own home brewing project.

This is a process you can undertake entirely on your own, but chances are your buddies are going to want in on it. At-home starter kits and beginner’s guides are both easily accessed here.

Starter kits typically range from around $50–$200.

You can find a beginner’s guide on how to brew beer in your own home here.

The basic steps of the brewing process go like:

  • Malting
  • Milling
  • Mashing
  • Boiling
  • Fermenting
  • Conditioning
  • Filtering

Start right now. I mean, do I really need to convince you to go craft your own high quality brewskies in the comfort of your home?

While you’re beginning to learn the basics, you may also want to take some educational courses on the side.

General chemistry, physics, microbiology, and engineering courses at your local community college will suffice, and will later be of tremendous help.

Related: Best Breweries In America

Step 2.

Get Social:

It’s time to vacate the house chump

This step is all about getting your name out there, networking, and gaining more and more experience in the world of beer and brewing.

Embrace your local people. Start locally, and strap in. This is going to be a process.

You will initially create 67 batches of swamp water. Don’t fret, stay with it. Your processes and skills will improve, and you will eventually be able to consistently produce liquid gold.

At this point, you’re ready to put yourself and your homebrews out there.

Enter your homebrew in local competitions, attend brewing conferences to gain different perspectives and learn new things about the craft, and work beer-related positions.

Some jobs that fall into this category are:

Other possibilities include becoming a local beer judge, becoming a steward, joining homebrew clubs, and writing articles for local homebrew newsletters.

Step 3.

Attend Professional Brewing School/Course

Almost as good as attending Hogwarts, right?

You’ve begun networking, meeting different people involved in the trade, and talking to experienced brewers at conferences and competitions. So, where do you go now if you still can’t get a brewery to take you on as an assistant brewer, or Brewmaster.

There are two possibilities:

  1. Attend a Professional Brewing School or University Affiliated Brewing Program
  2. Continue (or start) working in a brewery, starting at the bottom, working your way up through the ranks until you’ve learned enough to receive an opportunity to become the lead Brewmaster

Attending a Professional Brewing School or University Affiliated Brewing Program will only aid you in achieving your dream faster, however. There are over 30 such schools/programs available here in the United States. A comprehensive list can be found here.

Step 4.

Put That Degree To Use

Don’t just get your foot in the door, put your boot through it

You need to get a job working in a brewery at this point; bottom line.

Begin this fourth step by visiting your favorite pubs, nearby pubs, and any pub you can think of that you’re able to get to.

While visiting these pubs, talk to the owners (and brewers) and ask about job openings. You can also find jobs online on various job websites and forums. Continue your research and exploration, just like in step one.

Standing out during this step is crucial. You want the owners of pubs and breweries to remember you. Be unique when introducing yourself.

Standing out is key. Some people have gone as far as bringing their own homebrews to interviews, and using their resume as the label on their bottles. Get creative like this.

You want people to remember you and to think about your face when new positions become available.

Step 5.

Advance

You’re an unstoppable, well-oiled, working machine!

If you have to start at a lower level position than you’d like, it’s okay, just breathe. Remember that you’re surrounded by delicious beer, and not working in a 24/7 call center anymore.

Once you have your foot in the door and you’ve secured a job at a brewery, you’re on the right track. The next step is to keep your ear to the floor and advance. You have to be aware of open positions springing up and you have to seize these opportunities.

Once you’re working at a brew pub, brewery, or microbrewery, you have the chance to show what you’re capable of. Show an interest in becoming the head brewer. Become the Brewmaster’s assistant, learn from him, and wait patiently.

Be hungry for the next position, and let everyone that you’re working with that you’re hungry.

Your skills as a brewer will be far more advanced than when you began brewing swamp water in your mother’s basement.

Before you know it, you’ll be getting a call from a new brewery that’s just sprung up.

They’ll say, “Hey, we’ve heard really good things about your brewing knowledge and skills. We’ve seen that you’ve been working for Red Oak as an assistant brewer for the past three years and we’d like to put you in charge of our entire brewery. We’re very interested in hiring you to be the lead Brewmaster at Snake Jake’s Brewery in Asheville, NC.”

Summary

And boom, just like that you’ve done it. You are a Brewmaster in charge of overseeing the entire brewing process at Snake Jake’s Brewery in the stunning mountains of Asheville, NC.

You:

  1. Educated Yourself- taught yourself how to brew
  2. Got Social- networked and created a name for yourself
  3. Attended a Professional Brewing School- learned from professionals
  4. Started Working In a Brewery- gained real life experience
  5. Advanced- worked and worked until you found a golden opportunity

Pursue what makes you happy. Whether you want to brew beer for the remainder of your days, or open up your own coffee shop in the Himalayas, set up a plan and stay with it.

Before you know it, you will be an ultimate Brewmaster, with every brewery in the country hounding after your expertise and guidance.

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