Average pay/salary for brewery workers? (IL/IN)

Discussion in 'US - Midwest' started by NpD, Apr 14, 2013.

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  1. NpD

    NpD Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 Illinois

    I know that few get to be filthy, stinking, rich doing this stuff (trust me, two out of three doesn't cut it!) but I'm wondering what the average pay/salary is for grunt workers at Half Acre, Pipeworks, 18th St., Sinister, Haymarket, Solemn Oath, 5 Rabbit, 4 Paws, FFF, 2 Bros, Finch (be nice...) and all the others I'm missing.

    Anyone know people that know people?
    Is it enough to support yourself w/o secondary income?
  2. miketd

    miketd Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio

    I know a guy that was working at two popular breweries, in Ohio and Florida, as an assistant brewer. He made about $15 an hour at both places. He's working as a bartender now and probably makes more.
  3. moju

    moju Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2011 Illinois

    Depends on what you need to support yourself. If you've got three kids and a mortgage entry-level brewery work isn't going to cut it for you. If you're just an autonomous guy getting by, you can make it work. You cast a pretty wide net with your examples...in some cases (2 Brothers, etc.) I'm sure the brewers make a comfortable living, in others (Sinister et al) the brewers have equity and probably aren't taking a salary at all.
  4. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (3,070) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin

    Grunt workers probably get around min wage as they won't have a special skill set that will demand higher pay.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  5. justyouraveragebeerguy

    justyouraveragebeerguy Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Three Floyd's will give you minimum wage. But they include benefits like acting like you are cooler/better than u're patrons.
    mahler, jmdrpi, swolepeer and 24 others like this.
  6. PDZ

    PDZ Initiate (0) Jun 26, 2012 Illinois

    cant afford to shower, but rich in personality and enthusiasm!
  7. imperialbeerdude

    imperialbeerdude Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2012 Colorado

    brewmaster average pay is 50 g's
  8. Kwaz

    Kwaz Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2012 Illinois

    I liked this post despite its obvious grammar flaw because of its hilarious snarkiness.
    TheKlevin and Benny3000 like this.
  9. NpD

    NpD Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 Illinois

    Wow. Thanks everybody for chiming in. Much appreciated!
  10. imfrommichigan

    imfrommichigan Initiate (0) Jul 12, 2012 Utah

    I wonder how much Kosmicki makes...

    Edit: I know it's MI but still... he's gotta make bank.
  11. NpD

    NpD Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 Illinois

    I mean, the ideal job would be doing labels/logos/merch/etc, as I'm an artist & designer, but I know, like everything else, you've got to work your way up to get there.
    We'll see.
    Thanks again.
  12. MADhombrewer

    MADhombrewer Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2008 Oregon

    I think the key is to get in the business as early as possible (sub 21yrs?). That way you have the time to start as grunt then >brewer> brewmaster> owner of your own place. The real money is your own place/brewery.

    My .02
    DVoors, azorie, Bonis and 2 others like this.
  13. robconoclast

    robconoclast Initiate (0) Jun 22, 2012 Ohio

    Two options. 1.) Get a brewing certificate from Siebel...but there is a waiting list to get in (2 years I believe). 2.) Start off as a grunt on a bottling line, work hard, be patient, and hopefully you'll be promoted from witihin. I worked as a cook and transferred to the bottling line. I took a heck of a paycut but worked out a budget with my wife. On my current pay I'm able to afford a house and invest 15% of my income for retirement. Being a homebrewer doen't really help you get in the industry. Be prepared to be covered in beer, grease, glass (I keep bandages in my locker), caustic acids...etc. Be aware of your surroundings and depending how busy the brewey is be prepared to lift a couple thousand cases or 12 packs a shiift.
  14. NpD

    NpD Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 Illinois

    That's refreshing to hear. While I may not have started as early as I should have, at least I'm trying ... and for now, that's all that counts.
    I put in 100% in to what I do, regardless of pay/work/conditions/etc. and have no problem with grunt work as long as I know that, eventually, it will/can pay off.
    For now ... here goes ... something.
  15. Spider889

    Spider889 Meyvn (1,295) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    The Brewer's Association has some statistics on this if you want to hunt for them. They are industry averages though, and likely not specific to a specific region.

    I have heard that some areas of the country pay better than others, and I'm sure that much of it comes down to each brewery as well - a regional brewery with good sales and an employee forward philosophy may pay very well compared to your local brewpub for the same position.

    From what I remember looking at though entry level jobs average in the low 20's and things go up form there depending on the type of brewery. As with all else, experience/skill set will play a large role as well. I've seen job postings from New Belgium offering 100k for an accountant and I'll bet there are "brewmasters" at small pubs pulling less than 30k.

    Obviously we all have to support ourselves so money isn't a moot point by any means, but if you're in need of a certain size paycheck to stay afloat this is likely the wrong industry to enter...
  16. Bogforce

    Bogforce Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2010 Ohio

    Small locations won't be able to pay more than 12-16 an hour. If you are passionate about it and are willing to work for cheap than I guess that could be an option. Learn how to bartender and you could make 20-25+ an hour.
  17. liamt07

    liamt07 Poo-Bah (2,718) Jul 26, 2009 Canada (ON)

    100K+OT or something. Right?


  18. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,911) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    +health+401k+pension plan+company car.
    Wait, that was my engineering job.
    waston, nickMB and Mitchell57 like this.
  19. Spider889

    Spider889 Meyvn (1,295) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    Not sure if he gets it...

    Was only a so-so beer anyways, lol.
  20. Luckytiki

    Luckytiki Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2010 Indiana

    Thought I would pull this out from the depths... curious if anyone has found/heard/experienced more info on this? I have an interview for an entry level position at a small local Indiana brewery tomorrow.
  21. theburden

    theburden Initiate (29) Dec 17, 2002 Illinois

    Full Medical, short term and long term disability if you're interested, matching 401K, competitive pay, good work environment, training, travel, get to work in a brewery that values safety and quality.
  22. craigo19

    craigo19 Initiate (194) Oct 12, 2009 Michigan

    Accountants don't get OT, I have been one for over 15 years and haven't seen a dime in OT and rarely a thank you.
  23. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,911) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The supply is higher than the demand (everybody wants to get into the beer business), so the market rate is not very high. Actually it is pretty low, according to some friends in the industry. I also saw some figures for pay ranges at a talk by an industry person, and those would surprise most.

    This is a business where you might get rich if you own the place and it grows over 20-35 years. Otherwise you will make a living wage, but have a fun lifestyle. Not many brewers have McMansions, drive fancy cars, and wear fine clothes. Once they have a production brewery making >100k bbl/year maybe they can splurge on those things, but not the ones I know at small places, or working for someone else.
  24. BeyondDescription

    BeyondDescription Disciple (315) Feb 9, 2009 Vermont

    You certainly don't get into the beer business to be rich. You enter because you're passionate about the craft.

    Besides, we're all dead in the end- and you can't take that money with you, so you might as well do what you love.
  25. liamt07

    liamt07 Poo-Bah (2,718) Jul 26, 2009 Canada (ON)

    You've obviously missed the joke.
    aasher likes this.
  26. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Champion (865) Sep 6, 2013 Pennsylvania

    That's pretty sad TBH
  27. NpD

    NpD Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 Illinois

    I didn't get into beer & brewing to be rich. I just want to be able to survive.
    I bought dinner for myself 4 times a year, I only bought necessary groceries, and live on my own in a very low rent place. But couldn't stay afloat with less than 15k/yr.

    Depending on the brewery, if they care about their people, you can survive (especially if it's a "family" vibe.)
    If on the first day, you're told that you can be replaced via craigslist, it's gonna suck. (this was my first experience)

    Ask the people you work with how long they've been there, if they enjoy it, how long they plan to stay, etc. (maybe over beers after work)

    Keep us posted, Luckytiki
    Good luck!
    BeyondDescription and azorie like this.
  28. jbck109

    jbck109 Aspirant (221) May 30, 2010 Michigan

    Around $20,000 a year is my guess. I was offered this by a friend/brewer, but wasn't sure about leaving my job for a pay cut, so I didn't take it. Talking to him, it seems like $8-11/hr is a pretty common starting wage, and a good brewer will make $30-40k a year. Some headbrewers and master brewers will make 50-75k a year, he does not know of anyone that is on the brewing side of things that makes six figures. So, don't expect to get rich, but if you are diligent, you can work up to a decent career in something you are interested in.
    azorie likes this.
  29. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (3,609) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana

    Rep jobs for distributors may be a more profitable avenue for people just getting into the industry. I'd guess you could make anywhere from $25k-45k as a rep, depending on territory and how good you are. Like others have said, the industry doesn't pay enough...
  30. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I had a few interviews with a local brewery, currently distributes to around 10 states to give an idea of size, for a rep job. When discussing compensation, I was told I could expect to make around $40,000 if I would meet certain sales goals. Keep in mind that this job would involve regular travel, events several nights a week at times and often working far more than a typical 40 hour work week. Taking that all into account, the hourly wage is really quite low.

    At bigger breweries in the area, I have been quoted starting pay around $15/hour for brewers with experience. You should expect considerably less for those without experience or those working on bottling lines or other non beer production roles.

    Bartending may actually be the best paying job to break into the industry in many cases.
  31. TheodorHerzl

    TheodorHerzl Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2007 Indiana

    You know how you make a small fortune in the beer business?

    Start with a large fortune.
  32. BertSugar

    BertSugar Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2007 Indiana

    Yup. From what I understand, that's fairly spot on. The "rude" meme is getting tiresome.
    Dontcounttoday likes this.
  33. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I am not sure I would go rude, arrogant could be a better descriptor. I understand that the meme could get tiresome but sometimes people just happen to perpetuate a stereotype. Not saying it is good or bad, but the meme exists for a reason.
  34. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,911) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Your numbers are pretty close, the range might have a little more spread, down for a brewpub and up for a large production brewery.

    I would expect there are some at large breweries with a title more like "Brewery Operations Manager" or "Brewery Production Manager" make close to or more than $100k.

    There are some outstanding brewers that have been made a partner in large successful brewery. There is some financial incentive and reward for that.

    You don't get rich working for someone else. That is a motivation for many to open their own brewery.
    jbck109 likes this.
  35. ryanmextorf

    ryanmextorf Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2014 Virginia

    Thank you
    craigo19 likes this.
  36. cg123

    cg123 Initiate (109) Feb 27, 2012 Ohio

    I just got a job at a larger production brewery (Brewers Association top 25 in size) and I will be getting compensated fairly for my field and experience level; in addition to the standard health insurance, 401k with match, disability, profit sharing, bonus potential, etc. I will be in operations/management though. I have worked for 10 years in safety, environmental and health and am just transferring that experience in to a brewery setting. If you can show prior experience relates to brewing, which is really just a type of manufacturing, it may help. There are other jobs at a brewery other than brewer...
  37. the_King

    the_King Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2013 Michigan

    His post only addressed how they were compensated, not their attitude.
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