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Possible job at a brewery? Wise decision?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MammaGoose, Apr 9, 2013.

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  1. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Wyoming

    Last summer, I applied for an apprentice brewer job at our small local brewery. I saw the ad on a homebrewing forum, and there wasn't any local advertisement for it. I applied more for kicks and giggles than anything. I love our local brewery, and I wanted to ask the brewmaster some questions (for homebrewing purposes, lol). I thought the interview went well enough, but I never expected a call back. I knew there were candidates flying in from around the country, some who had just graduated from brew schools. But, I got a call back for a second interview. That went fine also, but I still didn't take it too seriously. To my surprise, I got a call back to find out that I was one of the final two candidates.

    Well, that same day, I also got a call back from the company that I currently work for. A job as a radiochemist (radioactive chem) at an environmental testing laboratory. So I agreed to do a few trial days at the brewery. I did that, enjoyed myself, but I still felt like the lab job was more "grown up." So I pretty much turned down the brewer position.

    I've worked for about 6 months at the lab. And I've learned a lot, and it's alright work. But what I thought was an incredible career possibility, is actually much more dead end. I test samples for Radium and Thorium. Everyday. And if I worked there until I retired, I could very well be testing for Radium and Thorium everyday. It's literally been four years since anyone in the company has moved up. The work is pretty cool science, but it's redundant, and the company is pretty mediocre as far as morale and benefits and pay go. I've always kind of regretted turning down the brewery job.

    Well today I got an email from the master brewery saying they're going to be looking for a part time worker who should eventually go full time (they're planning on starting a canning line soon, and generally expanding...more tanks, wider distro, etc). He said I would have to interview again, but I'm still considered a top candidate.

    So I'm probably going to do the interview and ask him a few questions, but here are a few of my pros and cons that I've been considering.

    - About the same pay and benefits at both jobs.
    - I'll eventually go full time (my boyfriend and I split bills, he's okay with me working part time, I'd still be earning enough).
    - I'm passionate about brewing, not so passionate about Radium and Thorium.
    - It's an expanding company, and I'd be third in command on the brewing side.

    - It's only part time...while we could comfortably swing it with bills and such, we wouldn't have as much moolah, obviously
    - The hours might be somewhat erratic at first.
    - It would definitely be bitch work...keg cleaning, keg moving, more cleaning and more moving. I'm not sure if that's really a con...I'm okay with hard work, and that's kind of what you expect when you're the new kid. My job now is actually fairly physical.

    Sorry that was so long-winded...I'm just looking for some feedback. I'm mostly thrown off by the part time thing, I guess. But like I said, it's an brewery that's doing awesome and has major expansion plans. Maybe it could be an "in" to an industry that I'm personally passionate about.
    sjverla, Duff27 and kemoarps like this.
  2. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Wyoming

    Wow, thread posted and I knew it was getting a little lengthy, but I didn't realize what a novel it was. Major kudos to anyone who gets through all that... :flushed:
    SatlyMalty, Onenote81, Hanzo and 7 others like this.
  3. BlindSalimander

    BlindSalimander Initiate (93) Aug 16, 2010 Texas

    Go for your passion. Life is short.
  4. BlackDragon

    BlackDragon Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2013 Michigan

    Be easier for people to give you advice if they knew which brewery you were talking about
    rauchfest likes this.
  5. bryanole27

    bryanole27 Aspirant (227) Jun 24, 2011 North Carolina

    Are you currently a member of radiumadvocate.com? Didn't think so:slight_smile:

    Go for it. Worse case you go back to your current field. Best case you love it and change your entire path in life. This is one of those decisions that you would always regret not taking.

    Good luck!
  6. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Wyoming

    It's not at all a well known brewery. Just a little local joint in my small Wyoming town that has done surprisingly well for itself. I may be overly paranoid, because I'm not really sure if it matters/pretty sure it probably doesn't, but I'd rather not mention the specific name on the public forum. I just don't know if it's kosher as an employee candidate?? I'd be happy to BM it to anyone who is interested though :slight_smile:
  7. IPAkindaguy

    IPAkindaguy Aspirant (294) Aug 20, 2010 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Go for what you love, you wont regret it later. I have doing the same type work for 6+ years and would jump at any opportunity for a brewery type job. If you can still meet bills and live comfortably, do it.
    carteravebrew, KhakCane and dianimal like this.
  8. 4kbrianb

    4kbrianb Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2013 California

    from my vantage point... the pro's outweigh the cons. If you have passion for the line of work, then charge it!
    If you guys can swing lower income for a little bit until you go full time I also say charge it. Ask the head brewer if he has a general idea or guess as to when the position would go full time, pending performance of course.

    Personally, I say go for it and don't look back. I ran in to a similar decision once.. not involving a brewery though... and wish I would've gone the direction I didn't choose. No regret, live it, love it!
    kemoarps likes this.
  9. BlackDragon

    BlackDragon Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2013 Michigan

    Well I guess part of the question is do you like/believe in their beer or would you take the job hoping to change the recipes
    kemoarps likes this.
  10. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,301) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    You have to decide if the hours. pay and benefits of the two jobs have advantages one over the other. You have already said the job satisfaction in the current job is low. You might not make more money, but you will have a more rewarding lifestyle. Why not? Don't burn any bridges, you may find that the glamorous life of brewing is not for you. It can be hard work, and 80+% will be cleaning and sanitizing at a small place.
    kemoarps likes this.
  11. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,301) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Taking a job in a brewery hoping to change the recipes is recipe for a quick exit from stories I have heard. Just saying.
    Ell, jkblodge and nickfl like this.
  12. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (1,768) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    1) Figure out what you love to do
    2) Figure out what you are good at
    Find something that includes both # 1 &2.

    I think you know the answer. If you wanted someone to tell you to keep the chemist job you would have posted the question on chemistry advocate.
  13. AndrewSmith

    AndrewSmith Aspirant (276) Jan 27, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    What he said.
    russpowell likes this.
  14. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,235) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Haha I am faced with a similar dilemma, but from the reverse angle. After my company lost its recycling contract, I was unemployed 2 years ago, and wanted to get into brewing, and applied with locals. Ended up taking what I thought was work with long term potential, didn't even wait to hear back from all the breweries, but now I find my boss is a screw up, I am facing reduced hours and possible lay off, and still haven't gotten my CTS certification, so I will be hard pressed to line up work in the same field locally.

    Have a friend who is getting his nano license with a kickass Blichmann 48 gallon system who could use a partner and I don't know if I should go for it, even though it will mean less money, maybe none for a while, and work that is just as hard if not harder.

    I am thinking of going for it, and I give you the reason for this as I wonder if it will help you make up your mind. Brewing is what I love to do, and I am good at it. We should all do what we love and if we are good at it we should succeed, shouldn't we?
  15. rails

    rails Initiate (145) Nov 8, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

  16. AnotherImperial

    AnotherImperial Aspirant (239) Oct 29, 2012 Arizona

    If you feel it won't be a problem to go back to your current field if the new job doesn't work out (never turns into full time, you don't like it as much as you thought you would, etc.), then I'd go for it.
  17. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,748) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Do it. If the money's a bit tight, you could grab a second part-time gig until you go FT. Do it.
    kemoarps and MaxOhle like this.
  18. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Wyoming

    Ah, I understand your question better now...

    I actually like their beer quite a lot. Part of it is hometown pride, part of it is because I learned to love beer at this place, but I do think their beer is quite solid. They're a relatively new brewery (about 4 years old), and for awhile, they were struggling to keep up with demand for their flagship beers, so they weren't experimenting quite as much. That was my only complaint. The beer is great, but I was bored with the selection. Now that they've brought in a few more tanks, and have plans to bring in many more, they've been experimenting a lot more and doing a good job of it. Basically, I have a lot of pride in the company and their product, even if I never work there.

    It would also be an incredible opportunity to get into the industry. As I mentioned, I would be third in line. The brewmaster, the guy they hired when I turned it down last year, then me. That's not bad if they continue to hire more people as they expand. The brewmaster started out in a similar position, and was taught from keg-cleaning up. From the few trial days I worked with him, he's a very patient and VERY thorough trainer. Like a brew-sensei, lol. In just the few days I worked there, I learned an incredible amount about brewing and beer tasting, all knowledge which I still utilize in homebrewing and beer appreciation.
    kemoarps, mecummins and MaxOhle like this.
  19. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poo-Bah (1,530) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    Completely irrelevant since you are not moving from one brewery to another. I wish I enjoyed my job so if you believe this will be more enjoyable and satisfying by all means go for it!
    kemoarps and jnoble like this.
  20. Cenosillicaphobe

    Cenosillicaphobe Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2011 Maine

    I say that if you don't give your passion a shot...you will wonder what if? for the rest of your life...so take the temporary hit...and pursue what you love.
    kemoarps likes this.
  21. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    I think you've really answered your own question already. I will just say this...Those willing to follow dreams and take risks are more likely to accomplish great things and reap the benefits.
    4kbrianb, kemoarps and craigo19 like this.
  22. craigo19

    craigo19 Disciple (330) Oct 12, 2009 Michigan
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Go for it, sounds like a good opportunity to do what you love doing.
  23. BigOldOaf

    BigOldOaf Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2011 Massachusetts

    Do it, especially if you don't enjoy your current job or see a prosperous future at that company. Doing something you're fully invested in, even it takes sacrifice at first, pays off in many ways down the road. Your fellow Beer Advocates are behind you!
  24. mixed_master7

    mixed_master7 Initiate (0) May 16, 2012 Florida

    Think of it this way..

    How much money do you spend on beer a week? Most breweries have benefits such as a few 6-packs a week for employees and whatnot. Yes you would be part time and making a bit less money per week brewing, but if it works out to where you don't have to pay much for beer anymore than it might even out. If it's a passion then go for it, life is short and I would kill for that position, whether it be moving kegs, brewing, canning, or even mopping up after the brewers and cleaning.

    Also, I'm pretty sure asking this question here is going to get a very biased answer for working at the brewery.
    dianimal likes this.
  25. dianimal

    dianimal Initiate (161) Apr 18, 2012 California

    Judging by your list of "pros," I would go for it. It sounds like there is room to grow, and you could always work at other breweries (in different capacities) once you get more experience.
  26. StoutOne

    StoutOne Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2009 New York

    Based on what you have written it sounds to me as if you want to do it. Go for it. Sounds like you have all the right support systems in place and I did not hear anything about children. This is the time to take chances.
    JimDH and dianimal like this.
  27. MikeEhrmantraut

    MikeEhrmantraut Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2012 Tennessee

    Going out on a limb here, but I expect the majority of the answers here will say to take the brewery job.

    When my wife picks her grad school I can only be so lucky to land a brewery job. I don't really want to move to another beer store gig, even though I enjoy it greatly. Next logical step up is brewery or distribution.
    HevvyMetalHippie likes this.
  28. fineout

    fineout Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2010 Rhode Island

    If i was you, I would. I can't imagine someone in your field would find it hard to find a job if it doesnt work out and you only have so many chances to do something you truly love. If I ever get a chance to work at some place where I really love the work and can still afford to pay my bills I would leave my job immediately. Im an engineer so I think its also fairly applicable as it would be (fairly) easy to get a job again if I didnt like what I ended up doing
    dianimal likes this.
  29. acurtis

    acurtis Poo-Bah (2,398) Sep 27, 2010 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Sounds like you want to pursue the brewing, it seems to be more exciting so I think it is a good choice. Talk to the brewer and try to get an idea of what part time really means. Is it 15 hours or 30 hours? etc.
    Before you go there think about how much you really want (hours,money,etc) to make it worth the switch. Discuss this with him, tell him you feel that you could really enjoy working there and ask him for his feedback. You may be surprised. If they want you to work there, and it sounds like they do. They will try to do whatever it takes to bring you aboard and make you happy working there.
    djrn2 likes this.
  30. Wisconsin

    Wisconsin Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2008 Wisconsin

    Doing something you actually love is worth more than one pro on the pro/con chart IMO. Working somewhere that has a bright future (potential for expansion and growth) is also important to ensure long term security and advancement within the company. You could pass up the opportunity again and be laid off at the lab next month given their lack of growth. This brewery contacting you twice is a calling that I wouldn't pass up again.
    Nectar likes this.
  31. kmello69

    kmello69 Defender (618) Nov 27, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I'm curious what kind of responses, other than yes, you were expecting to get on Beer Advocate? :wink:

    Do what makes you happy. I've passed up jobs that made lots more money for jobs I knew I would love, and never regretted it.
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  32. 4balance

    4balance Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2011

    I believe in doing what you're passionate about...good luck. Cheers to life being what you make it ~
  33. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,188) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Do it to it.
    ChanChan and 4balance like this.
  34. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (2,454) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Amazing opportunity that I would love to be in position for. You are smart and hardworking and if you took money out of the equation I know you would go to the brewery. Good luck and let us know how it works out.
    4balance likes this.
  35. moju

    moju Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2011 Illinois

    I work in the industry, trust me, you need to add camaraderie to the "pro" list. You'll meet some of the most passionate, entertaining people you have in your entire life...not simply at your new job, but the connections you'll make with others in the field. The future of craft beer is uncertain, but it's not going away. Get on the train while you can, and good luck!
  36. chefkevlar

    chefkevlar Disciple (335) Apr 17, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    You'd make about the same working part time at something you love and have more room for growth vs. full time doing something you are ambivalent towards? Sounds like a pretty easy call to me.
  37. tstigz

    tstigz Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2010 Illinois

    I work in an environmental testing lab too. Kind of a dead end as well. I wish I had the opportunity to work in a brewery.
    dianimal likes this.
  38. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (2,454) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Oh and did you post this same question on RadioChemAdvocate.com for their perspective? :grinning:
    fineout likes this.
  39. Judgie

    Judgie Disciple (320) Nov 21, 2012 Indiana

    From reading what you post, it is clear that you have passion for brewing, for beer, and/or for people. Go for it! the passion will lead to success at this brewery or at others. Speaking from the perspective of a Dad who told his kids to take the safe routes.
  40. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    I think you're asking the wrong people. Asking that question here is like asking your stoner friend if you should get a part time job at a dispensary. So in that vein....yaaaaaaaa duuuuuuuude dooooooo ittttttttt broooooooo
    Duff27, Providence, BrettHead and 4 others like this.
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