Cheers to the Hard-Working Brewers on Labor Day

I often comment that there’s a lot of money in beer, and there is … for some owners. The folks who actually work in the breweries–not so much. Brewing is having its moment as a high-status job, but the work itself is blue-collar, lift-and-sweat labor. Even at small breweries, where new-recipe creation happens each week (the glamorous part), for the people who must put water to malt and make those beers, the days are long and hard. What can brewers expect to make?

According to PayScale and the American Brewers Guild, this is what you’re looking at:

  • Assistant brewer. The range runs about $30-$40,000 for most breweries. If you happen to score a job brewing at a big company that makes more that 60,000 barrels, it might go as high as $60,000. Brewpub salaries might be even lower. Only half of workers have medical benefits (48%).
  • Head brewer. The range runs from $35,000-47,000, and again only about half (52%) of head brewers get medical benefits.
  • Brewmaster. Unsurprisingly, this is the most well-compensated, with a range from around $40,000 to around $76,000. Big breweries may pay much more ($100,000+, but these are very rare, highly-placed positions). Amazingly, only two-thirds of brewmasters receive medical benefits.

These are not terrible salaries, but neither are they going to line a person’s garage with Teslas. It’s increasingly common for breweries to expect brewers to have specialized degrees to get these jobs, which make the salaries even less competitive. (People in the marketing department make as much or more; the accountant makes substantially more.)

All of which is to say that, on this Labor Day raise your pint to the hard-working men and women who deliver you those delicious pints and bottles of beer. They’re working very hard, not getting rich, and they’re doing an absolutely bang-up job.

from Beervana


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