5 Skills Every Brewery Employee Should Have 

5 Skills Every Brewery Employee Should Have Title Image

Whether you’re a brewery looking to hire, or you’re in the market for a job in the brewing industry, there are some patterns and commonalities no matter where you look.  We’ve scoured job boards like Brewbound and others to identify the top trends of skills you should have and what to look for.

While everyone can claim to have a “positive, can-do attitude”, there are the basic core skill requirements, then there are role-specific requirements. Mastering these skills will help you thrive and stand out above the rest.

Here’s a summary of the basic core skills that any position requires, regardless of position:

Core Skills

Communication

You should be able to summarize quickly and succinctly, communicate results or activities, and summarize the needs of your department and communicate with others.

On the customer side, you’ll be expected to interact with customers, tell your brewery’s story effectively, and represent your brewery’s brand, whether it’s in the taproom, special tastings, conferences or festivals. Building & maintaining relationships with customers, prospects or vendors is the key to ensure success of the brewery.

“The skill of listening is probably the most important basic skill to have. It’s not about what you want to brew, it’s about what the customer wants to drink.” – Mike Alcorn, Founder and Chief Craftologist, CB Craft Brewers

Source: New York Jobs

Attention to Detail

If a company can’t trust you to check for mistakes for small tasks, how can it trust you with the bigger things? These tasks include everything from math measurements, recipes, time management, proofreading newsletters, tracking inventory and pulling bad beer. Neglecting protocols and standards of practice (SOPs) can cost the brewery precious time and money, get someone sick, injured, or worse. No matter the title, it’s everyone’s job to mind the little things.

“The brewing itself requires attention to detail, math, chemistry and being able to focus on precise measurements and recipes, while also dealing with supplies, inventory, accounting, and managing the rest of the employees and issues that arise when running any business.

You’ll also need creativity, flexibility and communication skills to work with the other brewers and employees, as well as your malt and hops suppliers and customers, of course.” – Jeff Ware, President, Resurgence Brewing

Source: New York Jobs

Resourceful / Problem Solving

Problem solving and resourcefulness are some of the most underrated skills. While some knowledge only comes through physical experience, like: “Experience System Troubleshooting (Brewhouse, fermenters, condition tanks and beer tanks),” you’d be surprised by how far a simple Google search will get you. You can learn how to setup a website, create a marketing plan, an SOP, or even brew your own beer. The knowledge is out there. Providing specific examples on your resume of how you are self-taught screams self-starter, which is a valuable skill.

Industry Knowledge

Coming into an interview with an understanding of where the market is going, emerging trends, and what you bring to the table are all important. One of the most underrated factors in an employee is a sharp business acumen.

Understand costs, tracking, and how you can help improve processes and efficiency while not losing focus on the craft. The industry is changing, and margins are tighter than ever. How will you help the brewery adapt to change?

Embrace Technology

Technology will continue to play an important role in the business side of crafting beverages. Even if you just want to brew, technology will be a part of your day-to-day as breweries look to integrate technology into the business.

Tools, systems, and industry specific solutions are investments breweries make to help optimize and streamline in order to free you its employees to do more of what they do best. Study them, learn them, adopt them, get certified and stay current. Having experience with various technologies on your resume can help you stand out and make you more valuable to your current brewery, or the brewery down the street.

Here are some of the standout tools you should get to know:

  • Software: Brewery Management Software, ERP, VIP iDIG, BeerSmith Microsoft Suite, CRM, POS (Square, etc.)
  • Marketing: Adobe Suite, Trello, Hootsuite, Vimeo, Vidyard
  • Project Management: Basecamp, TeamWork, Trello

“Number one skill – be a lifelong learner. There is never a day you won’t learn something new … unless you aren’t trying. Even if it’s relearning something you already forgot.” – Tim Hawn, Brewmaster Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Source: New York Jobs

Brewery-Role Specific Competencies

Accounting

Accounting Responsibilities Image

Job types: Accountant/ Finance Director/Office Manager

A brewery accounting/finance role will manage the financial health of the brewery and should be able to provide insights and traceability of all financial transactions.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Have an in-depth understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which is required by US law
  • Be able to utilize cash disbursement journals to manage all outflows of cash receipts
  • Handle standard accounting activities like AR/AP, payment processing and check writing
  • Understand standard accrual accounting principles
  • Depreciate fix assets utilizing common depreciation methods like straight-line, units-of-production, sum-of-years digits and double-declining balance
  • Process bank reconciliations to ensure that the cash and books of the business match
  • Process the business’s month-end close
  • Develop and review annual budgets and forecasts for the overall business and departments
  • Analyze actual performance based on approved budgets
  • Calculate production variances, which measures the amount of overhead applied to the number of units produced
  • Process sales and use tax returns utilizing TTB reports
  • Have a general understanding of Quickbooks or other ERP/brewery management software, like OrchestratedBeer

Production & Planning

Production Job Responsibilities Image

Job types: Brewer/Brewmaster/Director of Operations/Director of Production/ Cellarperson/Canning Line Operator

A brewery employee on the planning side makes sure the brewery never runs out of ingredients or product. You need to understand what you have in stock and what the future state of your stock will be.

The production side works closely with the cellar team and owner, assists in brewery scheduling and day-to-day operations. They may also be involved in special projects across all of operations, including expansion projects.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Anticipate what, when, and how much to buy or what to produce based on demands in sales and production
  • Develop new product recipes and brewery processes
  • Ensure the quality of each batch is up to company standards
  • Have proficiency/experience in computer skills, ERP software and other brewery management software
  • Analyze sales data to produce the necessary supply in response of market demand
  • Create and utilize demand forecasts to conduct Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Establish key performance indicators to assess the brewing departments’ performance
  • Conduct production planning tasks including scheduling, brewing, cellaring
  • Manage and maintain production budgets
  • Oversee the purchasing and contract negotiations of materials like hop contracts
  • Work with sales to create demand forecasts
  • Develop and document SOPs
  • Fill out monthly/quarterly TTB reports, and state & excise reports

Inventory

Inventory Responsibilities Image

Job Types: Warehouse Manager/Shipping & Receiving

A brewery inventory coordinator/manager knows the ins-and-outs of inventory to better maintain optimum stock levels. You may oversee supply chain management and distribution efforts, maintain receiving, maintain warehousing, distribution operations, and assist in brewery production through packaging efforts, equipment maintenance and cleaning processes.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Accurately process live inventory counts, transfers and receipts
  • Pull orders, verify shipments are correct & prepare orders for shipping
  • Prepare inventory-level and TTB reports
  • Forecast needed future inventory levels based on demand reports
  • Receive freight & verify quantities by performing inventory counts
  • Rotate product according to company policy
  • Familiar with FIFO standards and JIT production process
  • Provide packaging and kegging support
  • Acquired an active forklift certification

Sales

Sales and Marketing Responsibilities Image

Job Types: Sales Rep/ Territory Manager/ Sales Manager/ Regional Sales Manager/Marketing Director

The sales team is responsible for building the brand presence at retail and on-premise locations, supporting the planning and execution of events, helping educate drinkers, exceeding sales objectives and educating consumers while pursuing new business development opportunities. Sales reps passionately represent their brewery and educate all partners, staff and consumers about the brewery’s brands.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Possess a strong working knowledge of the three-tier system, which maps the relationships and responsibilities between the producer, distributor and retail
  • Make better promises from quote to delivery by analyzing what your business has on-hand and will have in the future via forecasting
  • Manage a comprehensive sales territory of on and off-premise accounts in a territory
  • Manage a portfolio of current accounts, maximizing opportunities within an existing account base
  • Achieve revenue & sales goals through new business opportunities and increased current account sales
  • Execute on-site tastings or staff training at accounts that encourage it
  • Work closely with the Accounts Receivable team to keep accounts up-to-date
  • Build & manage strong distributor relationships

Marketing

Marketing is the driving force to attracting potential customers to your brewery. They are responsible for educating customers on your brewery’s newest products and initiatives through website management, social media & other marketing channels.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Conceptualize and create engaging campaigns to help tell your brewery’s story
  • Develop go-to-market campaigns for new product launches
  • Gain a deep understanding of your brewery and the market through analyzing data, uncovering new market trends and conducting market research
  • Optimize your brewery’s inbound and outbound campaigns & activities based on your customers’ buyers’ journey
  • Use of digital equipment DSLRs, GoPros, sound recording equipment to create and edit original web, social, and media content
  • Monitor and manage brewery social media accounts
  • Edit photo/video content and create graphics using Adobe Creative Cloud or similar editing software

Conclusion

The craft beer industry has changed dramatically over the past few years and will continue to get increasingly competitive. It’s just different now. Breweries can no longer afford to operate fast and loose.

They will rely on smart, forward-looking employees to help maximize efficiency, be a brand advocate, and adopt the tools they’ve invested in to help them continuously improve. Their future often depends on people who will embrace the challenge of being a continuous learner, staying on top of trends, and making the best business decisions for the brewery so they can continue to focus on their craft.