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 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 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 the brand, whether it’s in the taproom, special tastings, conferences or festivals. Building & maintaining relationships with customers, prospects or vendors was also a common theme.

“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 with the small things, how can it trust you with the bigger things? This includes everything from math measurements, recipes, time management, proofreading newsletters, tracking inventory and pulling bad beer. Neglecting protocols and 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 craft. Even if you just want to brew, technology will be a part of the 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 to free you up to do more of what you do best. Study them, learn them, adopt them, get certified, stay current. Having this experience 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.

Other responsibilities may include:

  • GAAP knowledge
  • Cash receipts & disbursements
  • Standard Accounting Activities: AR/AP, payment processing, check writing
  • Accruals
  • Fixed assets
  • Bank Reconciliations
  • Revenue recognition for multiple entities
  • Month-end close process
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
  • Annual budgets and forecasts
  • Calculate production variances
  • Sales and use tax returns (TTB)
  • Quickbooks or other ERP/brewery management software
  • Brewery financial reporting

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.

Other responsibilities may include:

  • Anticipate what, when, and how much to buy or what to produce based on demands in sales and production
  • Track batches from grain to glass
  • General computer proficiency/ERP experience/Brewery management software
  • Material Requirements Planning
  • Establish metrics (planned vs. actual, variances)
  • Analyze data and forecasting
  • Production planning tasks including scheduling, brewing, cellaring
  • Manage and maintain production budgets
  • Oversee the purchasing and negotiations/Contract negotiations: hop contracts/spot contracts
  • Work with sales on order forecasts
  • Develop and document SOPs
  • Quarterly/monthly TTB reports, state & excise reports

Inventory

Inventory Responsibilities Image

Job Types: Warehouse Manager/Shipping & Receiving

A brewery inventory role 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.

Other responsibilities may include:

  • Accurately complete live inventory counts, transfers, receipts
  • Pull orders, verify shipments are correct & prepare orders for shipping
  • Receive freight & verify quantities
  • Rotate product according to company policy
  • Familiar with FIFO standards and JIT production process
  • Finished goods inventory management and physical inventory counts
  • Packaging and kegging support
  • Active forklift certification

Sales & Marketing

Sales and Marketing Responsibilities Image

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

A brewery sales role involves building the brand presence at retail and on-premise locations. The sales role often supports the planning and execution of events, helps educate drinkers, is responsible for exceeding sales objectives, 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.

Other responsibilities may include:

  • Possess a strong working knowledge of the three-tier system
  • Make better promises from quote to delivery
  • 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 current
  • Know what’s available to customers for immediate and future delivery
  • Manage distributor relationships

On the Marketing side, responsibilities may include:

  • Conceptualize and create engaging campaigns to help tell the brewery story
  • 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.