The beer industry is quickly becoming one of the hottest industries job seekers are flocking to. On the surface this seems a bit odd, since it isn’t really “a get rich” kind of industry.
However, as you look below the surface, it makes perfect sense. Many people who work in the beer industry are excited to wake up every day and head to work. They love what they do and the people they work with. This type of job satisfaction makes the beer industry so popular.
There are a lot of people trying to get in and a limited number of jobs available. The number one question we receive when training brand ambassadors is always how do I get in?
In a recent conversation with a handful of brewery owners, they all expressed how difficult it was to find good people that fit into the goals and values of their organizations. It’s not that they don’t get anyone applying for open positions.
They actually have too many. It is common for a brewery to get over 100 resumes for a brand ambassador or serving position. With all of those resumes, what can someone making hiring decisions do to move people along in the hiring process? What can a job candidate do to stand out among the crowd?
Here is a list we put together based off of our conversation as well as techniques that have landed others jobs in the beer industry.
1. INVEST IN YOUR BEER EDUCATION
In our conversations with beer business owners, one area that always comes up is beer education. This doesn’t mean you need a four year degree in beer. However, a basic understanding of beer ingredients, brewing, beer styles, and beer service is a good start.
You might be thinking that it doesn’t take a beer expert to pour a good beer and deliver it to your table. You’re right. However, breweries are looking for more from their staff. People can get a beer anywhere. They go to a brewery because they enjoy beer and are excited about consuming local crafted products.
How does it reflect on a brewery if their staff can’t even answer simple questions about their products, ingredients, and their beer making process? Breweries don’t want to hire order takers. They want brand ambassadors.
So where do you start? We recommend completing the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam. If you want to pass it on the first try, our beer exam prep course is a great option.
This is a credential that you can use on a resume to at least show that you are serious about beer. It isn’t going to guarantee you a job, but it will likely get you an interview for a serving position. This exam is a relatively low investment at $69 and only requires you to pass a 60 question online multiple choice exam.
2. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS (IN PERSON AND ONLINE)
I see quite a bit of fails here everyday. Walking around a beer fest handing out resumes is probably not going to cut it (Yes, this happens).
As we mentioned before, this industry revolves around people. This can be in person at a beer event or online.
The wonderful thing about networking online is that you can do it any time and you don’t have to go anywhere to do it. You may be working another job and have a family, but you can still hop on Twitter or Instagram at 2am and interact if you want to.
Following a brewery and liking all of their posts isn’t a strategy. What you should do is to interact and engage with these businesses.
If they post about a new beer they just made, ask them a question about the brewing process. You could ask them questions like:. “What hops did they use?” “Did you add the fruit to the beer during the mash, boil, or before packaging?”
This is a great way to demonstrate some of the beer knowledge you have been working on as well by asking good questions. Share their content and even help out when appropriate.
Once you have a good relationship built with a business, it is a lot easier to hired. Make it clear that you are looking to get into the industry. Just make sure that you have built a relationship before you go firing off a direct message to them asking for a job.
For those looking for a strategy, try this: Make a list of every brewery, beer bar, restaurant, or beer influencer in your area. Follow them on your social media platform of choice and regularly interact with 1-2 times each week. Make sure to track this so that you don’t forget. If you try to do this just randomly going through your feed, it can get tough to keep track of.
Building relationships takes time. Whether you do it in person or online, there is no shortcut. You can’t automate it. You have to be present and you have to be a human being.
Go where the beer people are at. There are always events looking for volunteer help.
Brewers are paying attention to volunteers pouring at events as potential hires. How do you interact with people? Do you have the skills to drive people to their taproom? These are all things they are thinking when they see you interact with others. So what do you do?
Be amazing in your interactions with beer fans. These events are a great place to network, but more importantly, it will help you determine if you will really be happy working in this environment. If you don’t like beer fests, this might not be the career for you.
Now we know that there are people out there that are against working for free. They complain about being taken advantage of. This is fine. There is just one problem.
The market doesn’t care about your complaining or situation. This is supply and demand at its finest. There is a big demand to get into the beer industry and limited jobs to be had. If you want in, you just might have to do some volunteering.
4. LIVE THE LIFESTYLE
When you go to brewery, attend beer fest, or homebrew a beer, you should document it. Put it on your social media channels. This one gets ignored a lot. When someone is looking at you as a potential hire, one of the first things they do when considering you for a job is to check out your social media channels.
Now hopefully you don’t have anything completely offensive that would disqualify you from the hiring process. If you are a creepy person online, this article isn’t going to help you.
In addition to looking for “negatives”, those that are doing the hiring are often looking for someone that “lives the lifestyle”. They want to see how passionate you are about beer. Anyone can say it in an interview, but your social media accounts will give them the truth. You just can’t fake this.
5. BE A GOOD PERSON
We can’t believe we have to write this, but we see a lot of bad interactions out there. If you are disrespectfully arguing with people online about why their beer choices are stupid, you might be in trouble here.
Be a good person. Be someone who is coachable. Be someone that comes from a place of wanting to serve others. And most of all, be someone that other people don’t mind spending 12 hours a day with. If you fail here, the first four strategies on our list probably won’t matter.
An easy place to start is to up your beer education game. If reading books, taking courses, and learning isn’t appealing to you, there is good chance that a beer career isn’t for you.
People who work in the beer industry are passionate about what they do and are always looking to up their beer knowledge. Our Beer Exam Prep Course will give you everything you need to pass your Cicerone exams.
“BEER EDUCATION DOESN’T HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED, TIME CONSUMING, OR EXPENSIVE”
WHY OUR COURSES ARE DIFFERENT
Most courses are focused on information. They present information to you. It is your job to digest it and make sense of it.
Our courses are different. They are complete systems that not only give you the information you need, but provide a framework to help you to retain the information so you can score well on exams.
Every step is mapped out for you including your study plan when the course is over.
So for example, instead of just giving you information on a specific beer style, we break it down for you in digestible sips. The first lesson gets you familiar with the beer by tasting it. The next talks about what you are tasting including the stories and history behind it. The lesson after that digs deeper into more information and so on and so forth. Then we follow that up with repetition.
This works a lot better than just listing a bunch of beer style characteristic for you to memorize.
In addition to providing framework with a step-by-step process, we actually customize your learning plan. We actually work 1-1 with all of our students to make sure they succeed on their beer exams.
WHAT OUR STUDENTS AND THE BEER INDUSTRY ARE SAYING ABOUT US
Literally if you need to know anything about beer, Marty is your go-to-guy.”
Steve Kamp (OWNER EVIL HORSE BREWING CO.)
“Marty is always professional, engaging, informative and fun – the way craft beer education should be!”
Ed Malnar (CO-FOUNDER at POLLYANNA BREWING CO.)
“Everything I needed to pass the exam was in this course.”
Mike Bilski (Student)
“After taking Marty’s class I passed the Cicerone® CBS exam on the 1st try!”
Steve Kurnik (Student)
Co-Founder of the #1 Beer Fan
Don is also founder of Beer Dogging, a 10,000 member international beer club dedicated to making beer education fun. He is an adjunct faculty member and board member for the Business of Craft Beer Program at College of DuPage in Illinois. Don loves training beer industry staff and those looking to get into the beer industry.