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Will Work for Beer

As a beer writer I’m always asked how my career began followed by an “I wish I had your job!” When I start to explain what I do and how I got here, people start to understand that I don’t just drink, write and get paid. There’s much more to it.

IMG_7395Craft beer and I crossed paths in Europe, and it’s been true love ever since. Starting a free blog for fun developed into so much more, but opportunities didn’t come knocking at my door. I was the one who had to knock the doors to open them. 

A career in beer (writing), like most any other profession, usually happens from a combination of hard work and happenstance. Such was the case for me. What started out as a general interest turned into a hobby, and three years later became a career in an industry that I would have never imagined for myself.

While I have always enjoyed beer just as much as the next person, if a crystal ball were to have told me ten years ago that I would be working in the craft beer industry, I would have asked a snow globe. DSC_3032Luckily for me, I never had any premonitions nor received “you will work for beer” printed on a fortune cookie. To not know where my career path would take me was the best way to get there it with no expectations.

To break into the field really depends on what you want to do – brewing beer takes apprenticeship and education; selling beer takes sales experience and educational background usually in business; promoting beer takes strong communication and people skills, preferably some formal education in marketing and nowadays in social media; beer writing takes strong research skills and of course a knack for the written word. Also, knowing where to start in terms of a job search in the field is necessary. Beer jobs aren’t going to be commonly found as work in other fields.

DSC_0107Finding a job is different for everyone, but a good start is networking. A good old pounding the pavement is a must. Can’t quit your day job just yet? Attending beer festivals – or better yet volunteering at beer festivals – even if it means hauling bags of ice from table to table is a great way to connect with different breweries and distributors. Finding part-time work at one of the many local pubs and brewpubs is a great way to learn firsthand about the wonderful intricacies of the industry and talk beer with customers regularly, thus furthering your education in beer. To test your beer knowledge and become a Cicerone Certified Beer Server, study for and take their online 60-question multiple-choice exam at

cicerone.org. To have this certification will not only expand your knowledge base, but will help start you on your way if you’re serious about a career in beer.IMG_0071

Online searches are also a good place to see what the job market looks like. Specific websites are out there that focus on jobs in the beer and spirits industry. Check out sites like brewingwork.com for different types of jobs worldwide. If your dream is to work for a particular brewery, go directly to their website and see if they’re hiring. Not only do breweries need brewers and bottlers, they need graphic designers, gift shop workers, Human Resources professionals, website developers, PR specialists, etc.

IMG_0062Throughout these past six years my craft beer journey has been a varied one – of exploration, education, and a sensory experience that moved me to write about the topic. The craft beer industry is one deeply rooted in history that has to move at a pace to keep up with the growing demand. What I most enjoy and appreciate about having worked in the craft beer industry firsthand are the people involved at every level. The real story isn’t about how hoppy IPAs are or who’s buying out whom. It’s about the people who brew it, buy it, drink it and enjoy each other’s company in the process. For me, this is the true benefit of the work that I do. The beer is the bonus. Cheers!

Gloria Rakowsky