Beer making involves a number of different stages, and brewery workers, or brewery operatives, might be involved in the whole process, or just certain parts. Stages include the weighing and mixing, monitoring quality, or the labelling, packing and loading. They usually work under the supervision of a technical brewer, who is responsible for the entire brewing process.
Brewery workers operate machinery, monitoring the temperature and quality of the beer. Once the beer has been mixed and gone through the fermentation process, they process it into kegs, casks, bottles or cans for the final packaging, before loading it for distribution.
Brewery workers increasingly use computerised machinery, with only certain work like weighing and measuring being done by hand. It is important to be careful about health and hygiene. Brewery workers also sterilise equipment, clean the work area, and keep records of ingredients.
Brewery workers usually work about 39 hours a week, and normally work shifts.
Breweries are noisy, hot, steamy places, with strong smells. Caution is necessary when operating machinery. Brewery workers wear protective clothing such as overalls and ear protectors.
Some brewery workers work outside, loading products or unloading raw materials in all weathers. Others work inside and may stand for long periods, doing some heavy lifting. The work may not be suitable for people sensitive to dust.
To be a brewery worker you should:
There are now fewer job vacancies for brewery workers because of the increased use of machinery. Jobs are advertised locally and contact details for some breweries can be obtained from the British Beer and Pub Association (see contact details in Further Information).
There are opportunities to be promoted to supervisory level with sufficient experience. However, it is difficult to move into technical brewing without degree level study, or doing specialist training with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. For more information see the Brewer: Technical profile.
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