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A career in beer

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Admit it. You’re counting the hours until happy hour. And who could blame you? Bonding with friends or co-workers over a cold beer is a great way to wind down after work and kick off the weekend.


Americans like their beer — so much so that the beer industry accounts for $144 billion in U.S. economic activity annually, according to a recent study by the Beer Institute, an organization that represents America’s brewers, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, which represents more than 2,200 beer distributors nationwide.


“The benefits of the beer industry extend throughout the whole country — from the farmer in North Dakota to the brewery workers in California, Texas, New York, Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado, Florida and others, where the industry has a substantial economic presence,” Beer Institute President Jeff Becker said.


Naturally, the multibillion-dollar beer industry directly and indirectly creates millions of jobs.


Who’s Hiring?

Distilleries, breweries and the industry powerhouses (think Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors) are the major industry employers, but to get the full grasp of the careers available in beer, think bigger.


It takes a small army to manufacture and deliver that ale before it’s poured in your pint glass at the neighborhood pub, according to the Beer Institute. Farmers produce the grain and hops to sell to brewers. Other workers operate equipment and machinery to turn that grain into smooth beverages. And let’s not forget those who package it, ship it and create the ads to entice you to buy it!


All in all, the institute says the industry accounts for 1.66 million jobs in a multitude of locations. Although the majority of beer industry jobs are found in major metropolitan areas, companies like Anheuser-Busch offers jobs in 54 locations – including Puerto Rico and Guam.


Free beer?

A fun industry needs fun workers — and beer industry employers try to snag them by offering unconventional benefits.


Working at the Boston Beer Company, which manufacturers Sam Adams Lager, turns its employees into beer connoisseurs. “Our sales people host beer dinners where they learn about food and beer pairings,” said Amy Waryas, the company’s human resources manager. Boston Beer employees also learn how to brew and cook with beer.


The Miller Brewing company provides plenty of time for holiday boozing – off the clock, that is. The company shuts down between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day each year, according to the Miller Web site. Miller also gives its employees three free cases of beer each month and a case on the employee’s birthday. (Luckily, working at Miller won’t make you fat, though. They also offer an on-site fitness center and Weight Watchers!)


Types of Jobs

Think all beer industry jobs involve working in breweries or driving delivery trucks? Think again.


Whether you’re into computers or accounting, you can transfer your skills to the beer industry. Coors brewing company, for example, offers jobs in categories as diverse as sales, marketing, finance/accounting, HR, supply chain, brewery occupations and IT.


To begin your career in beer, visit the Web site or call the maker of your favorite brew. Chances are, you can combine your education and skills with your passion for the company’s product into your dream job.


Laura Morsch is a writer for CareerBuilder.com




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