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Brewer

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Summary of occupation

Brewers produce and test beers and similar products, such as cider. They select the type of barley, grain, yeast, hops and any other ingredients that are to be used and add them to the mix at the correct times. Once the ingredients have been mixed, brewers monitor the temperature, pH values and level of fermentation of the brew. Once a beer has fermented the brewer tests it to check the quality and taste of the batch, before it is packaged and distributed. Some brewers may also be involved in marketing activities, such as designing packaging and hosting promotions of new varieties of beer.

ANZSCO description: Brewers produce and test beers and similar products, such as cider.
Alternative names: Technical Brewer
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A brewer needs:

  • a good sense of taste and smell
  • to enjoy scientific activities
  • good organisational skills
  • to pay attention to small details
  • good communication skills.
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Working conditions

Brewers may work in large manufacturing plants, producing a number of different varieties of beer in large volumes for sale throughout Australia and, in some cases, overseas. Some brewers may work in smaller, micro or boutique breweries, producing a smaller variety and/or volume of beer, usually for sale in a smaller, local market. Regardless of the size of the brewery, conditions can range from hot and noisy through to cold and wet. Brewers may sometimes be required to work in enclosed spaces, such as tanks and brewing vessels. They need to have a high level of personal hygiene and may be required to regularly wash their hands and wear protective clothing to avoid contaminating the beer. Brewers working in larger breweries may sometimes be required to work shifts, which may include working nights and weekends.

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Salary details

On average, brewers, classified under food and drink factory workers, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year). Their earnings can vary significantly depending on the size of the brewery they work for. Larger, multi-national breweries generally pay higher wages than smaller boutique breweries, where earnings will be dependant on the popularity and success of its beers.  

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Tools and technologies

Brewers use large tanks and vessels to mix and prepare beers - the brew is transferred between vessels using hoses and/or pipes. They also use specially designed equipment to filter and carbonate the beer, and to fill kegs, bottles and cans. They may also operate packaging machinery to box filled bottles and cans, which are then ready to be shipped to retailers and wholesalers. During the mixing and fermenting processes brewers regularly take samples of the beer mix to test its quality, using laboratory and scientific equipment. Brewers also need to be familiar with computers in order to operate machinery and monitor the progress of each batch.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

It may be possible to become a brewer with no formal qualifications, instead learning the necessary skills through practical experience. Experience may be gained working in breweries in other roles, or through significant personal experience in home brewing.

You can improve your employment prospects by completing a science degree at university. Relevant fields of study include chemistry, food science, microbiology, biochemistry or chemical engineering. It is then recommended that you do postgraduate studies specialising in brewing.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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