In¬†the last 20 years, microbreweries have been springing up nearly weekly in the US and the UK, and many other countries have seen a huge rise in the number of breweries as well. With such a variety of styles‚Äìand flavors‚Äìmany people have been inspired to brew their own beer and home. Some of those homebrewers, as well as other entrepreneurs, have decided to make the jump into professional brewing. Though brewing beer has often been considered a “male profession,” more and more women are taking on brewing roles, bringing the tradition full circle, as¬†women first brewed beer in the home.
But what exactly does it take to be a professional brewer? The first thing is a clear understanding of the different beer styles and how they’re supposed to taste. There’s a lot a variety within each style, but there are certain things that help to define a porter as a porter, and not a stout or an amber ale. One really great way to learn about styles is to look at the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Style Guidelines. The BJCP¬†certifies people to judge beer for competitions, and is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in brewing.
Beyond knowing about beer styles, learning how to brew is obviously important! Homebrewing is great way to get a basic grasp of the science of brewing, and many cities and towns have homebrew supply stores that can both provide supplies and advice. As your homebrewing skills advance, there are lots of courses out there that teach everything from the science of brewing to business skills.
After you’ve honed your brewing skills, you can either look for work at an already existing brewery, or you can start your brewery. If you choose to start your own business, having a grasp of marketing and sales, as well as other entrepreneurial skills, is absolutely essential. Many businesses fail not because of a poor product, but through not understanding the market, how to budget, or other essential business skills. Luckily, if you don’t have or don’t want to learn these skills, you can always hire someone who does have them.
Lastly, it’s always great to join professional organizations, and women brewers have access to the Pink Boots Society. Founded by professional brewer Teri Fahrendorf,¬†”The Pink Boots Society was created to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the Beer Industry through Education.” True to their mission, Pink Boots Society provided information and support to female brewers, and offers scholarships to many different courses.
Brewing beer is not an easy job‚Äìlong hours, heavy lifting, and lots of cleaning are par for the course‚Äìbut it can be incredibly satisfying to produce a product that so many people love.
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