What they do
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.
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.
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.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to become a brewery worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. Practical experience, gained by working in breweries in other roles or through significant personal experience in home brewing, may increase employment prospects.
Entry into this occupation may be improved by completing a science degree at university. Relevant fields of study include chemistry, food science, microbiology, biochemistry or chemical engineering.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.