Hail booze! Bringing people together for thousands of years. Turning even the most tedious and boring of situations into a great time. Making the less-than-attractive at least passable. Improving our sex lives. Removing inhibitions. Solidifying our resolve. Increasing bravery, talent, humor, and common sense (perceived or otherwise). Helping solve problems. Turning insufferable individuals into your best friends. There is literally nothing that booze can’t do. It’s a fact.
And everyone loves it. Plato said, “He was a wise man who invented beer”. Sammy Davis, Jr. said, “Alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity”. Benjamin Franklin said, “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Henry Lawson said, “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer”. And Frank Sinatra said, “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy”.
Beer. Wine. Vodka. Gin. Whisky. Tequila. And countless other varieties. Alcohol has been a part of human civilization and culture for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians lived on beer and bread. The Greeks considered wine a gift from the gods. The Mesopotamians recorded beer recipes in cuneiform on clay tablets. We love our booze with meals, at sporting events, while curled up with a good book, during social outings. It’s a social lubricant. It’s a conversation accelerator. Yay, alcohol!
We sip it. Shoot it. Mix it. Chug it. Cook with it. Spray it at each other in celebration. There comes a time in every day when, no matter what the question, the answer is booze. We love our alcohol. And used responsibly, there is mounting evidence that it’s actually good for us (in addition to everything else… both beer and wine are getting a lot of attention in this regard lately).
But there’s still a bit of a stigma attached to loudly proclaiming your love of all things alcoholic. So, keep it slightly under wraps for now. That shouldn’t stop you, though. There are many ways to profess your undying devotion to the good stuff that don’t include shouting it from the rooftops. How about your career? Booze is big business. The number of ways you could include it in some capacity is virtually endless.
There’s the simple and straightforward approach: get a job working with or around alcohol. You could be a clerk at a liquor, wine, or beer store. Or the classic and old faithful: bartender. Spend your days gazing upon rows and rows of bottles filled with liquid happiness, and help other people get it into their systems. How’s that for professional fulfillment?!
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, though (or, in this case, more than one way to get it drunk). Need a business idea that indulges your passion for booze? Consider these five career paths.
1. Craft Beer Brewer
Anyone can make beer at home these days. Beer equipment and supplies can be bought cheaply and conveniently online, and learning the basics can be done in very little time. Of course, like everything in life, you’ll get better the more you practice, and when it’s brewing beer, practicing means making, and making means drinking. So, drink on!
The craft beer industry is one of the fastest growing in the alcohol game. Our fathers and grandfathers were lucky if they had half a dozen choices for the imbibing pleasure, and most of the six would taste virtually indistinguishable from the rest. Beer was beer, but now? Beer is big business: American lager, pale ale, porter, stout, IPA, European lager, pilsner, amber ale, wheat beer, Dunkel, bock, Altbier, blonde ale, hybrids cream ale, Kölsch, Witbier, red ale, dark ale, fruit beer… The list is long. And craft beers are taking a larger and larger cut of that market, accounting for over 11% of all beer production in the United States in 2014 (amounting to nearly $20 billion in sales from over 3,400 craft breweries). The stats are similar in many beer-loving countries around the globe.
Get in on that! Start small… brew something wild and unique at home. Play and experiment. Bottle it. Sell it to family and friends. Grow your business. Every brewery out there – craft or otherwise – started tiny. Want to make a chocolate-bacon stout? Someone will love it. Have an idea for a red beer that tastes and smells like a Christmas tree? People will drink that up during the holidays. Give your creations wacky and bizarre names (people seem to love that, too).
2. Cocktail Creator
Start with an alcohol (gin, whisky, vodka, tequila) or two, add in a mixer (juice, soda pop, milk), toss in some other ingredients (fruit slices, ice, bitters), et voilà! You’ve created a cocktail! Every cocktail got its start somewhere by someone just like you. The Long Island Iced Tea is said to have originated at a Long Island cocktail contest in 1972. The Piña Colada was developed at the Beachcomber Bar in Puerto Rico in 1952. The Singapore Sling was created by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore sometime around 1915. The Manhattan was created at the Manhattan Club in New York in the 1870s. Some are suave and sophisticated while others are designed to get you hammered as fast as possible. A cool cocktail can put a bar, hotel, city, or entire country on the map.
But it’s more than dumb luck. You have to have a keen understanding of flavors. You have to grasp the subtle nuances of not only the alcoholic spirits but the ingredients you decide to work with, too. Bars, pubs, and hotels are always on the lookout for the next big thing, and if they can get in on the ground floor, even better. If you create a dynamic cocktail, you just might be able to market, lease, or sell it. And alcohol brands (e.g.: Bacardi or Absolut) sponsor international cocktail competitions throughout the year with cash prizes and fame for the winner. Bonus benefit: you get to drink all your mistakes!
If nothing else, you could simply get hired as a mixologist (skilled at mixing cocktails and other drinks) at an established bar or restaurant.
3. Booze Blogger
You’ve already heard that blogging is big. Millions of blogs exist, and thousands more join the list every day. To stand out, you have to be good at whatever it is you’re writing about and doing. Are you good at booze? Then write about that. Review new beers, wines, and cocktails. Write tutorials on how to mix, brew, or make at home. Suggest food and booze pairings. Introduce the science behind brewing or winemaking. Reveal interesting trivia. Give a behind-the-scenes tour of a famous vineyard or brewery or distillery. The possibilities are endless. Create fascinating, useful content, grow your traffic through standard methods (and another 7 suggestions from Neil Patel), and then start monetizing your blog on Google AdSense, or by selling ad space to local businesses or brands. Once you’ve established yourself as an authority, you could even start selling your own products (eBooks, advanced tutorials, online courses) to your website visitors.
Simple but always in demand. Set up a delivery service for your city or town; a website or phone number that people can use to place an order for more liquor, beer, or wine. They place an order, you go and pick it all up, and deliver it to their door. People are willing to pay a premium for convenience like that, and you can really push the safety factor as well (if they’ve already had a few, they shouldn’t be driving to the liquor store themselves). If you have the chops, you could expand your services to include recommendations, advice, and consulting, in addition to basic delivery. Help people pick the perfect wine for the dinner party they’re having next weekend, or plan a beer tasting that covers all the latest developments and trends in the industry.
Just make sure that a) you’re not breaking any local or state/provincial laws by delivering alcohol this way, and b) that everyone using your service is of the legal drinking age (check ID if necessary). Be responsible. Be careful. Give your service a memorable and catchy name.
5. Alcohol Expert for Hire
For a fee. A sommelier is a wine expert who is trained and knowledgeable about wine, winemaking, and food pairing. A beer sommelier (also known as a cicerone) knows everything about beer. Both are in demand. Again, you could choose to work at an established business or you could rent out your expertise to corporate events, weddings, festivals, or private functions. Teach others what you know. Share your wisdom. Spread the love. Create a brand for yourself. And make booze your business.
If you have a time machine at your disposal, you could also consider working at an advertising agency in the 50s or 60s, à la Mad Men. Those guys knew how to drink, and they had no problem (and, in fact, were encouraged) to include it in their workday. That’s living!
Our enjoyment of alcohol knows no bounds. From the get-drunk-at-any-cost frat boy to the sophisticated wine (or beer) snob, there’s booze out there for everyone. Including it in your career need not be ridiculous, shameful, or embarrassing. It’s a developing and increasing industry. All kidding aside, though, do drink responsibly, and if you’ve been drinking, please don’t drive.
Matt Groening said, “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and the answer to, all of life’s problems”. That pretty much sums it up.
Anything to add? How else could you turn a love of alcohol into a bona fide business? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below!