How would you like to become a professional wine taster? Believe it or not, it’s a job that really exists. There are lots of interesting and lucrative jobs within the alcohol industry. This is because alcohol is big business. Basically, we’re all drunks and that makes some individuals a lot of money. The most recent statistics show that the industry sold £38.1 billion worth of beverages in the UK in one year. Similarly, the alcohol industry was responsible for over $400 billion of the United States economy in one year.
Whether you’re interested in a job in the alcohol industry or not, this will make for an interesting read. And you might just decide that you are in fact interested in a job in the alcohol industry by the time you are done. Who wouldn’t want to be a professional beer taster after all?
Working as a bartender can be really fun, it’s one of the most social jobs out there. And if you’re good at it, you can rake in lots of extra cash on top of your wages in the form of tips. But if you’ve ever worked as a bartender you’ll also know there’s a long list of hazards that go hand in hand with the job. Mainly because you’re working with drunken idiots all night. If you work at a pub, this means awkwardly having to tell your regulars they’ve had a few too many and warding off the advances of slurring gents. If you work at a sports bar you have to deal with the cocksure blokes getting into fist fights left right and centre. While working at a club means constantly being on the look out for white powder under people’s noses, and being so busy that you’re absolutely exhausted at the end of every shift.
As far as progression is concerned, you might want to think of becoming a bar manager when you’ve been in the game for a while. A bar manager in the UK can make up to £25k a year - not too shabby.
You get such a fancy job title when you make cocktails, it’s great! And rightly so, mixology is a science. You need a vast amount of knowledge about alcohol in all of its glorious forms. Also, you must be a drinkopedia when it comes to classic cocktails. And the job is super creative too. Many mixologists are tasked with envisioning brand new and innovative cocktails for the bars they work at. One imagines that there’s a lot of tasting involved in that process which can only be fun. According to simplyhired Mixologists earn an average of $27,000 per year.
3. Craft Beer Production
This is a booming business nowadays that continues to grow. Craft beer is hugely popular among old farts and young hipsters alike. We don’t want a plain old lager anymore, we want a fancy-schmancy one with earthy tones and hints of berries etc. It’s a great industry to get into because you can start on a small-scale. All you need to do is take a few classes in homebrewing and sell your wares at artisan markets. If your beer is tasty enough you can get your product line into bars and make some serious money. Here’s a handy guide to getting into the craft beer business.
4. Professional Beer Taster
What an outstanding career that would be! Getting paid to get smashed, it’s the dream. It sounds like a joke, but it’s a genuine job and a lucrative one at that. Londoner Jane Peyton is a professional beer taster and earns a living in excess of £50,000 a year - it’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it. As a beer consultant, it’s Peyton’s job to travel to pubs across the country in order to sample and review their ales. It sounds like she’s pretty good at her job too having won the award of Britain’s Beer Sommelier of the Year, a title we can only dream of one day winning. She’s has also used her talent and experience to write a book, the aptly named Beer O’Clock. What a legend.
This isn’t just a one-off case either. There are stories of people working as professional beer consultants all over the web. A US professional writes about earning $5,000 a month and getting free beer as an auditor for liquor stores. His job was to see if cashiers at various big stores such as Wal-Mart would ask him for ID when he tried to purchase beer or cigarettes. Seems like a pretty easy job with lots of perks if you ask me.
If you want to work for a big company in the alcohol industry there’s obviously a range of jobs that you would expect to see in any corporation, sales, marketing blah blah blah, let’s talk beer. Unique to the industry, however, is the option to become a brewer or distiller. This requires a large amount of technical skill. Brewers are basically beer engineers with backgrounds in science, tech and engineering. There are tonnes of jobs in the production sector for those with and without higher education qualifications. You can become a beer brewing apprentice after school if you’d like to. And because the same skills are in demand around the world, you could go on to get a job as a brewer overseas. The pay is very much dependent on your qualifications, experience and where you work, but a rough guide for a technical brewer according to the national careers service is £15,000 and £25,000 per year rising to £30,000 to £40,000 + with experience.
6. Vineyard Manager
If wine is more your thing, then you might want to work in viticulture. Vineyard managers get to work in the outdoors and are in charge of things like the harvest, pest management and irrigation. There’s also a lot of expert winos who cross over into the wine-making industry or enology if you want the posh name for it. Similarly to working as a brewer or distiller, there’s a lot of science and tech involved. Both winemakers and viticulturists need strong qualifications and experience. But who cares if you get to drink a delicious glass of wine that you had a part in making at the end of the day. Although it, of course, depends on many factors such as your qualifications and experience the average pay for a vineyard manager according to indeed is $51,000.
7. Drugs and Alcohol Counsellor
There’s also a dark side to the business of alcohol of course. Substance abuse ruins lives, but thankfully there are counsellors on hand to help alcoholics on the road to recovery. There’s a lot more to the role of a drugs and alcohol counsellor than you might think. Working with both adults and young people, professionals in the field are responsible for everything from testing and assessment, to needle exchange programmes as well as more traditional aspects i.e. providing support, advice and guidance. According to the Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals, there’s lots of opportunity for growth and career development within the field, which could really make it a satisfying job. The pay for the job also varies wildly from £17,000 at the lowest level to £35,000 + for team leaders according the national careers service.
So, there are jobs available every step of the way when it comes to booze, from production at the breweries, distilleries and vineyards to serving it up to guests at bars. All you need is a passion for alcohol (easy) to make your way to the top. Jobs in the alcohol industry are advertised on job boards like jobs in any other industry. There are however a few specific sites such as Wine & Spirits Jobs, and BevForce. Alternatively, go directly to the company you want to work for and say hey Jack Daniels, I want to work for you!
Have you ever worked in the alcohol industry? What was it like?