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Head Brewer Job Description
A Head Brewer is responsible for all aspects of the beer production process and day-to-day operations of the brewery. It is a high-level role which can involve many different tasks including managing other brewers, making purchasing decisions, meeting with customers and other businesses, creating new types of beer, setting production goals and managing resources.
The Head Brewer is highly experienced with the beer brewing process and is ultimately responsible for the quality of beers that a brewery produces. They are usually involved with creative decisions including what kinds of beer to produce, where to source the best raw materials for that particular beer and what kinds of machinery should be used in the production process.
They must also consider the marketability of the beers they intend to produce and work in conjunction with marketing staff and the brewery owners to develop successful beers.
Head Brewer Responsibilities
The types of responsibilities held by the Head Brewer are can vary depending on the size of the brewery, the production capacity of the brewery and the number of staff. However, all Head Brewers must deal with all aspects of the beer production and bottling process. Here are some of the most common job responsibilities for Head Brewers.
The main contact point for the brewery – The Head Brewer often acts as the main contact point for the brewery and will liaise with the media, consumers, suppliers, beer trade associations and other businesses
Work with the marketing team to improve the profile of the brewery – For a brewery to be a success, it must sell a high-quality product that is well marketed. The brewery must also maintain a high profile. The Head Brewer works with marketers to publicise the brewery and improve brand recognition. They will also help develop the unique character of the brewery through branding and the types of beer being sold.
Selecting raw materials that are used in the brewing process – The Head Brewer must be able to evaluate the quality of the raw materials used in the brewing process and work with suppliers. They may have to perform or organise scientific tests on the raw materials to ensure they have specific qualities necessary for beer making.
Checking brew conditions – The brewer must ensure that the production process is running correctly and brew conditions are correct. They may have to manage other brewers, directing their attention as needed and ensuring the beer is meeting specific targets.
Record keeping and quality control – Detailed records of the beer production process must be maintained. That will include the quantities of raw materials used, the recipe for the beer, scientific analysis of the brew at different points and final taste testing.
Manage the day-to-day operations of the brewery – Any brewer will spend a great deal of time on the floor of brewery, making sure that staff are working efficiently and the production process is running smoothly. The precise operations which the Head Brewer is responsible for will depend on the size of the brewery, the number of staff and how much work has been delegated.
Help to build the customer base – The Head Brewer will meet with customers and potential customers to showcase the quality of the beer that the brewery is producing. They may have to give customers guided tours of the brewery to demonstrate production capacity and the development of the brewery’s production capacity.
Meeting with trade associations – They may have to attend trade association meetings, award presentations and conventions to show case the breweries products.
Develop new brewing recipes to meet market demand – Developing new beers is an important part of the Head Brewer’s job. They often have to work with marketing staff to identify market demand for specific types of beer and develop new products to meet that demand.
Responsibility for maintaining Occupational Health & Safety and compliance with food standards – Ensuring that staff are working in a safe environment is a key part of the Head Brewers job. They may work in conjunction with a health and safety specialist to keep the beer production and bottling processes as safe as possible. Managing hygiene on the production line and ensuring that food safety standards are maintained are also important responsibilities of the Head Brewer.
Managing key production requirements and setting KPIs – The brewery will have to produce a specific quality of beer over a certain time period. The Head Brewer manages the timelines involved, sets production goals and identifies key performance indicators.
Manage maintenance schedule on the production line – All equipment must be carefully maintained to ensure equipment failure does not delay beer production. The Head Brewer will also advise the brewery owners on the purchase of new equipment.
Managing staff skill development – In addition to managing staff, the Head Brewer will help organise training to develop their skills.
Advise on capital expenditure – If the brewery is expanding, the Head Brewer may have to advise brewer owners on how to best increase production capability. The Head Brewer may also play a role in helping plan capital expenditure in other avenues, including advertising and the hiring of new staff.
Manage bottling and delivery processes – In many cases the Head Brewer will also oversee the bottling facilities and delivery schedules. They must ensure that clients have received the beer they have ordered.
Inventory control – Having adequate raw materials, bottles and packaging materials is an important task that Head Brewers are often responsible for.
Budgeting – The Head Brewer will often have a specific budget which they must work within. Equipment purchasing decisions, staffing decisions and the sourcing of raw materials must be managed to fit within that specific budget.
Improve the brewery – Goals which improve the productivity of staff and the production line must be established by the Head Brewer. Improvements in other areas including hygiene, capital expenditure, brew quality must also be continual.
The Head Brewer will spend their time on the production floor, in offices and in public spaces, promoting the brewery.
The production floor can be a noisy, smelly, hot and humid environment. It can also be a dangerous environment with heavy machinery, hot liquids and forklifts moving very heavy loads.
The wok hours of the Head Brewer can change dramatically depending on the brewery’s schedule and production issues. They may have to travel to promote the brewery and work unusual hours. Larger breweries can run 24 hours a day and the Head Brewer may be called into work to fix problems that occur at any time.
A Head Brewer doesn’t necessarily have a specific educational qualification. However, they are expected to have a great deal of experience with beer making, managing resources and managing staff.
An educational qualification may help the job prospects of a Head Brewer and Head Brewers sometimes have degrees in one or more of the following areas:
- Brewing and distilling
- Chemical engineering
Food science or food technology
A Head Brewer must have years of experience working as a brewer and managing other staff. Their work experience must also demonstrate that they have strong problem solving skills, practical skills and in-depth knowledge of beer science. Employers usually look for Head Brewers with the following kinds of work experience:
At least 3-5 years experience in brewing beer
Demonstrated ability to manage a beer production line
Experience in a role that involved managing staff
Experience keeping records for quality control
Experience managing projects
Mechanical or engineering experience
Food production experience
Key Skills of a Head Brewer
Because the Head Brewer has so many potential responsibilities, their required skill set can be quite varied. Here are some key skills which most Head Brewers will need on the job.
Fantastic communication skills – The Head Brewer will liaise with dozens of people each day including suppliers, employees, managerial staff, suppliers and more.
Computer literately and technological skills – Many tasks will be performed on a computer including communication tasks, record keeping, project management and resource management.
Engineering or mechanical skills – A Head Brewer must be very familiar with the equipment used in the brewing process and the specific equipment used by their brewery. Engineering or mechanical skills are very useful when maintaining and installing equipment
Excellent project management skills and methodical nature – Beer production is a complex procedure when done at a large scale. The Head Brewer will have to manage each step of the process in fine detail. The brewer must be very methodical and detail orientated — the brewing process must be replicated precisely every time it is performed to ensure product remains of a high-quality.
Capable of managing staff – Managing staff well is crucial to the success of the brewery. The Head Brewer must ensure all necessary tasks are being performed correctly by staff and to a sufficient standard.
Be capable of innovation and continual improvement – A Head Brewer must be capable of devising innovative ways to improve production and must innovate when it comes to developing new types of beer.
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