Working in craft beer may seem romantic from the outside; however, all of you know firsthand the hard work that goes into a brewery’s success. Craft Beer Professionals and Craft Beer Advisory Services published our 2022 Employee Satisfaction Report in April, and are excited to share a set of industry-wide experience data and insight that did not exist prior.
Today, we’re going to focus on happiness. We asked respondents to answer, on a scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree, to what extent they agree with the statement “I am happy to work at my brewery,” this is what we found:
- 70% of owners strongly agree
- 65% in front of house strongly agree
- 60% in business roles strongly agree
- 26% in brewing operations strongly agree
There are several levels to break down here.
First, in any industry, I would hope that the owner is extremely happy to work at their business. Passion for a brand begins at the top, with ownership. That enthusiasm spreads to managers, is felt by employees, and then radiates to consumers. If the top isn’t happy, trouble may be brewing.
Second, there is a large difference between brewing operations workers vs all other roles. 70% of owners strongly agree, 65% in front of house strongly agree, 60% in business roles strongly agree; however, only 26% in brewing operations strongly agree. This is a 34% drop from the closest role.
Why is this the case? Long hours, exhausting physical labor.
What can be done to improve happiness levels amongst those in brewing operations? Those in brewery operations are, to no surprise, the most likely to disagree with this statement. 15% disagree.
Another possible explanation rests in education level. According to our sample, brewing operations staff were almost just as likely as business staff and front of house to hold a bachelor’s degree. After all, someone needed to be paying attention in chemistry class. With potential pay disparities, it may not come as a surprise brewing operations folks would be frustrated with less return on investment considering STEM professionals are often topping lists of most highly paid professions.
A small positive, not a single brewery owner is unhappy to work at their brewery. I hope these happy owners are able to glean insight from these statistics to help make the experience of others even more meaningful.
Instead of learning from someone’s frustrations after they have already chosen to resign from your brewery, I encourage regular communication to best understand their experience, expectations, and what can be done to maximize it. This begins during the hiring process, where you should first share your expectations of the potential hire, and learn what they hope to experience. Continue these conversations regularly.
One possible retention strategy often seen in the corporate world is the “stay interview.” Even having these conversations on a bi-annual basis can be a major advantage so owners and HR personnel can identify and alleviate pain points prior to poor situations resulting in resignations.
When we dive deeper into our study, we asked respondents what factors are currently contributing to your happiness, followed by what factors will contribute to your future happiness.
Current Top 3:
- Welcoming Environment
- Collaborative Environment
Future Top 3:
- Base pay raise
- Growth opportunities
- Increased benefits
This circles back to the romanticism of working at a brewery. Initially, it’s the culture that matters, but culture (unfortunately) doesn’t pay the bills. A successful brewery must find the right balance between creating a welcoming workplace and providing their team with the necessary benefits to keep them around. If not, I hear Target is starting employees at more than your average shift brewer.