I'm doing the Heriot Watt uni MSc in Brewing and Distilling. One of the emphases in the course is employability at the end of it. They run an almost weekly seminar series where people from the industry come in to talk about global trends in the industry and look to recruit people to their graduate schemes and student placement programmes. We've had a mix of micro and macro (but mostly macro): AB InBev, Heineken (twice), Diageo (twice, whisky both times), the Scots Whisky Institute, the IBD, Molson Coors is coming next term. Anybody wanting entry into the brewing industry would definitely have an advantage going through the programme although there are other ways in.
As I was unemployed at the time of applying for the course, I got 300 off the social welfare for it. You can get more but the assistance is means tested. Fees for the programme are about £4500 for the degree and £3000 for the accommodation on campus.
I'm doing the Heriot Watt uni MSc in Brewing and Distilling. One of the emphases in the course is employability at the end of it. They run an almost weekly seminar series where people from the industry come in to talk about global trends in the industry and look to recruit people to their [b:lepmnsl2]graduate schemes and student placement programmes.[/b:lepmnsl2] We've had a mix of micro and macro (but mostly macro): AB InBev, Heineken (twice), Diageo (twice, whisky both times), the Scots Whisky Institute, the IBD, Molson Coors is coming next term. Anybody wanting entry into the brewing industry would definitely have an advantage going through the programme although there are other ways in.
As I was unemployed at the time of applying for the course, I got 300 off the social welfare for it. You can get more but the assistance is means tested. Fees for the programme are about £4500 for the degree and £3000 for the accommodation on campus.[/quote:lepmnsl2]
Thats the way it seems to be going with a lot of companies, kind of sucks entering those schemes where you have to do a range of things you have no interest in for a vague promise of a job at the end (and poor wages in the meantime).
Do you know of where previous graduates of the MSc ended up?
Also is there any PhD brewing students there?
I don't know how many PhD students there are to be honest. If there are any they keep to themselves. I know there are PhD Distilling students.
As far as I know the employment record of former students is quite good, but I've only heard anecdotes. I haven't seen any figures. A lot of people on the course are from America and Asia so you don't know what happens to them, but some may be going back to jobs they already had lined up. A lot of students at the moment want to go into business for themselves, especially the older ones. But I know of former students employees in microbreweries all over Scotland, Fullers in London, and the big guys Heineken UK etc. The whisky industry in Scotland seems to be principally made up of Heriot Watt graduates.
I'm also doing the MSc at Heriot Watt but by distance learning. If you can afford the fees its a good way to get into the industry (I hope!). There are many more people doing the course from around the world than the UK and Ireland, with Indians and Americans making up a large number as UpsidedownA says. Lots of people seem to be interested in the distilling side of things more, which surprised me as there is only one distilling module, but apparently its the only course in the world that will give you a MSc level qualification in distilling. Most, if not all of the graduates from last year got jobs in the industry. Its a good way of networking with people as well. The fees for new distance learners have just been increased quite substantially though, luckily not for existing students as it would be to much for me.
Other options are IBD exams which you can also do by distance learning, details are on their website, and Nottingham has a newish distance learning brewing course that was set up by Katherine Smart and looks very good. You'll need a relavent first degree though. The VLB course in Berlin is highly regarded but expensive and booked out well in advance, not sure when the next slots available would be but might not be until next year or even the year after.
Without some kind of training or qualification its going to be a case of being in the right place at the right time. A few of the Irish breweries have taken people on that I don't think had any specific experience, but they were local to them. As more micros open there could be opportunities that come up in your area so keep looking.
On the VLB course: I looked in to this as well. They require that you have had a minimum of three months practical experience in a commercial brewery, which is a nontrivial requirement. Being a homebrewer didn't cut it.
The other thing to be noted, though I don't know how much it really matters, is that taking the Heriot Watt course grants you an exemption from the IBD diploma in brewing exams. If you want to really become a "master brewer" and have the entitlement to the post-nominal M.Brew (which I'm not sure any of us really cares too much about) you have to sit the IBD master brewer exams and to sit them, you have to sit their diploma in brewing exams or get an exemption. I checked with the IBD and they said that at the moment the VLB 'brewmaster' course doesn't get you an exemption (although you'd probably be able to walk in and sit them blindfolded). He said they were carrying out a review and the VLB course might get you an exemption in the future.
I was in Heriot-Watt 2010-2011. Everybody who did the course managed to get a job from who I have kept in touch with. There were two other Irish, one is with Carlow and the other is in Kilbeggan but I honestly don't know the irish market for work. People from my year ended up in breweries of all sizes across the world and everybody who wanted to stay in the UK were able to. Classmates have ended up in Darkstar, Brewdog, Heineken, Budweiser and I'm currently running the brewery of a small brewpub in London after also spending some time in a brewery research/consultancy company.
As has been said you will find it much easier if you are willing to travel. Like with most jobs it is much faster to get into better positions by moving company rather than waiting for expansion or a person above you to leave which will nearly always require relocating. But if you are willing to do that I have seen people move up quickly, into management positions already.
Somebody mentioned above that there are more people wanting to brew than jobs are available but there are almost a thousand breweries in the UK alone and still growing. There aren't as many people getting qualifications and although you don't need a qualification to get into brewing it definitely will make it easier.
The other advice I would give is to make sure you research and consider what a brewers job entails. When it comes down to it it can be quite a monotonous and labour heavy job with long hours and shift work. Obviously if you got this far you know the process: mash, sparge, boil, ferment and a whooooole lot of cleaning. But really that isn't much variation in a job!