Making Good Use of an Intern Staff Member

Many in craft brewing believe in collaborative efforts throughout the brewing industry, and utilizing interns in many roles and aspects to help train the future workforce.

But although know how and getting a foot in the door is an important aspect, so is respecting the worker and not burning out a potential hire before they even get started.

“This is not summer slavery,” said Triton Brewing‘s David Waldman. “We do not have them fetch our coffee, or be a ‘gopher.’ They do everything that we do. We are completely transparent with them. It is about empowering young, able-bodied people and providing them an opportunity to grow, get some on-the-job training and a ‘crash course in everything brewing.’ ”

In exchange, Waldman said the intern gets enthusiasm, energy and the opportunity to look at what Triton does with “fresh eyes.”

When interns exercise the opportunity to stay the additional weeks following the eight week internship, Triton has really yielded some great benefits, Waldman added.

“Aside from having the additional depth on the staff, in almost all cases the interns have focused on particular projects or efforts that have moved our organization forward in areas that we can’t always spare the additional staff time to champion,” Waldman said. “It has been a great success.”

Augie Carton of Carton Brewing did not want to ever have an intern at his brewery as “free labor.” But he doesn’t want to coddle them either.

“You spend six months obsessively cleaning and moving heavy things — you know, doing the job of brewing,” he said. “If after you’ve done that you still want to chase the dream we’ve prepared you for entry for most of the small breweries of America in exchange for some days helping with cleaning.”

When he brings on an intern they do so for less than two days a week for a six-month period.

Working with interns really bring much more than able hands and potential free labor to the brewery

For Nina Roy, the Quality Control Manager at Boulder Beer, who herself is an intern success story and a link to the local Boulder community, she is adamant to continue this program.

“Personally, the intern program has been a huge help because I am the only lab personnel on payroll,” she said. “Students with a background in lab sciences can be a huge help without requiring much training. The brewery and lab setting in turn is a huge help to the students because they are using the knowledge they have gained in lectures and labs, utilizing it in a professional setting, and working towards a future occupation simultaneously.

“Initial training in new tasks can require an excess amount of work at first, but eventually with guidance, those interns will have a solid knowledge basis to help in the future. I am also investing a lot of my time into their future, which is what was done for me as an intern.”

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