How Brewers Evolve into Strong Managers

In order to develop the overall skills of becoming brewing management, some companies feel it is necessary to have exposure to brewing beer along with understanding packaging and quality control.

That’s what is needed for success at Nevada’s top-rated brewery, Ellis Casino & Brewery, and why it’s led by Brewmaster Joseph S. Pickett.

“The best part of being a manager is having the ability to share your overall brewing knowledge with other people and assist in their development,” he said. “In evaluating my own position and that of others I often use the question, ‘what happens if I die, will they shut the place down?’

“Evaluating a successful manager, the assessment can be done readily by asking the questions: Can I take my vacation and not worry? Do my coworkers have the skills necessary to perform their duties? Am I meeting the goals assigned to me?”

As a manager a different set of skills are required, Pickett said. An understanding of business and responsibility for understanding the legal requirements of running a brewery, including the knowledge of the state and federal laws, is key. He also acknowledged that a manager is responsible for the safety and welfare of employees, their training in safety practices and for the quality assurance of the product.


Pickett emphasized the need to know inventory and cost of ingredients, as well as labor and overhead.

“This is both the best part of being a manager and the worst part of being a manager,” Pickett said. “The most important skill of management is the ability to communicate in a clear and professional manner, to motivate employees to get the job done.”

When brewers take on a management role, the most difficult task will be relinquishing the control of the brewing to the person that they have elected to succeed themselves.

“It will be imperative that as the manager, you must be that of an overall business manager,” Pickett said. “It will be your job to fulfill the duties assign to you by your Board of Directors or owner and … reflect and embrace your management responsibilities.

“That your communication skills are such that in your area of contribution it becomes part of the success equation of the entire company.”

Is it still fun?

“There’s no greater joy of brewing beer, before, during and after the product is made,” Pickett said. “Seeking out recipes that will be successful in the target market, making sure that the product is made correctly and finally enjoying the look, feel and the taste of your journey.

“The ultimate result of all your endeavors? A nice cold beer. Nothing is more satisfying.”

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