Craft Beer Can Have a Unique Opportunity for Interns

Finding ways to help increase an informed job force in craft beer along with planning toward a brewer’s future is as far away as the nearest campus for some growing breweries.

In central Indiana, Triton Brewing of Indianapolis has a unique opportunity to connect with Wabash College in nearby Crawfordsville for interns.

The small, all-male liberal arts college teamed with Triton to have a paid internships that is half funded by a grant and the other half by the brewery, said Triton co-founder David Waldman.

“The Triton Brewing internship is the most highly sought after in the college’s portfolio,” Waldman said. “We routinely have the greatest number of applicants of any of Wabash College’s summer internships. Since we only take one candidate, most of the students apply for other internships and this helps push other Career Services opportunities for Wabash College. We also understand that on campus it is considered one of the most cut-throat of the summer internships. This helps build the exclusivity and mystique of the opportunity.”

Every candidate gets a first round interview. And Walden noted that the brewery has committed to Wabash that at the end of the first round interview they will share constructive criticism with the candidates.

“We want all of the students, even the ones we don’t hire, to have an opportunity to have a real interview and to grow from their experience,” he said.

The top four candidates are asked back for a second round. At this interview, Waldman said, is the brewery does a round-robin style interview where each of the candidates spends 15 minutes with each of the brewery’s management team. The management team then compares notes and makes an offer to the top pick.

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The intern, like 2016 intern Mac Gardiner (pictured above) produces a set of professional goals for the summer and although the official internship is eight weeks long (split between two weeks in production, sales, the tasting room and with operations), generally interns have the option to spend up to an additional five weeks working on specific aspects of the internship that they would like to delve into more deeply. This is negotiated with the intern to make sure they align with corporate goals.

This will be the sixth year that Triton has offered the internship and this summer it will be the seventh intern.

“One year we did two interns. One is a better fit for us,” Waldman said.

“This is not summer slavery,” he added. “We do not have them fetch our coffee, or be a ‘go-fur,’ 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 says 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.”

At the end of the summer, the management team reviews the intern’s goals with them and see how well we do.

“The experience for us has been exceptional,” Waldman said. “Each intern has really shined in his own regard. Each one has also become a lifelong advocate for what we do and a part of our family.”

Waldman added that anyone interested in how Triton runs the intern program are free to contact him.

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