How Utilizing Interns This Summer Benefits Both Parties

For Andy Rhine, hiring interns in the summer really is a boost for Cascade Lakes Brewing. Along with a labor boost, it’s the added benefit of sharing information to a new generation that could lead the craft brewing industry one day.

The Central Oregon brewery has created internship opportunities over the past few years and Cascade Lakes sees it as a way to have a fresh set of eyes on ideas and practices that can help find ways to improve what is already being done.

“Interns … often add energy and enthusiasm to the workplace,” Rhine said. “Involving them in our safety programs has helped us as new eyes in our brewery. They see things we might otherwise overlook.

“Certainly I think this helps the interns gain experience and be able to apply the skills they learned not only in the brewing field, but several other important fields as well.”

Indiana’s Triton Brewing has worked closely with one intern per summer for many years. It is an eight-week course of study — per se — where every two weeks allows the intern to work in production, sales, the tasting room, and in operations.

“This is not summer slavery,” Triton co-founder David Waldman told Brewer in a previous story. “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 says the intern gets enthusiasm, energy, and the opportunity to look at what Triton does with “fresh eyes.”

Don’t look at it as “free labor” though. In fact, have a budget set aside for a seasonal employee that will be filled by an intern. Being able to offer a paying job along with gaining credit toward graduation can help boost a more diverse intern applicant pool.

After working in the film production industry as an intern, Augie Carton​ of Carton Brewing in New Jersey​ 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 at most of the small breweries of America in exchange for some days helping with cleaning.”

Carton​ ​admitted that he understands that interns need something on their resumes and that leg in the door is a huge deal.

“When we put an intern on we do it less than two days a week for six months with the ambition to give them some ‘knowhow’ and a foot in the door,” he said.

​Cascade Lakes has yet to have an intern become an employee, but Rhine said they have had interns use their experience to apply and secure employment at other companies.

“They found the work they did at Cascade Lakes applicable and helpful in their new roles,” he said. “That’s the greatest reward for employers hiring interns.”

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