On National Intern Day, See How Breweries and Interns Benefit from Relationship​

Launched By WayUp in 2017, and celebrated on the last Thursday in July, National Intern Day has served as an opportunity for thousands of employers to commemorate and thank their hardworking interns. The holiday has brought national attention to the challenges and inequalities faced by entry-level candidates, inspiring investments into internship programs and interns themselves.

At Brewer, we have recognized how interns and breweries can work together over the years to be beneficial for both sides.

The younger people a brewery can recruit and inform, the more the craft beer industry can succeed, pointed out Cascade Lakes‘ Andy Rhine in a previous interview. That’s why the Oregon brewery loves working with college interns. Not just to increase its workforce for a short while, but to educate and empower a new generation of brewery workers.

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.

Triton Brewing explained that in its internship program, it would have the intern produce 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 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.

An unexpected benefit has come from the Sloop Open Waters internship program that the brewery started in 2020. When chatting with Brewer about the program that is helping diversify the craft beer industry, Sloop’s Director of Operations Alyssa McAuley shared how having an intern go from department to department in their three-month training has helped identify the teachers and leaders within the New York brewery.

During exit interviews with interns, McAuley said that hearing the feedback of who was the highlight of that person’s training experience has been an important realization.

“That’s been super helpful and satisfying for some awesome employees here,” she said. “[We are] identifying some incredible trainers that we have that maybe haven’t always been utilized.

“Some of our interns have been drawn to one specific person’s style of learning or teaching. And those are things that you wouldn’t typically be able to just find in the normal course of business because not everybody has a hand in training someone. So it’s really been kind of a delight, but also a great insight to learn more about how everybody teaches differently and how certain people can connect better with others on a fundamental learning basis.”

Photo courtesy Sloop Brewing

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