Hard work & perserverance help to build a career in beer

on 19/02/11 at 9:07 pm

Beer

Matt Hall majored in business administration at Bloomsburg University, but even in college, he knew there was only one thing he wanted to do: brew beer.

Traditionally, the world of craft brewing has been small and insular – like a hidden pub on a back alley. But in Philadelphia, where the roster of upscale gastropubs is ever growing and Philly Beer Week is fast becoming a civic holiday, opportunities to launch a successful full-time career in beer-making are expanding as quickly as the head of a carelessly poured pint.

Which is why Hall, 25, of Richboro, got a job as an assistant brewer at Yards Brewing Co. in Philadelphia this month. One of the city’s first microbreweries, the 16-year-old company recently installed two new fermenters, which increased capacity from 15,000 to 24,000 barrels as it makes a push selling its beer in Delaware and other Mid-Atlantic states.

“I just really had great timing and lucked out,” Hall said at the company’s Delaware Avenue headquarters, where a table of beer lovers in the tasting room was planning this year’s Beer Week, June 3 to 12.

Not just brewers are benefiting from the region’s beermania. New brewpubs mean jobs for warehouse workers, packagers, drivers, sales representatives, and restaurant staff. At least three more gastropubs are scheduled to open soon: Forest & Main, a small brewpub in Ambler; American Sardine Bar, which will sell American craft beer in South Philadelphia; and the Grainery, specializing in small batches of European-style beers in Center City. Several other microbrewers have responded to growing demand by adding equipment to increase their output.

“Everybody had a great 2010,” said Suzanne Woods, a sales representative for Sly Fox in Phoenixville and Royersford and author of the “Beer Lass” blog. “And it’s still growing.”

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