Maybe it’s the repercussions of the pandemic, or maybe it’s the sluggish pace of growth in craft beer in recent years. Maybe it’s a wider understanding of what constitutes burnout—or maybe it’s the growing recognition of the harassment and discrimination that can occur at breweries. Or, maybe it’s all of the above.
Whatever the underlying reasons, beer professionals are having more candid conversations about compensation and working conditions than ever before. Inevitably, many are asking whether their careers are still satisfying them in the way they once did.
These doubts aren’t always indictments of craft beer as an industry segment; they can also be signs of a maturing industry and workforce. Workers and entrepreneurs who got into independent brewing in the gangbusters growth years of the mid-2010s are now a decade into their careers; their priorities may be shifting. Against the backdrop of a labor market that remains tight, it’s reasonable for employees in any field to ask existential questions about whether their current role is the right fit for them and whether the field in which they work is still serving their goals and needs.
However, while discussions of working conditions and work-life balance have become less taboo, industry professionals say it’s still difficult to have open conversations about the big-picture question: Do you still want to work in beer?