This post is designed as an accompaniment to the recently published human resources (HR) and salary benchmark data from the Brewers Association (BA). This data aggregates member-provided data on salaries, bonuses and benefits for a variety of positions commonly found in breweries. The data was aggregated both by business model (upholstery, brewery and production), as well as in total. Given the relatively small sample sizes, we chose not to provide a breakdown by size, which would further reduce the sample size and potentially expose individual brewery data points.
The BA HR and salary benchmarking effort exists because many of these data points are otherwise difficult to find in other datasets. That said, other datasets can be very useful for comparing salaries, and we consciously did not collect data on certain positions specifically because better data exists elsewhere. Namely, breweries may wish to consult data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or their state restaurant association on culinary and restaurant-specific positions.
BLS data can also be useful to any brewers looking to transform our national SKUs into ranges for their own local labor markets. The specific dataset in question that I would recommend looking at is the Statistics Program on Employment and Wages by Occupation. This much larger survey estimates salary levels for nearly 800 occupations and generates these estimates at the state and local level. Current data is as of May 2020, with updates from 2021 to Spring 2022. This makes it possible for workers and employers to see how professional wages might compare in their location against national benchmarks.
For breweries, cooks (supervisors and non-supervisors), bartenders and waiters/waitresses are included in the occupation data. This spreadsheet will automatically find average hourly wages for five common restaurant roles once you select your location from a drop-down list of nearly 400 areas across the country.
By comparing local averages to national averages, workers and employers can see how they might adjust wages for a specific position up or down from the benchmarks we’ve compiled. In cases where roles overlap multiple positions, I often recommend doing this exercise with multiple positions and using averages. Speaking with the BLS, they indicated that many brewery production professions fall under 51-9012 (separators, filters, clarifiers, precipitants and incubators, operators and tensioners).
Additionally, brewers can compare occupations across industries, and in some cases, beverage manufacturing may have higher or lower wages. For example, Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders (51-9111) earn on average higher hourly wages in beverage manufacturing than in other food manufacturing industries.
Overall, employers shouldn’t stop at just looking at BA credentials, but consider these types of industry and geographic fits.