Best jobs in D.C.: Running a beer brewery
You have access to a lot of beer +1
But you have no time to drink it
Plus it gets a little old. Skall and Hancock both say they drink less since the brewery started. “I’m not tired of beer,” says Hancock, “but unless it’s something really special, I’m like, eh.” -1
The work physically exhausts you
Hancock started his brewing career as unpaid apprentice, lifting heavy bags of grain at 5am, and the work hasn’t gotten less physically taxing. -1
But all that running around makes you lose weight!
“I went from 210 to 180,” says Skall. +1
You’re a minor celebrity among beer nerds
Hancock says he’s often recognized from the round of press DC Brau has gotten. Skall agrees that it’s “not uncommon” to be approached in public by fans. “We do have pseudo-celebrity status,” he says. He amends the statement: “It’s the beer geeks who recognize us.” Still. +1
Brewing costs a fortune
Each of the six 30-barrel tanks in the fermentation hall cost $13,000, the two 60-barrel tanks cost $18,000, and that’s to say nothing of renting the former Washington Times warehouse on Bladensburg Road. The partners had to raise three-quarters of a million dollars from 26 investors to finance the operation.
With so much money tied up in equipment, the tanks need to be putting out as much product as possible. That means almost exclusively brewing ales, which take 2-3 weeks to produce, rather than lagers, which can take six weeks. -1
You get to be friends with all the other beer people
“It’s not as competitive as people think,” says Skall. They pal around with the guys from Chocolate City and Three Stars. “We’re all just happy to be coexisting together.” They recently had drinks with Rob Tod from Allagash. (When two beer conglomerates get together for drinks, whose product do they imbibe? Neither. They drank whiskey.) +1
You scrub and sweep more than you brew
“People think you’re doing this fun chemistry and alchemy,” says Hancock. “The job is 80 percent cleaning.” -1
You work a lot
Hancock starts brewing between 7 and 8 seven mornings a week, and Skall (whose duties include marketing, finance, shipping, running social media, and visiting clients) runs around from 9 until 11 many days. -1
But you get to make beer!
“I always get pretty tickled when I go to a bar and see it on the beer list,” says Hancock. Skall cites the positive response from the city as the most rewarding part, though he says he enjoys even mundane tasks, like shipping. “I think it’s the best job on the planet,” he says. +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1…
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