Building a career around beverages
For most of us, alcohol and work don’t mix. But working in the beverages industry means you could spend your days around drinks of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety. Whether you see yourself working behind the scenes, creating the latest must-have soft drink – or dealing with customers face to face and advising them on the tipple to suit their tastes – your future career could await you in the drinks industry. We take a look at three drink-fuelled vocations…
Every drink, from your morning glass of orange juice to your favourite mixer, has to be manufactured. It’s the responsibility of engineering technicians and other engineering staff to see beverages through from their design to their delivery to the customer. Engineering technicians work with the operations team in drinks factories to ensure all the manufacturing equipment is working efficiently, make suggestions for practical improvements, and ensure that all health and safety requirements are met. To become an engineering technician, you’ll typically need a BTEC (or equivalent vocational qualification), and some experience in a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market. One of the best ways to gain hands-on experience and a qualification is an apprenticeship.
If you’re after a career that’s shaken, not stirred, a job as a cocktail mixologist may be just your glass of Long Island Iced Tea! In this role, experience is a must, as is an ability to get on with people from all backgrounds. When people are drinking cocktails, they’re looking for an experience, and the mixologist is an important part of that – you’ll need to be able to entertain and tell stories about the drinks as you make them. So where do you start? Look for a job as a bar tender first, to get used to the bar environment. You may start out emptying bins and changing glasses, but if you show enthusiasm, you can learn the art of mixing cocktails and work your way up to being a mixologist.
This is the title given to wine experts in restaurants, hotels and bars. To work as a sommelier, you’ll need a very good knowledge of wine, and which types are suited to particular dishes. It’s commonly expected that you’ll have general bar and restaurant experience, as some employers may require you to assist in other areas during busy periods. Not only will you serve wine, you may also be in charge of choosing and stocking the wine list. Qualifications aren’t always necessary, but many employers now ask for a qualification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Visit www.wsetglobal.com/qualifications.
Words: Jessie Bland
[This article was originally printed in Jobs & Careers with Hilary Devey magazine in May 2013]