Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for brewers are reasonably good for the next few years. An increase in demand for craft beer is driving steady employment growth for brewers. It is however a small industry, and starting out can be difficult for people without experience.

How to become a brewer

What they do

Brewers work in breweries to make beer and cider. This involves operating machinery and overseeing and controlling the production process.

Their tasks may include:

  • weighing, measuring, mixing, dissolving and boiling ingredients
  • adding materials, such as spices and preservatives, to food and beverages
  • operating heating, chilling, freezing, pasteurising, carbonating, sulphuring and desulphuring plant
  • monitoring product quality before packaging by inspecting, taking samples and adjusting treatment conditions when necessary
  • operating machines to peel, core, slice, dice, pit and juice fruit and vegetables
  • cleaning equipment, pumps, hoses, storage tanks, vessels and floors, and maintaining infestation control programs
  • regulating speed of conveyors and crusher rollers, and adjusting tension of rollers to ensure total extraction of juice from sugar cane
  • moving products from production lines into storage and shipping areas
  • packaging and bottling products.


There is no strict entry requirement to work as a brewer, but most employers prefer to hire people with qualifications or previous experience as brewers.

One way to get a qualification is to complete an apprenticeship in Food & Beverage Manufacturing, although to do this you need to be employed by a brewery that is willing to put you through the apprenticeship. Competenz is the organisation that oversees the National Certificate in Food or Beverage Processing. This Certificate is available at Levels 2, 3 and 4.

Experienced brewers can finish a Master Brewer Diploma through the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. This requires membership in the Institute.

Institute of Brewing & Distilling:

Other relevant qualifications for a brewer are degrees in subjects such as chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, or process engineering. Having a degree in one of these subjects can be a way to obtain employment as a brewer.

The New Zealand Apprenticeships scheme is available for anyone over the age of 16, and is subsidised by the government. More information on the scheme is on the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) website.


Cost of study

On the job training

*if completed as an employer-funded apprenticeship there may be no fees for the apprentice

The least expensive way to train as a brewer is to become an apprentice and learn on the job. That way, you can earn while gaining a qualification. At the other end of the scale, completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in chemistry or other relevant subjects requires at least three years of studying at university. Note that brewers’ qualifications will determine what part of the brewing process they can be involved in. Brewers with a higher education are likely to be involved in the more advanced parts of the process.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

The Industry Training Organisation (ITO) that looks after training for the brewing industry is the Competenz. It arranges apprenticeship training nationwide.

A Bachelor of Science majoring in chemistry and other relevant subjects is offered at most New Zealand universities.


Completed qualifications

The number of students completing a bachelor’s degree in the broader category ‘Biological Sciences’ has been stable over the last years. Only a very small portion of graduates with this degree go into brewing, but it shows that the pool of potential employees has increased.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


The annual income for brewers is estimated to be around $55,100. Inexperienced brewers and new apprentices are likely to start out at the minimum wage or the training wage. Brewers with a relevant degree are likely to earn more than brewers with no qualifications or a National Certificate.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

Employment and skill shortages

Brewers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2021 2026
309 312 320 330
  0.1% 0.2% 0.6%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
* Growth projections are based on the wider category “Food Process Workers”.

The number of brewers in employment was stable from 2006 to 2013. There has been a trend in the industry for large breweries to employ fewer people due to automation and lower demand, but this has been offset by the rise of employment in many smaller breweries. Employment is projected to increase by a small number in the foreseeable future, but due to the small size of the industry this is not likely to result in many new positions.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
15% 45% 2% 54% $44,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commisson.
*Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Biological Sciences. ‘

Three years after completing a Bachelor in Biological Sciences most graduates are either in employment or further study. Note that only a small fraction of these graduates are employed in the brewing industry.

Brewers are not on Immigration New Zealand's skill shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Brewing vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites. Employment in this industry can also be found by proactive job searching, especially in the smaller breweries.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Brewers can go on to become supervisors or get responsibility for parts of the brewing process. Getting more responsibility is easier for people with relevant degrees. Brewers may also go on to establish their own businesses.

Competenz have more information on career opportunities in the food and beverage manufacturing industry


Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry level brewers.

  • Biotechnologist
  • Food Technologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Miller
  • Process Worker
  • Winemaker

Other information


More information on brewers is available on the Careers New Zealand website and through the "Just the Job" video.

Careers New Zealand:
Just the Job video clip: A Career as a Brewer


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of brewers has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for their purpose of this report:

831112 – Brewery Worker