06 November 2019

People, skills, key assets in craft brewing

A good brewer can make or break a craft brewery operation, which is why it’s important to protect your business and look after your human assets.

A micro brewery can be a lean and mean operation, with just a handful of passionate personnel in the enterprise, but maximising your return on each keg involves expanding your business – and the staff to run it.

Having a brewery combined with licensed premises can double your profits, and serving food onsite is socially responsible, provides an additional attraction and keeps your punters on the premises. While having a food truck pull up in the car park reduces staffing and compliance requirements, a significant number of craft brew pubs run their own kitchens.

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So you’ve got your operations manager, your minimum of two brewers, between four and eight bar staff – plus casuals – and your kitchen staff and chef. Some of these roles are critical: if the manager, head brewers or chef couldn’t work due to death, disability or traumatic illness, it could jeopardise your ability to continue trading, warns Gallagher hospitality expert Tanya Cole.

“Fortunately there’s a business insurance product to safeguard against that eventuality: key person insurance,” she says.

“You also need to protect your staff against loss of income resulting from accidents in the workplace.”

Everyday risks

Cuts and burns are commonplace kitchen injuries and brewing, which involves high temperatures and highly corrosive chemicals, brings even greater exposures

Since carbonation assists the process by driving the product through its fermentation stages it’s an unavoidable side product and even the most practised operator can fall victim to an equipment failure, as two experienced brewers in New Zealand discovered when a kettle built up too much pressure and drenched them in boiling liquid.

The Kiwi brewers were saved by their colleagues immediately hosing them down with cold water until the ambulance arrived: they knew their safety protocols.

In addition to minimising preventable risks your staff need to know what to do in an emergency. You also need workers’ compensation cover for all your employees, including the casuals, and income protection insurance for yourself.

“If you’re a craft brewery owner and operator, our food production and hospitality sector experts can help put together a package that covers both your business and your personal risks,” Cole says, “to make sure that you and the people who are most important to you are protected if something goes wrong.”

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Click on the button below to find out more about how Gallagher can help protect your craft brewing business.

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Further reading

Risk management in craft brewing

Craft brewery start-up essentials


To the extent that any material in this document may be considered advice, it does not take into account your objectives, needs or financial situation. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and review any relevant Product Disclosure Statement and policy wording before taking out an insurance policy.