Everyone knows you can’t drink on the job, but some careers demand you at least taste, swirl, and spend time getting to know alcohol on an intimate level.
Whether you want to make it, write about it, sell it or pair it with food, these seven boozy positions let you put well-honed talents to good use in your own little corner of the alcohol industry:
No, it’s not just a fancy word for bartender. Mixologists focus less on serving people, and more on the art of crafting high quality (read: expensive) concoctions. Using spirits, infusions, bitters, sodas, and sometimes even eggs, Mixologists update classic recipes and create exotic flavor combos — cardamom and pear martini, anyone?
All this experimentation means you’re kept busy sampling, tweaking, and re-sampling each new drink before it hits the official cocktail list.
Average income: $16,000–$24,000
Bar consulting is a designer job for the business-minded cocktailophile. Working with up-and-coming water holes or floundering neighborhood establishments, bar consultants provide advice on venue concept, interior design, financing, and, of course, the drink menu.
You must be in tune with what’s up-and-coming in the drinks world, and that translates into a good deal of sipping, swirling, and savoring.
Average income: $38,000–$62,000
From handcrafted cheeses to homemade soaps, there’s a growing demand for artisanal products — and the hard stuff is no exception. With more than 90 craft distillers in the United States, producing your own vodka, whiskey, or gin hasn’t been easier since the Prohibition era.
After fermenting and distilling small batches of fruits or grains, your taste buds will be put to the test as you sample each liquid to determine if it’s ready for sale. It’s entrepreneurial business meets artisan spirits.
Average income: $17,000–$23,000
4. Wine Writer
Cabernet, Merlot, Riesling, Shiraz, these are a wine writer’s favorite words. With a palate that can detect the nuances of a wine’s “nose,” “body,” and “legs,” wine writers use the power of the pen to elucidate these fine details for novices and vino experts alike.
However, this job isn’t just about being a tastemaker in the wine industry, it’s for the complete wine buff. Expertise in wine history, production, and regions are essential tools of the trade.
Average income: $39,000–$76,000
Whether touting a hard-hitting cowboy whiskey or sophisticated elderflower liquor, you know your alcohol brand’s libation inside and out. The goal? Make your drink a household name.
While coordinating marketing strategies and testing new demographics, take pleasure in the fact that you won’t be stuck sipping only in-house products; an important part of the jobs is keeping a close eye (or should it be taste bud?) on all the competition’s the latest boozy beverages.
Average income: $78,000–$149,000
Oenologists (sometimes spelled enologist) are wine scientists — no joke. Working in either R & D, or as the head winemaker, oenologists usually make their professional home at a winery.
In this position, you can have your hands in all areas of the vino process — from choosing the grapes, to marketing the final product — but the best part is surely the tasting. In the name of quality control, it’s your difficult task to savor each batch of wine that comes from your vineyard.
Average income: $29,000–$47,000
Professional snobbery isn’t just for wine experts anymore. Like craft spirits, interest in artisan beers is on the rise, and there’s a new, rare job to go along with it: the beer sommelier.
Based on the spicy notes in a locally brewed ale or the creamy quality of an imported stout, you help costumers pair beer and food. With all of your advanced knowledge on the subject, maybe you can finally convince your mom that beer is not just for slackers.
Average income: $16,000–$21,000