How Employees Rank Breweries

The last time I was hired for a job was in 1996 (at Portland State University, where I worked for 14 years before striking out as a freelancer). I have therefore failed to keep abreast of the various online resources available for the job-hunter. Fortunately, I come across an article in the New Yorker discussing Glassdoor, an employee-rating site similar to Rate My Professors, which helped get me up to speed. The author, Lizzie Widdicombe, describes the site:

Barton handed his idea off to a former employee, Robert Hohman, who, in 2008, launched Glassdoor. Today, it is the second most popular jobs Web site, after Indeed, and is valued at more than a billion dollars. It has job listings, but it is also a Yelp for workplaces, on which people share salary information and post anonymous reviews evaluating their office environments. Among the site’s features are company ratings, based on how many stars the employees award the organization, on a scale of one to five; and C.E.O. approval ratings, given as a percentage of how many people approve of the company’s leadership.

This is fascinating to me, a writer who has never worked a day in his life for any brewery. In my experience, people are uniformly tight-lipped about their employers, and trying to suss out which breweries treat their employees well and which don't has always been elusive. So, I downloaded the Glassdoor app and started looking around. I'll post the results below, but a few comments beforehand. First and probably most importantly, the data aren't great. For one thing, when breweries merge, it's really hard to tease apart which of the former parts were good or bad. Often the parent company has no rating. The second serious drawback is sample size. Most breweries have very few ratings, even the larger ones. (Yuengling, one of the largest breweries in the country, had just three ratings.) In my chart below, I only included breweries with five or more ratings, but you'll be wise to actually go into the site to evaluate the rating if you're looking for work at one of these places.

There are some real surprises here. Rogue has long had a reputation as a terrible place to work, thanks in part to this report. But on Glassdoor, it's getting a quite-respectable 3.9. New Belgium, by contrast, is usually described as something like heaven to work for, and it's getting only a 3.5. Both have a substantial number of ratings, so this isn't skewed by sample size. There is some continuity among breweries and their reputations (Deschutes, Bell's, and Sierra Nevada score very highly) and some surprising discontinuities. Ninkasi, ranked near the bottom, has it as a stated company goal that the workplace will be a good one. None of the employee-owned companies (Harpoon, New Belgium, and formerly Full Sail) are in the upper tier.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Full Sail, which is by far the lowest-rated brewery I could find. People hate it. The one "positive" review of the five available (three stars) had this comment. " Employee ownership is used more as a marketing tool than an actual reality. Lack of professionalism in management and respect for brewers.... Animosity between employees and upper management/majority owners." That one's eight years old, but one from July 2017 suggests things haven't improved: "No one is safe in their position in this old boys' network. One moment you'll be doing fine and feeling good about your job, then the next moment you'll be fearful of losing your job." Something's not right in Hood River.

You can go check out Glassdoor yourself and surf around if you're interested. Below are the ratings for the largest breweries in the US.

PHOTOS: Glassdoor

Jeff Alworth1 Comment