Cellar Technician

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What Do Cellar Technicians Do?

Cellar technicians work behind-the-scenes of pubs, clubs and bars ensuring the cellar is always properly-stocked and the drinks can keep flowing. While not the most intellectually-demanding job in the world, the role can be physically-challenging and requires a good, working knowledge of the pub and club industry, as well as a number of associated skills and personal attributes.

As a cellar technician, some of your day-to-day responsibilities may include:

  • Carrying out regular stock takes, placing fresh orders if necessary and then dealing with incoming deliveries.
  • Changing barrels, cleaning pipes and performing regular maintenance tasks around the cellar and in the bar itself.
  • Maintaining refrigeration equipment and ensuring that the cellar is always kept at the optimum temperature for the drinks being stored there.
  • Training bar staff and management on the proper use and maintenance of cellar equipment.
  • Working to strict health and safety guidelines and ensuring other people follow these rules when they are in the cellar as well.

While some cellar technicians work directly for larger pubs, clubs or bars, you may also work for a chain or a brewery, visiting several establishments a week.

Qualifications and Skills

Generally speaking, you don’t need any formal qualifications to work in a cellar. In fact, many trainee cellar technicians are taken on with few – or no – qualifications and instead learn ‘on the job’, often under the guidance of an experienced professional.

That said, however, some employers may want to see evidence of at least basic numeracy and literacy skills and so may ask that you have a few good GCSEs, particularly in English, maths and maybe even science and technology.

At the same time, holding an industry qualification in cellar management will always improve your chances of landing a job. One of the most-respected qualifications – especially among establishments specialising in serving real ale - is offered by the Cask Marque Trust (http://www.cask-marque.co.uk/). Visit its website for more information. Similarly, the British Institute of Inkeeping (BII) offers part-time courses in Beer and Cellar Quality as well as a National Certificate in Cellar Service, Installation and Maintenance.

Alongside formal qualifications, employers may also want to see evidence that you have experience in the bar or brewing industry, while they may also require you to exhibit the following personal attributes:

  • Reliability and punctuality: cellar technicians are often required to start early, especially if there are deliveries due, so good time-keeping is essential.
  • Excellent customer service skills; while you may spend most of your time working alone, you will also have to work with other members of the bar team and, if you work for a brewery, will have to meet clients.
  • A keen sense of initiative and good problem-solving skills.
  • A good level of physical fitness and excellent practical skills.

Pay and Benefits

While cellar technicians may get paid more than bar staff, rates of pay are still low. According to the National Careers Service, pay for a trainee cellar technician starts at around £12,500 a year, though you may earn up to £15,000 a year when you’re still learning your trade. With specialist qualifications and several years’ experience, you can expect to earn between £20,000 and £25,000 a year, with large chains and prestigious, top-end establishments always likely to pay more than small, local pubs or clubs.

Aside from the pay, benefits of working as a cellar technician include being able to work in a fun, vibrant environment, often as part of a young team, being able to enjoy the challenge of fixing specialist equipment, and also potentially having the opportunity to move into pub or club management.

Possible Downsides

Alongside the varied benefits of working as a cellar technician, there are also some possible downsides. For starters, the pay is never going to be excellent, even if you gain extra qualifications and take on extra responsibility. Additionally, the work can be physically demanding and, since most establishments only require one person working down in the cellar, it may often even be lonely.

Finding Work

Many cellar technician jobs are still advertised the old way – that is, with a postcard in a pub or club window, or with a quiet word with a landlord. However, many positions are also advertised openly, either online or through the trade press.

Start by using our job search and looking at whats on your local online job centre baord. 

Good places to look for new opportunities include the Hospitality Guild website (http://www.hospitalityguild.co.uk/), www.caterer.com and www.barzone.co.uk.


Further Reading

British Institute of Inkeeping


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