The bad news is that what I'm about to say may not make opening a brewery sound like that much fun. I've come to a general theory of brewery work: it's not what you think it is.
The joke is that brewing is 90% cleaning and 10% paperwork. Except that it's not a joke at all. It's just how brewery life is.
Beer requires an absurd amount of sanitary vessels and the fermentation and packaging process leaves a trail of very dirty vessels, tools, and instruments in its wake. If you're considering this line of work, you better be the kind of person who finds doing the dishes relaxing.
Cleaning floors, cleaning tanks, cleaning hoses, cleaning kegs, cleaning glasses, cleaning drains, cleaning parts: every day in a brewery starts with cleaning and ends with cleaning.
To be a good brewer, you'll also need to be patient, methodical, and not easily bored.
Almost any action in a brewery can be expressed as "Clean, record data, action, record data, clean."
Things in the brewery break, invariably at very inconvenient times, and you'll need to fix them. Folks with knowledge of small motors and electrician training are revered, and stainless steel welders are legendary.
Knowledge of the biological and chemical science behind brewing process is certainly useful, but your job as a brewer will be cleaning and paperwork first and foremost.
One last warning: you'd better enjoy being at work, because you will be there all the time. Fermentation is a 24/7 activity that doesn't really care about your weekend plans.
Learn about the local regulatory environment, learn about accounting and basic finance, learn about sales. As a co-owner of a startup brewery, I spend way more time working on regulatory compliance than I do making beer. Same with digging through P&L statements and writing budgets. And sales work is endless and exhausting. Owning a brewery is more about running a business than brewing beer.
There are federal and state agencies that get all up in the business of any booze maker, and the wastewater treatment folks in your municipality will want to have more than a few words with you before you start operations.
Being intimately aware of the financial health of your company might not be glamorous, but it is as important as monitoring your fermentations or selecting hops.
The best advice I can give you about financial planning is this: write a business plan and then double what you think it will cost, because it will cost you double what you think it will.
Maybe all of this sounds pretty negative. It's not meant to be. Starting a brewery is the best thing I've ever done and I'm stoked about it every single morning. But don't think for a minute it's not hard and scary.
Still want to be a brewer? I hope so! I still believe that brewing is magical. Sure, it's hot, dirty, and wet. It's labor-intensive work that will make you forget how to enjoy drinking beer and give you some borderline-OCD cleaning tendencies. But it's also an ancient art, one that yields deliciousness at the end of the process, and I can promise you there is nothing quite as fulfilling as having people enjoy beer you made.