Salary of a Distiller

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Distillery workers rinse the interiors of metal drums with alcohol and water.
Distillery workers rinse the interiors of metal drums with alcohol and water. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Alcoholic spirits such as whiskey are produced in distilleries. Distiller workers are responsible for cleaning and rinsing the inside of metal drums, which are used to distill liquor. These workers also position barrels on conveyor belts for filling, as well as label barrelheads with serial numbers and other indentifying information. Other duties include emptying, stacking and repairing cartons for distribution. In the United States, distillery workers reported an average salary of $57,000 as of June, 2011.

Types

Distillery workers fall under different titles, depending on their function and responsibilities in a distillery. Some workers focus on repairing cartons, while others solely clean metal drums. Other workers are responsible for filling and sealing drums, or cutting and scraping barrels. A June 2011 SalaryExpert report stated that barrel washers averaged salaries between $21,000 and $34,000 annually. Barrel drum cutters reported average salaries between $18,000 and $28,000 per year. Average salaries for barrel cleaners fell between $26,000 and $40,000 per year.

Geography

Overall salaries for workers across the distillery sector fluctuated across geographic regions, according to SalaryExpert. As of June 2011, distillery workers employed in Charlotte reported an average salary of $34,281 annually. Distillery workers in Chicago averaged $40,992 per year. In Miami, distillery workers reported an average annual wage of $37,790 per year. Workers in Phoenix, Dallas and Houston averaged annual salaries of $31,406, $34,406 and $34,404, respectively. The highest annual wages were reported by distillery workers in Los Angeles, who averaged $45,457 per year. Distillery workers employed in Orlando averaged the lowest wages, at $30,792 annually.

Advancement

In addition to extensive work experience, industry certification can help distillery workers increase their salary potential and promotional opportunities. Factory workers with proven leadership skills and significant knowledge in distillation theory and practices may transition into supervisory and managerial positions. A June 2011 SalaryExpert report stated that distiller managers in the United States averaged salaries ranging from $52,000 to as high as $84,000 in selected metropolitan cities.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for various machine operators and tenders, which include distillery workers, will decline significantly through the year 2018. Technological advances in machinery, computer programs and robotics will decrease the need for manual operators. Distillery jobs involving manual labor and non-automated technologies are likely to decrease or be eliminated as distilleries increase in efficiency. Nevertheless, trained distillery workers will be needed to replace older workers who are expected to retire during the 2008 to 2018 decade.

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