After working as a meteorologist on TV news stations around the country for 13 years, Aaron Justus was ready for a change. He’d been brewing beer as a hobby for a couple years, so he began to look into a career in the field. In 2011, Justus packed up and moved to San Diego from Richmond, Virginia, enticed by the city's booming craft beer scene. He started out working three jobs to make ends meet—one of them washing and filling kegs at Ballast Point. “I gave up everything at the age of 35 and moved to San Diego,” he says.
Justus also received his diploma from the internationally recognized Institute of Brewing and Distilling. He’s now Ballast Point’s director of brewing. “Brewing has its challenges,” he says. “You have production schedules that need to be met. There’s deadlines. There’s still stress like any other job, but at the end of the day, you’re making beer. And that doesn’t suck.”
Justus also teaches a class at UC San Diego Extension all about what goes into a good brew. He’s taught former CEOs, a medical doctor and other students from a variety of backgrounds, all seeking a new career.
Justus says that as the industry grows and becomes more competitive, people with education will have an advantage. “Education is the fastest way to get your foot in the door."
Interested in a career in brewing? UC San Diego Extension offers a quarterly information session about the program. Register today to save your seat, and find out what your future in craft brewing could look like.