We spend so much of our time at breweries, enjoying beers crafted by teams of talented brewers. But how often do we actually think about the labor that goes into creating those delicious craft beers from start to finish? 

That's why we decided to start a new blog series about how brewers from beloved breweries around the country work for their beer!

We're kicking this series off with Chad Henderson, 35, head brewer and co-owner at NoDa Brewing Company in Charlotte, NC. 

WFYB: So, Chad, how long have you been in the brewing industry?

CH: 8 years.

How would you describe the physical exertion required for your role at the brewery?

CH: Almost everything in smaller breweries is done with some sort of manual interaction. The brewing process itself involves lifting hundreds of pounds of grain stored in 50-55 lb. sacks and loading hoppers to feed into the mill. The hops themselves are in 44 lb. boxes, and we will run through several boxes of several varieties for most of our hoppy beers, which are the ones we brew the most frequently.

The brewing process itself requires a lot of movement up and down flights of stairs with steel toed boots, so your lower body will get a lot of work through the brew day. On top of these manual tasks, we have cleaning processes that require moving/manipulating large 1.5 - 2 in. diameter hoses and valves for several hours worth of cleaning cycles. The hot summer also adds a layer of difficulty as well.

If someone were considering moving into a role like yours at another brewery, what advice would you give them?

CH: Be ready to sweat! Keep your back in mind and make sure you lift/move in a smart way to minimize injury. Make safety a primary concern for any process.

How do you typically get active outside of work?

CH: I lift weights for 1 - 1.5 hours, 5 - 6 days of the week. I also work in kickboxing circuit training at 9 Round about 4 - 5 days of the week.

What are your favorite fitness activities to participate in?

CH: I love weight lifting. I also love boxing or any sort of martial art. And I enjoy hiking; I try to go with my wife as often as possible.

Have you ever participated in a fitness activity at a brewery, or one followed by beer? If so, what were your thoughts?

CH: Yes, I’ve participated in NoDa Run Club and NoDa Hop Yoga, as well as brewery workouts with Camp Gladiator. Can’t go wrong with working out in a low-key environment like a brewery — and I’d be lying if beer wasn’t my favorite post-workout meal.

What’s your favorite beer to sip when cooling down after a tough workout?

CH: Any fresh IPA.

Generally speaking, what’s been your go-to beer so far this season?

CH: Our True Grit SE IPA.

How do you Work For Your Beer?

Show us! Tag @workforyourbeer in your next post doing a brewery workout, rocking your Work For Your Beer swag, or just enjoying your favorite craft beer.

You can follow Chad's brewing adventures on social media at @beermadchad, and be sure to follow NoDa Brewing Company at @nodabrewing