Gain some experience by working at a local brewery. Most of the brewers around here don’t really post jobs very often as there is plenty of interest. It’s not a lost cause though because you can usually get some “volunteer” work by asking around. The volunteering is actually paid because a for-profit company can’t actually have people working for free.
Be upfront with your potential employer! Express your passion for brewing and let them know of your plans to open up a brewery one day. Occasionally you might run into a brewery with a non-compete clause that could delay you starting your own brewery. A non-compete clause gives a set time before an employee can start or work for a company in the same industry as your former employer. On the good end, your honesty and enthusiasm could help you land the job or some help. The brewer will likely be able to give you lots of helpful knowledge and maybe even a deal on used equipment if they are upgrading soon.
You really don’t know how you will like brewing as a job till you try it. I’ve heard many people say they love homebrewing, but they really hated brewing when they tried it out in a job environment. Get a job at a local brewery so you can get the job experience. Besides the brewing process, you will hopefully get the customer, finance and general experience of the business. Try anything they let you do as it will be a great experience!
Ask… ask… ask! Ask as many questions as you can without annoying your coworkers. The little people in the business tend to see what actually goes on day to day. Free knowledge is better than paid knowledge from botching something at your startup brewery. Asking questions about how things work and just generally doing the job will get you the knowledge to give you an edge. Make sure to ask the founder or whoever is running the brewery about any issues they ran into as you will probably deal with same problems.
I hope to get a job in the near future at one of the local brewers. I’m lucky as my job is just four ten hour days other than the busy holiday season. You may not have the extra days that I do but seriously find a way to make it work. I think brewing will be a great way to pay my bills but only actual experience will tell me the truth if it’s more than a hobby!