In recent years, the USA has seen a huge increase in the number of breweries. The demand for craft beer has created a need for brewing programs that equip you to take on the challenge of brewing a high quality product. Here we have a brief overview of 9 different schools / programs that are geared specifically towards brewing.
Siebel Institute of Technology
Siebel is first on our list and for good reason. They have an impressive offering of brewing courses. They have courses on the entry, intermediate, and advanced levels. You’re bound to find something to fit your needs.
For their World Brewing Academy (WBA) Concise Course in Brewing Technology, they allow 1 year of homebrewing experience as a prerequisite! Pretty dang cool. This concise course is 3 months long and is offered in online and traditional settings (barring pandemics).
If you’re looking at attending their WBA Advanced Brewing Theory Program, you can opt to take the concise course first or take an online assessment test that allows you to skip the 3-month concise course! I actually looked into taking this course over a year ago and passed the online assessment. Most brewers with a few years of experience should be able to jump right into this advanced course. Taking the assessment allows you to bypass the concise course and save a few thousand dollars!
The premier course at Siebel is their WBA Master Brewer Program. It’s a 20-week course that takes you into the classroom and brewery in both Chicago and Munich. This is their most intensive and hands-on course. It is also the most expensive one. At $27,980.00 it must pack a punch.
Siebel’s been around since 1872. So, there is little doubt that they have had the time to perfect their courses. If you’re looking for a non-degree route into the professional brewing world, Siebel is a great option.
The UC Davis Brewing Program offers both Undergraduate and Graduate level coursework and programs. They also report that “we are regularly contacted by breweries who are looking for new staff.” So you’re likely to find a job at the end of your time. Which is kinda the point…at least for most of us.
If you want a kick-ass education and a fancy piece of paper (i.e. diploma), then the above mentioned programs are what you’re looking for.
UC Davis also offers a Master Brewers Certificate Program. It’s a 15-week long course that is similar to some of the Seibel offerings. This certificate program will equip you with the knowledge you need concerning beer production, from grain to glass. They also have a focus on brewhouse design and construction. All in all, it’s a well-rounded course that will put you leagues ahead when it comes time to apply for a brewing position.
American Brewers Guild offers two courses that vary from 5 to 11 weeks in length. Most of their coursework is via distance learning but they also incorporate in-person and hands-on learning in their brewery in Virginia.
These guys have been offering courses since 1997. While it appears that their courses give you an excellent education with the convenience of learning online, their website is a tiny bit difficult to navigate and the course descriptions are confusing.
That said, they offer a competitive price point and based on their prerequisites, they’re serious about diving into the science and engineering behind brewing.
CWU offers a unique Bachelor of Science in Craft Brewing. Their coursework includes, “Microbiology, Biochemistry, Sensory Analysis, and Hop Research.” Not only is it heavily science-based, they also ensure that you understand the business side of brewing / running a brewery. If you’re looking to start your own operation at some point, the BSCB seems like a great fit.
They also offer a Minor in Craft Brewing, as well as a Certificate in Craft Brewing. All of their programs and certificates require you to be a student at CWU. That’s a drawback for most.
As an added bonus, CWU is located near the heart of hop production in the USA…Yakima valley!
Metropolitan State University of Denver offers three options for entering the professional world of brewing. They are a Bachelor of Science in Brewing Operations, a B.S. in Craft Brewing and Pub Operations, and a Brewery Operations minor.
One advantage that MSUD has is its location to the heart of the USA’s craft beer scene. Colorado ranks second to California in terms of total number of breweries. Lots of breweries means lots of jobs. As an aside, Colorado also comes in at 4th for breweries per capita. Lots of beer and not so many people. Also a good thing.
ASU has been offering their Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Sciences since 2012. While it is brewing specific, you’ll also get insight into wine production. The benefit of a more holistic approach to fermentation sciences is a broader understanding of ingredients/variables that could in turn lead to a greater ability to innovate. Wine-beer hybrids?
Due to their broad focus, should you choose to complete this Bachelor of Science, you’ll have a ton of options for future employment and entrepreneurship within the food and beverage industry.
SDSU is currently offering a course called Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer. It’s a course for anyone, from hobbyists to current professionals. Taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors that are actually in the craft beer industry.
The course takes a year and is split into two levels. Each level costs about $2500 – $3500. Currently, courses are offered in an online capacity. This is a great opportunity to get some great content from people inside the business of craft beer.
CSU has a B.S. in Fermentation Sciences. The nice thing about these broader degrees is they offer more than just a career path into brewing…should you decide you need to pivot to cheese or something.
It is also worth noting, that as of 2016, Boulder and Denver ranked in the top 10 cities in the nation for breweries per capita. Fort Collins itself is home to power houses like New Belgium and Odells. It helps to drink beer in order to know beer.
Here is a very hands-on course offered by a brewery on the Western slope of Colorado. They have an impressive list of breweries that have come out of their Brewery Immersion Course.
The course costs $2,500 and is for one or two students. You will have one-on-one teaching with the goal being to work on your brewery design and business model. This course is for those that want to start a brewery.
If you want the guts of how to run a business and brew great beer, this course is it. Colorado Boy is intensely focused on the bottom line, quality beer, and not wasting money on pointless shiny gizmos that won’t improve your beer.
While I haven’t been through this course myself, I have been to Colorado Boy in both Ridgeway and Montrose, Colorado, as well as, several of the breweries that got their start from this course.
It seems to me that they equip you with the foundation you need to produce quality beer and succeed as a business. It will be up to you to continue to expand your brewing knowledge but the staff at Colorado Boy will still be available for ongoing mentorship and input.