It is every college freshman’s dream: incorporating a love of beer with a lifelong career. Some of those college students buy their first home brewing kits and whip up a first batch in the dorm room. They eventually go on to more advanced home brew systems after graduation. But what if they switched career paths? Could they go to school to be brewmasters?
In a single word, yes. Multiple colleges around the country offer programs in both brewing science and brewery management. Major in one with complementary training in the other and you set yourself up for a career as a craft brewery owner or a brewmaster.
What You Learn
The University of Delaware offers an online course that teaches the foundational concepts of brewing science and business operations. Other colleges and universities offer more in-depth programs that teach students all the intricacies of operating a successful brewery. Graduates can go on to start their own craft breweries or apply for jobs at existing breweries.
What exactly does one learn in such a program? A lot:
Students learn the basics of brewing beer. They learn about things like wort and mash. They learn how yeast converts sugar into alcohol. They learn about how temperature and pressure affect fermentation and overall taste. Everything about the beer-brewing process is broken down into individual components to facilitate full understanding.
Students also learn about brewing equipment. They learn the differences between unitank brewing, brite tank brewing, etc. They learn about the pros and cons of different brewing processes and the equipment it takes to utilize those processes.
This particular part of the program would benefit somebody looking to go into equipment design. CedarStoneIndustry, a Houston-based equipment manufacturer, says getting into their industry would require an engineering education. Still, knowledge in the brewing process certainly helps.
Beer As a Business
Learning about things like yeast, fermentation, and unitank brewing can prepare a student for a career in the brewing side of the business. Students taking the University of Delaware course could use what they learn to improve the beer they brew at home. But someone wanting to get into the business side of things would need more.
Programs that delve into brewery management cover everything from capital investments to daily operations to the legal ramifications of producing alcohol. There is a lot to learn on the business side of things. In fact, it is not hard to make the case that running a business is more difficult than brewing a good beer.
Learning from Experience
Even though formal education programs are readily available, your average home brewer receives little to no training. Most of them do not enroll in programs like the one being offered by the University of Delaware. At best, they might take a couple of continuing education courses at the local community college.
So how do they learn to brew beer? Through experience. Remember those college kids cooking up batches of beer in the dorm? That’s where it begins. They continue learning month after month, year after year, with every new batch brewed.
Brewing beer is not complicated in principle. Anyone can do it – even on a limited budget. But to go from plastic bucket dorm beer to a craft brew worthy off its own brand name, you need a little more. That is what college programs are for.
If you have ever dreamed of brewing beer for a living, you can do it. Go to school and get yourself a degree in brewing science or brewery management. The degree is your ticket.