News / USA

    Universities Tap into Craft Beer Growth by Offering Classes

    Koby Harris, brewery production manager, left, and Sandra Cain, assistant director of retail operations, present freshly brewed beers at Innovation Brew Works, California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., March 19, 2015.
    Koby Harris, brewery production manager, left, and Sandra Cain, assistant director of retail operations, present freshly brewed beers at Innovation Brew Works, California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., March 19, 2015.
    Associated Press

    With an explosion in growth in the craft beer industry over the last decade, it's not enough to simply have a passion for brewing and beer when it comes to starting a brewery or working for one as the industry gets more competitive.

    Recognizing that, some universities are now offering online programs on the business of craft beer.

    In the last decade, the number of craft breweries has grown to more than 4,000 in the U.S. today, from more than 1,400 in 2005, according to the Brewers Association.

    A lot of breweries started out five or 10 years ago with a focus on beer, said Gregory Dunkling, director of the University of Vermont's new online business of craft beer certificate program, which starts in February. Back then, a home brewer may have been able to create some great recipes but didn't have the business acumen, so along the way hired staff to cover marketing, sales, the business operation, he said. It's harder to pull that off today.

    As the industry has grown and become more competitive, the bar has been raised for those starting a brewery or working for one, said Bart Watson, chief economist with the Brewers Association.

    "Certainly the demand for people with a high level of brewing knowledge has gone up and on the business side as well," he said. "So I think we're seeing a variety of different programs look for ways that they can capitalize on that." 

    Portland State University in Oregon started an online business of craft brewing program in 2013, with the first cohort filling up in the first week with around 40 people. It's become one of the school's most successful professional certificate programs, drawing people from around the world, said Scott Gallagher, the university's director of communications.

    "We discovered that there's a huge need for people who wanted to get a certificate. They didn't necessarily want to go to college or already had a college degree and wanted to open up a brew pub," Gallagher said. They needed some basic and more advanced knowledge, such as in marketing, he added.

    The demand is so high that PSU is looking at how to develop and expand the program, Gallagher said.

    "The truth is ... it's not all about brewing and drinking beer. There's a lot of business behind it as well and that's usually what they're lacking," he said.

    University of Portland and San Diego State University's College of Extended Studies also have business of craft beer certificate programs.

    So far, the University of Vermont program, in a state that has made a name for itself for its craft beers, has drawn applicants from around the country — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Oregon and Texas, and about half are from the Northeast, Dunkling said.

    The program costs about $4,400 for the two courses: one on the fundamentals of craft beer and a second course of students' choosing focused on digital marketing, sales or business operations. Apprenticeships with a network of breweries and distributors are also available.

    Industry officials agree there's a need for education and knowledge in the industry and different ways to get it, whether through experience, hiring talent or training, which some breweries provide.

    As outside investors and larger breweries become increasingly involved with craft brewing, Harpoon Brewery, which will be offering apprenticeships to the UVM students, feels a need to maintain its independence.

    "Hiring talented people is a critical part of that effort," Rich Ackerman, Harpoon's director of human resources, said by email. But the company cautions anyone against thinking of craft brewing purely as a business.

    "It's a passion project, first and foremost," he said.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora