In this day and age, brewing and marketing craft beer is an art form. With well over 6,000 breweries across the United States, there’s no shortage of options for anyone who likes beer no matter their location but turning that passion for complex IPAs and barrel-aged stouts into a career isn’t easy. However, two Virginia-based universities want to help passionate beer lovers land what could be their dream job by collaborating together to offer a professional certificate in the craft beer industry.
The Virginia Tech Center for Organizational and Technical Advancement and the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies are working together to bring students a yearlong noncredit program that provides a guideline for the craft brewing business – everything from selecting high-quality ingredients, to various brewing processes, to packing and distribution. Basically, students will learn the all of the roles needed to help launch their career with an established brewery, or build a successful brewery of their own. The Beer Brewer Professional Certificate begins Nov. 12 at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center as well as partnering breweries, which will likely be close to the area. The certification is approved by the U.S. Department of Labor and Industry as a technical instruction for a registered apprenticeship. According to the Augusta Free Press, a registered apprentice who successfully completes the program receives a journeyworker’s completion certificate which is a national, and sometimes international, credential. And, the program is in conjunction with the Brewers Association.
Courses to better introduce beer drinkers to the industry have become much more popular in recent years but ones held on college campuses still remain few and far between at this point. More often, breweries that have a little bit of clout in a designated area will hold in-house seminars to better educate passionate homebrewers looking to take it a step further. The University of Richmond has been offering a similar program since 2016, while three other universities have been offering certifications for about the same timeframe, including the University of Portland, Portland State University and the University of Vermont. Each offers a slightly more varying course, with one focusing more on business management and evolving the business, one focusing on marketing and the accounting side of a brewery and the other focusing on start-ups and the business plan needed to evolve in the ever-changing industry.
Enrollment for the upcoming course in Virginia will be capped at just 20 students, so if you’re interested, you better act quick but keep in mind it will cost $2,499. It seems likely to spread into the Washington D.C. area in the near future, however. The joint schools will begin taking applications early this month and each application requires an accompanying essay. For additional information and specifics on the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate collaborative course, visit the University of Richmond’s website.