The Craft Brewing (BRW) program provides an overview of the craft brewery business, i.e. from farm to glass, and is designed to provide students with a foundation of knowledge required for successful employment in the craft brewing industry. With continued growth of the brewing industry nationwide and world-wide, owners and managers of major breweries, craft breweries, and brew pubs are seeking professionals who have been trained in the science and engineering of running a brewery operation, as well as those who know and understand the demands of the brewing industry. The craft brewing industry is expected to grow in Washington State as the industry moves away from “factory” breweries (Olympia, Rainier, etc.) to small craft breweries.
In response to the demand for condensed technical training programs in brewing science, Skagit Valley College has collaborated with regional craft brewing industry professionals to create a multi-disciplinary program that will provide education and training for those interested in working in this industry. The program provides an overview of the craft brewery business - from farm to glass. The certificate program is structured to help students learn brew science theory through hands-on experience in the brew laboratory and at local breweries. The program includes industry professionals in the classroom, industry tours and internship experiences at regional breweries.
This is an ideal program for those considering entry into the brewing industry, as well as those pursuing wider knowledge of the business in order to improve their skills and advance in their career goals. Students will gain a level of industry knowledge that will benefit them in any area of responsibility in the brewery, covering every topic critical to successful brewery operations.
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Craft Brewing program will be able to:
- Show competency in understanding the history of alcohol fermentation and the brewing of beer spirits, and how this history relates to the legacy and future of brewing.
- Demonstrate the ability to utilize brew house facilities and brewing equipment.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the microbiology and biochemistry concepts of fermentation pertaining to the brewing of beer and distilled spirits.
- Analyze and demonstrate the steps in the brewing process - grain handling, malting, yeast and fermentation processes, raw materials and wort production, beer production, quality control, packaging processes, flavor production, and control.
- Demonstrate foundational knowledge of general physics, fluid dynamics and engineering concepts pertaining to the equipment used in the brewing of beer.
- Identify classic and craft-brew beer styles and describe production of each.
- Analyze and evaluate business concepts of the brewing industry and the day-to-day activities involved with the operation of a solvent brewing facility.
- Demonstrate the ability to design and brew a beer that meets generally acceptable standards.
- Demonstrate knowledge of sustainability practices for raw materials, water, energy, processing and brewery waste.
Many jobs in the craft brewing industry cross employment categories. People working in this industry can often be found working in management positions, sales/marketing, graphic design, accountant/bookkeepers, service technicians, lab technicians, bartenders, and food service employees associated with restaurants or brew pubs. According to our local industry partners, job titles specific to brewing are brewers, maltsters, cellermen, bottling line workers, draught line technicians/cleaners, vat/equipment technicians, quality assurance/quality control technicians, and fermentation lab technicians. Working in a brewery can be physically demanding. Many tasks involve lifting, climbing, moving, carrying, pushing and pulling items weighing up to 50 lbs. or more. Due to legal restrictions associated with the production of beer and spirits, most businesses require workers to be at least 21 years of age prior to employment.
Entry into the Program
The Craft Brewing program only enrolls students Fall quarter. Please apply at Enrollment Services. This program has limited enrollment with students meeting the admission requirements admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Recommended “Prerequisite” Courses
While a degree is not required for this program, college-level work in the subject areas listed below is expected for student success. It is recommended that students complete (or have completed) at least one college-level class with a passing grade in an area of science and engineering. Some possible course options are listed below:
Sciences: Biology • Microbiology • Chemistry • Food Science
Engineering: Mechanical Engineering • Process Control • Physics Materials Science • Manufacturing Technology
Other programs that provide applicable skills for work in breweries include plumbing, welding, electrical, automotive and diesel.
Students who successfully complete the Craft Brewing certificate will be prepared to take both the beer industry’s nationally recognized Level One Cicerone Certified Beer Server exam and the Level Two Certified Cicerone exam. In the wine world, the word “sommelier” designates those with proven expertise in selecting, acquiring, and serving fine wine. The word Cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) designates those with proven expertise in selecting, acquiring, and serving today’s wide range of beers. Only those who have passed the requisite test of knowledge and tasting skill can call themselves a Cicerone.