Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some in-person components of this program have either been paused, rescheduled, or moved into a virtual format until further notice. Details on individual course formats will be available on our website.

If you have any questions, please email craftbeer.ces@sdsu.edu or call (619) 594-1188. SDSU Global Campus will continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance of our local and federal health agencies.


Announcing a New Diversity Award for the Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer Certificate

Learn More About Our Craft Beer Diversity Award


Launched in the fall of 2013 in response to the city's burgeoning craft beer industry, San Diego State University's Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer program reflects the explosive growth of the craft beer industry in San Diego — which ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. The program provides hands-on training for those looking to enter or already working in the brewing industry on the business side, rather than the brewing side of operations. This includes creating passionately knowledgeable management and staff in the hospitality industry to give customers a first-class experience.

Estimated Cost Estimated Cost
Level I: $2,406
Level II: $3,453
Textbooks not included
Completion Time Completion Time
Level I: 6 Months
Level II: 1 Year
Course Format Course Format

Student Discounts

If you’ve already completed your Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer, you’re eligible to enroll in additional courses at a 10% discount. Please email registration at ces.registrar@sdsu.edu or call to apply a program alumni discount for 10% off the registration fee.

If you're an SDSU Alumni lifetime member, you're eligible for a 20% discount on registration for this program. Click here to learn more.

Discounts are not retroactive and cannot be combined. Only one discount can be applied.


The craft beer certificate program also supports the growth of the Cicerone® program by preparing students to pass first- and second-level certification. All courses were developed with input from the instructors and advisory board members – a who's who of local craft-beer industry superstars. The program's networking opportunities create a fast track for graduates to enter the craft beer industry. Courses are held on-site at local breweries and at SDSU.

Craft Beer Certificate Levels

Level I (Essential Certificate) – Successfully complete six courses. Exploring Craft Beer is recommended as the first course in the series and is required for the certificate.

Level II (Expanded Certificate) – Successfully complete nine classes (Level I + three courses).

Note: Students have up to two years from starting, to complete both certificates.

The Craft Beer SDSU Certificate

  • Provides skills necessary to enter the budding craft beer industry
  • Provides an interactive, hands-on learning experience with tastings and more
  • Brings top leaders and industry experts together in the classroom
  • Uncovers an overall appreciation of craft beer outside of brewing
  • Explores craft beer’s past and present history, and current trends
  • Promotes craft beer literacy for consumers and employees
  • Educates future craft beer ambassadors
  • Offers industry connections and networking opportunities within the San Diego craft beer community
  • Provides professional development and increases craft beer knowledge for current hospitality industry employees

Students who complete CB 0001 - Exploring Craft Beer will be eligible to take the Cicerone© Certified Beer Server Exam at a discounted rate of $29. The exam is offered 3 times per year. Please connect with staff for further information.


Beginning in fall 2021, SDSU Global Campus students will need to purchase parking in order to park on campus.

Parking Rates for SDSU Global Campus Students
Weekly: $12
Monthly: $30

Please visit our parking instructions webpage to learn how to purchase your permit.

"OL" indicates Online Course

Courses (complete 6 for Level I, 9 for Level II) Hours Cost Day 21FA 22SP
CB 0001 Exploring Craft Beer 18 $349 Mo 9/14-10/19 1/24-2/28
CB 0002 Beer Styles I
Prerequisite: CB 0001
24 $449 Tu   4/12-5/31
CB 0003 Marketing Craft Beer Online 18 $349    
CB 0004 Brewery Start-Up I 18 $349      
CB 0005 Craft Beer and Food Pairing
Prerequisite: CB 0001
18 $449 W 10/27-12/8  
CB 0006 Hospitality Management 18 $349      
CB 0007 Beer Styles II
Prerequisite: CB 0001 and CB002
21 $439      
CB 0008 Brewery Start-Up II: The Business Plan
Prerequisite: CB 0004
18 $349 Th   1/27-3/03
CB 0009 The Business of Distribution 9 $279 Tu   3/01-3/15
CB 0010 Brewing Basics
Prerequisite: CB 0001
15 $299 Tu   1/25-2/22
CB 0011 Draught Systems
Prerequisite: CB 0001
18 $349 Mo   3/21-4/25
CB 0012 Beer and Wine: Service and Selling 9 $279      
CB 0013 Finance 15 $299 Tu 11/2-11/30  
CB 0018 Draught Systems II
Prerequisite: CB 0001 and CB 011
18 $349      

*Dates and fees subject to change.


Labor Analysis
Brewing Industry — Nationwide

Job Postings
California Current Jobs

Projected Growth
Projected Job Growth
Over 10 years

Salary Range
Total Statewide Economic Impact Of Beer Jobs
$9.3 Billion


Enrolling in the Craft Beer Certificate Program

Enroll in the program at any time, even before registering for a course. It’s free, and offers many benefits:

  • Secure your curriculum (should the requirements change in the future).

  • See upcoming courses when you log into your student account.
  • Track your progress.

Enrolling in a program doesn’t mean you’re registered for courses. You still must register and pay for each course you wish to take.


Student Stories

Student Story TestimonialKevin Lewis
Head Brewer/Operations, Thr3e Punk Ales

"A graduate of the SDSU Business of Craft Beer Program, Kevin has over 12 years' experience in the Bar/Restaurant industry, managing at Viejas Casino, the San Diego Airport working for HMS Host."  


Student Story TestimonialSteve Garcia
Sales & Development, Thr3e Punk Ales

"Born and raised in San Diego and a recent graduate of the SDSU Business of Craft Beer Program. Steve is responsible for Thr3e Punk Ales financial planning, capital financing as well as building the Thr3e Punk Ales brand via social media and other marketing channels."  


Student Story TestimonialMichael Long
Head Owner, Black Gold Brewing Co.

"I was a student in the first graduating class of the (Business of Craft Beer) program. All of the classes were essential to getting a solid foundation and understanding of beer, the business of craft beer, the history of beer and how it should be considered a food, especially in our restaurant. I really appreciated the weekly beer tastings and style identifications as well as the pairing of food with beer."  


Student Story TestimonialRavi Singh
Owner, Aquarian Bev

"It started up when law graduate, Ravi Inder Singh saw a huge potential for craft beers in India and with a great passion, he decided to pursue 'The Business of Craft Beers' all the way from San Diego State University, California."  


Must be at least 21 years of age to register for the craft beer certificate program.

Guidelines for Visitin​g Campus This Fall

We’re excited to host several in-person courses on campus this fall! Before you arrive, please make sure that you’re familiar with the guidelines for visiting campus safely.

  • Per CSU policy, the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all students, faculty, and staff, in order to access campus this fall unless you have an approved medical or religious exemption on file.
  • Students, staff, and faculty who have an approved medical or religious exemption on file will be placed in a mandatory testing program.
  • Face coverings are required for students indoors at all times.
  • Non-vaccinated individuals must wear face coverings at all times while indoors.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer, which will be available throughout campus.
  • Monitor your health daily, and take appropriate action (stay home, call your doctor) if you begin to feel sick.

For more details on our on-campus guidelines, please visit our COVID-19 Updates page as well as the SDSU Flex FAQ page.

For additional information, please email craftbeer.ces@sdsu.edu or call (619) 594-1188.

Core Courses

2021 Summer2021 Fall2022 Winter2022 Spring
2022 Spring
CB 0001 Exploring Craft Beer

Exploring Craft Beer will take you on a journey through the world of craft beer and help you build a solid foundation for your future in the program. This six-week introductory course offers a 30,000-foot view of the industry while also covering 10,000 years of craft beer history. You’ll learn about beer terminology, beer styles, beer and food pairings, the recent craft beer revolution, and much more.

Whether you have been in the industry for decades or are a brand new beer enthusiast, Exploring Craft Beer will help you succeed in every other class in the program, from sensory courses to business classes. It’ll also open the door to an incredible networking experience, in which you’ll be able to connect with local craft beer professionals at all levels of the industry.

Course Date(s)
January 24 - February 28
William Sysak

Elective Courses

2021 Summer2021 Fall2022 Winter2022 Spring
2022 Spring
CB 0002 Beer Styles I

This eight-week course is designed to give students a comprehensive overview of the key characteristics of beer based on style. Students will strengthen their perceptive and descriptive abilities for assessing and communicating the specific attributes of each beer. We will walk through several flights of beer through each class as we discuss the history, brewing process, and key attributes for each style. Our end goal is to become more effective at sharing our passion for craft beer with our customers, friends, family, and colleagues.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer

Course Date(s)
April 12 - May 31
CB 0003 Marketing Craft Beer
Marketing is crucial to the health and survival of any organization. This six-week course involves a comprehensive study of the basic concepts, techniques, and tools for developing a marketing strategy for the business of craft beer. Topics include research, targeting, positioning, branding, traditional media versus social media, public relations, websites, blogging, and email campaigns. We'll also explore building your customer base on-premise, off-premise, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) through both traditional and unique forms of marketing. Students will create their own craft beer marketing plan for their chosen beer or brewery.
Course Date(s)

Laurie Delk
CB 0004 Brewery Start-Up I
Ready to start or work with a new brewery? Brewery Start-Up 1 will give you all the information you need to open, manage or work in a start-up brewery. This six-week course goes through every aspect of a start-up: concept, basic craft definitions, capital raising, trademark and legal issues, location identification and build-out, equipment and ingredient needs, licensing processes, federal and state alcohol laws, and selling and marketing your product. Industry leaders with hands-on knowledge bring real-world experience and guest speakers to touch on every topic. A trip to a local brewery is included.
Course Date(s)

CB 0005 Craft Beer and Food Pairing

Bill Sysak is widely considered one of the foremost experts in the world on craft beer and food pairing. Join him on a six-week journey through the art of pairing beer and food. He will guide you through basic flavor principles and give you the tools needed to pair a broad spectrum of regional cuisines. Sysak's "master pairing" concepts allow even the most experienced palates to enhance their level of expertise, and still provide the novice with building blocks to begin their journey. The cost includes a five-course advanced beer and food pairing dinner at a local brewery.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer

Course Date(s)

William Sysak
CB 0006 Hospitality Management
This six-week course is designed to give students the tools necessary to plan, staff, and manage a craft beer-centric restaurant, bar, or brewery tasting room. It is an inside look into the necessary considerations that an establishment must face to preserve the quality of its products and deliver the best possible guest experience. Some of the hospitality management topics include: building and laying out the space, staffing selection, draft system expertise, beer program management, staff training, beer and food service, and event planning. Off-site classes will give students a firsthand look into the challenges and rewards of sharing this amazing craft with its patrons. Hospitality locations are where lifetime fans of your brand are earned and lost. Learn how to create an amazing experience that generates return business. Formerly titled: Front of the House Management
Course Date(s)

Dave Adams
CB 0007 Beer Styles II
This seven-week course will pick up where Beer Styles I left off and provide a comprehensive overview of the key characteristics of rarer beer styles, as well as explore off flavors within a style. Each class will focus on a group of new and previously introduced beer styles. Some of the topics we will cover include: aroma, appearance, flavor, mouth-feel, impression, off-flavors, and statistics. This course will dive deeper into previously studied beers and provide students with the tools to evaluate quality within a specific style. Upon course completion, students will have a stronger grasp of the myriad of beer style profiles and will possess tools to enable them to continue to grow a well-rounded knowledge of great craft beer.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer and Beer Styles I.
Course Date(s)

Jacob Nunes
2022 Spring
CB 0008 Brewery Start-Up II: The Business Plan
Most beer drinkers have had a moment where they’ve had the next great idea for a beer. Well, it’s not as easy as you think. With 18% growth in the market in 2013 there’s a lot of competition. In 2013, 413 new breweries opened and 44 closed. Unless you’re ready for the competition with a well-positioned product and a plan for success your time and investment could be all foam.

This six-week course is designed to provide students a framework to develop a business model for their craft beer concept and a business plan to bring it to market. Using a proven methodology for business model development, students will work through the concept development process to confirm the market is interested in their product. With a thorough understanding of the marketplace, students will be prepared to develop a business plan based on facts and figures ready for investors.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer and Brewery Start-Up I.
Course Date(s)
January 27 - March 3
2022 Spring
CB 0009 The Business of Distribution
Choosing a wholesaler is arguably one of the most important decisions you can make as a brewery. This class will teach you how to evaluate all wholesalers in a market and once you have selected a wholesaler, how to best manage them. You will also learn how to maximize the three-tier system, what impact using a wholesaler will have on your bottom line and what will be expected of you as a brewery. Time will be spent going over all aspects of supplier to wholesaler relationships and how to work with a wholesaler, and more importantly, how NOT to work with one.

Course Date(s)
March 1 - March 15
Susan Baggs
2022 Spring
CB 0010 Brewing Basics

This course will expand on the introduction to brewing that is covered in Exploring Craft Beer. Students will gain a deeper understanding of brewing terminology as well as how the manipulation of raw ingredients and brewing practices result in the wide variety of beer styles. Each week will focus on a separate stage in the brewing process. The class will brew a beer together during the final.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer

Course Date(s)
January 25 - February 22
2022 Spring
CB 0011 Draught Systems
This six-week course introduces the fundamentals of draught systems, with discussion and demonstration of the different types of systems. Topics include safety, equipment, design and layout, fluid dynamics, best practices, maintenance, terminology, basic troubleshooting, and more. Students have hands-on use of system components and experience an off-site visit to assess the design and installation of an operational system. This course reviews the guidelines set forth by Brewers Association publications, and guest speakers discuss the role of a draught system to their business. Students will gain a greater understanding of the intricacies of draught system technology, and learn how to problem-solve and prevent common issues.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer
Course Date(s)
March 21 - April 25
CB 0012 Beer and Wine: Service and Selling
Students will learn all aspects of selling both beer and wine in a restaurant. They will learn how to promote each to not only increase beverage sales but give the customer a greater experience which will lead to more positive reviews, and greater revenue for the restaurant as a whole. Students will learn how to cross-sell as well as upsell while enhancing the customer experience. They will also be provided with tools to learn beyond the course and further their knowledge for personal and/or professional gain in the craft beer and wine industries, while networking with like-minded individuals.
Course Date(s)

Ben Probe
CB 0013 Finance
Finance is the language of the practical business world, and regardless of the industry, business owners must know how to read and speak this language in order for their business to thrive. This course is designed to teach accounting and finance basics for the non-accountant, and from a craft brewery perspective. Topics include brewery cash-flow management, accounting for inventory, overhead expenses and cost of goods sold, forecasting brewery capital requirements, understanding profit margins, and excise and income-tax basics. Guest speakers from the local craft beer community will round out the course by discussing how financial information has assisted in making key strategic decisions for their brewery.

Course Date(s)

CB 0018 Draught Systems II
This six-session course will go deep into the subjects covered in the Brewers Association Draught Quality Manual, Third Edition. Topics will include safety, equipment installation, system operation analysis, proper use of chemicals, line cleaning and glycol maintenance, cask beer dispensing options, how to dispense specialty beverages, system balance, troubleshooting, and maximizing profits. Several sessions will be held offsite. Several hands-on activities will help students build their skills in draught system operations.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer and Draught Systems I.
If you completed the prerequisites prior to fall 2017, you must call registration at (619) 594-5152 to register for this course.
Course Date(s)

Michael Peacock


2021 Summer2021 Fall2022 Winter2022 Spring
CB 0022 The Chemistry of Beer and Wine
This course will explore the understandings of chemistry and it’s application in the creation of wine and beer. Beer and wine will be broken down to the molecular level to gain an understanding of how fermentation works to create such radically different alcoholic beverages as well as learning about the different flavor notes that are added into the alcoholic drinks for enhancement.


San Diego Workforce Partnership: Creating Workforce Solutions
SDSU Global Campus is a State-approved provider for the Federal Workforce Investment Act for this program.