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, the current Craft Beer Capital of 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.

 

The 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 industry. Classes are held on-site at local breweries and at SDSU.

Enrolling in the 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.

 

Certificate Levels
Level I (Essential Certificate) – Successfully complete six courses, beginning with Exploring Craft Beer.
Can be completed in one academic year.

Level II (Expanded Certificate) – Successfully complete nine classes (Level I + three courses).
Can be completed in 1.5 academic years.

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

The 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
  • 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 beer community
  • Provides professional development and increases craft beer knowledge for current hospitality industry employees

Students who complete the first course will be eligible to take the Cicerone© Certified Beer Server Exam at a discounted rate of $29.

Must be at least 21 years of age to register for this program. No more than one absence will be allowed in each course.

For additional information, please email craftbeer.ces@sdsu.edu or call (619) 594-3946.

First take the required introductory course, CB 0001 Exploring Craft Beer, then you'll receive the registration links for subsequent courses via email.

Core Courses

2018 Spring2018 Summer2018 Fall
CB 0001 Exploring Craft Beer

This six-week course is designed to take the students on a journey through the world of craft beer. Each class will tap into a different area of craft beer. Some of the topics we will cover include; the history of beer, the craft beer revolution, beer styles, beer and food pairings and many more. This course will serve as a general overview of craft beer and its role in today’s culture. Exploring Craft Beer will give you the foundation for all future courses in the program. If you don’t already appreciate craft beer, you will when you have completed this course!

Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Bill Sysak

Elective Courses

2018 Spring2018 Summer2018 Fall
2018 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
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)
April 17 - June 5
Register
Instructors
George Thornton
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.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Laurie Delk
2018 Spring
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.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)
April 19 - May 24
Register
2018 Summer
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
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)
May 31 - July 5
Register
Instructors
Bill Sysak
2018 Summer
CB 0006 Front of the House Management

This six-week course is designed to give students the tools necessary in order 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 in order to preserve the quality of its products and deliver the best possible guest experience. Some of the topics include: bar/dining room layout, staffing selection, draft system selection and maintenance, beer program management, staff training, event planning and brewery tour program management. Off-site classes will give students a firsthand look into the challenges and rewards of sharing this amazing craft with its patrons.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)
June 12 - July 24
Register
Instructors
Justin Evelyn
2018 Summer
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
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)
July 19 - August 30
Register
Instructors
Jacob A Nunes
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
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Register
2017 Fall
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)
October 19 - November 2
Register
Instructors
Chad Heath
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
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
George Thornton
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
A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Michael Peacock
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.

Register
2017 Fall
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.

Prerequisite: Exploring Craft Beer A course registration link will be emailed to students who have met the prerequisite.

Course Date(s)
November 7 - December 5
Register
Instructors
Debra Druther

Courses

2018 Spring2018 Summer2018 Fall

Are you interested in teaching or hosting a course?

If you are interested in teaching courses for the Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer or hosting a course at your facility, please contact craftbeer.ces@sdsu.edu or call (619) 594-1138.

Program Sponsors

San Diego City Beat
San Diego City Beat

 

SDSU Research Foundation Program