Meet our Instructors
- Dave Adams — Front of the House Management
- Laurie Delk — Marketing Craft Beer
- Debra Druther — Finance
- Justin Evelyn — Front of the House Management
- Chad Heath — The Business of Distribution
- Matt Johnson — Brewery Start-Up I: Readiness
- Candace L. Moon — Brewery Start-Up I: Readiness and Brewery Start-Up II: The Business Plan
- Jake Nunes — Beer Styles II
- Michael Peacock — Draught Systems
- Ben Probe — Beer and Wine: Service and Selling
- “Dr.” Bill Sysak — Exploring Craft Beer and Craft Beer and Food Pairing
- George Thornton — Beer Styles I and Brewing Basics
A San Diego native, Dave Adams is an outspoken champion for his hometown's craft beer community. He has become an industry insider and mentor to a new generation of craft beer fans. As vice president of hospitality at Green Flash Brewing Co., Adams leads educational beer events including tastings and food pairing in the brewery and beyond. He began working in the industry at Stone World Bistro and Gardens in 2006, immediately drawn in by the community spirit of the scene. As beverage coordinator at Churchill's Pub and Grille (2007-2011), Adams was instrumental in planning a diverse beer rotation and led countless beer-pairing dinners. In 2009 he became a Certified Cicerone®. He joined Green Flash in 2011 and embraces the brand's pioneering, beer-first philosophy. A resource for internal and external education, Adams is dedicated to ensuring that the craft beer scene remains approachable and entertaining. He now heads up three tasting rooms in San Diego, a restaurant, a tasting room in Virginia Beach, and a soon-to-be restaurant in Lincoln, NE.
Laurie Delk has over 20 years in the beverage industry, with extensive experience in craft beer, wine, and spirits. Her craft beer expertise began in 2008 as general manager of a beer and wine shop in New Orleans, and the launch of her popular blog 100 beers. 30 days., in which she tasted and reviewed 100 beers of a particular style each month, with all proceeds given to charities, including local food banks, Feeding America, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Most recently, Delk was the national and international sales director for three wineries in Santa Barbara. She is a writer for Pacific and Edible magazines, with weekly columns on a variety of beverage topics, food, and art; and has been featured for her expertise on the covers of DiscoverSD (a Union-Tribune publication), Westcoaster, and Happy Hour magazines.
Debra Druther, CPA has more than eight years of public accounting experience with Lavine, Lofgren, Morris & Engelberg, LLP, one of the largest independent certified public accounting firms in San Diego. Druther recognized that she could combine her love of accounting with her passion for craft beer, and she now enjoys an excellent reputation in the craft brewing industry as a tax and accounting expert. Druther works with multiple California craft breweries, is a member of the Pink Boots Society, San Diego Brewers Guild, California Craft Brewers Association, and has contributed to the local beer publication, West Coaster.
Justin Evelyn is a San Diego native, Certified Cicerone®, and Certified Sommelier, through the Court of Master Sommeliers. His love of great beer developed in Europe, where he discovered beer that expressed its regional identity. He started his career in beverages at Holiday Wine Cellar, and became the original beverage director at Stone World Bistro & Gardens, procuring beer and wine, maintaining a beer cellar and draft system, organizing events, and teaching beer education courses. After leaving Stone Brewing Co. he became the opening general manager of the award-winning brewpub, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing. Currently, he is working for The Bagby Beer Company and proctoring exams for the Cicerone® Certification Program.
Chad Heath has been a leader in the craft beer industry for nearly a decade. After eight years of running Stone Distributing, he is now the VP/GM for a new keg pooling company called Kegstar. Heath brings his passion for craft and hands-on experience to a course on how breweries can get the most out of wholesalers. He also dives into contract law, marketing, how to manage a sales force, financial terms, wholesaler lingo and, above all, how to be successful and have fun in this crazy craft industry.
Matt Johnson is the sales director at Bay City Brewing Company and part owner of Helm's Brewing Company, which he co-founded with friends in 2012. He has worked in startup breweries with experience in all aspects of the business side of craft beer, as a general manager and sales director. Born and raised in San Diego, Matt graduated from SDSU in 2008 with a degree in criminal justice. He continues to support the university, and give back to the craft beer community.
Candace L. Moon, Esq., is an attorney and partner at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP. Since 2009, she has worked with over 350 craft breweries and craft breweries-in-planning nationwide, handling business entity formation, alcoholic beverage law, contract review, trademark law, and other legal needs. Moon is a frequent lecturer for both state and national craft beer conferences as well as an instructor for craft beer certificates at San Diego State University, and UC San Diego. She has spoken and taught continuing legal education (CLE) for various legal associations, has written numerous articles and appeared on a variety of nationally televised broadcasts including CBS This Morning, MSNBC, and Fox Business. Moon's undergraduate degree is from the University of Virginia and her juris doctorate is from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. She can be reached at info@CraftBeerAttorney or visit her website at CraftBeerAttorney.com.
Jake Nunes is a veteran of San Diego's food and beverage industry and has over 20 years of experience with a focus on management and bar leadership. He developed his passion for craft beer in 2003 while working at Karl Strauss and has since proven himself to be a true craft beer enthusiast, having sampled thousands of different beers and visited more than one hundred breweries. In addition to Karl Strauss, he has held positions at a number of breweries and craft beer establishments including: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Stone Brewing, Green Flash Brewing, Tiger! Tiger! Tavern, and he is now the Tasting Room Manager for North Park Beer Co. Nunes was awarded the title of Certified Cicerone® in 2011.
Michael Peacock — Draught Systems
Michael Peacock, Instructor - Draught Systems
Michael Peacock has almost 40 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, working for companies such as Coca-Cola, U.S. Foodservice, Jack's Cocktail and Tavern Supply, NuCO2, and Glacier Design Systems. These experiences led to starting his own beverage services company, TapCraft. His backgruond includes dispensing system design, operations, R & D, distribution, quality assurance, training, marketing, and sales. His Draught Systems course curriculum follows the guidelines set by the Brewers Association, with an emphasis on safety, quality, waste reduction, and best practices.
Ben Probe has worked in the hospitality industry for more than a decade, and has held every possible job in food and beverage. His passion for the industry started back in college when he was pursuing his business degree at SDSU while working as an event manager. He is also a restaurant enthusiast, and his passion for the industry continues to grow. Probe is a certified Sommelier, Cicerone, and Specialist of Spirits; and is currently working on his Specialist of Wine and Sake Sommelier certifications. He is also a server at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in downtown San Diego.
“Dr.” Bill Sysak — Exploring Craft Beer and Craft Beer and Food Pairing
Co-Founder/CEO and Certified Cicerone®, Wild Barrel Brewing Co.
Bill Sysak Welcomes Craft Beer Students
Bill Sysak is known in the inner circle of craft beer-dom as a master of zymurgical knowledge and is a Certified Cicerone®. In 2009, he joined Stone Brewing Company as the beverage supervisor and became the craft beer ambassador, putting on unparalleled beer and food pairing events and created festivals such as Sour Fest and Oakquinox. In 2016, Sysak co-founded Wild Barrel Brewing Co. One of the most knowledgeable craft beer experts in the industry, Sysak has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, the LA Times, Draft magazine, Imbibe, and Food & Wine. He can also be found on the popular podcasts “New Brew Thursday” where he does a weekly “Master Pairings” segment; and “Expert Drinking” where he educates fans on the best of craft beers, fine wines, and spirits.
George Thornton began homebrewing in 2001, and is the founder/owner of The Homebrewer: Resource Center (2012) and Home Brewing Co. (2014) in North Park. He is BJCP and Cicerone® certified, and an active member of several homebrew clubs.