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Beer Brewer Professional Certificate – Richmond

Kick start your career in the craft brewing industry.

UR logoThe University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies, in collaboration with community partners around the metro-Richmond area, offers a beer brewer professional certificate for those interested in entering or advancing in the growing craft beer industry.

Cohort Launch Updates

The Spring 2020 Richmond cohort will postpone its launch until August 3, 2020.

  • The program will launch entirely online with live video classes.
  • When safe and practical, required hands-on activities will be scheduled.

The Fall 2020 Richmond cohort will launch on October 5, 2020.

  • The program will launch entirely online with live video classes.
  • When safe and practical, required hands-on activities will be scheduled.

The certificate program guides students through the entire craft brewing business, from procuring high quality ingredients and raw materials through the proper handling, processing, packaging and distribution of the final product. The program highlights local, sustainable practices by partnering with Central Virginia suppliers, breweries and distributors.

Students who complete the certificate program will be well prepared to enter the craft brewing industry in a variety of roles, from procurement and supply chain management to beer server to brewmaster. By collaborating with local partners, earning the certificate positions graduates well to start or advance their career in the beer brewing industry.

The program requires 11 modules, two field trips, and a one-month, 20-hour internship. Earning the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate also earns 10 CEUs than can be applied toward professional development goals or requirements. The program takes one year to complete and requires completing all modules plus the internship to be eligible for the certificate. Review class schedules for details.

Certificate Requirements

icon11 Modules

All modules must be completed successfully to be eligible for the professional certificate.

iconInternhip & Field Experience

The 20-hour, month-long internship along with two field experiences will be scheduled depending on host availability.

icon1 Notebook

You’ll build a professional reference notebook that includes recipes, styles of beer, a glossary of terms, and research and essays.

Join Us

Get started on your application.

  • App Deadline: July 1
  • Online* Launch: Aug 3

  • Early Decision: Aug 1
  • App Deadline: Sept 7
  • Online* Launch: Oct 5

* Launching remotely for foreseeable future via live video classes.

Join our contact list.

We’ll send you periodic updates about this and other SPCS noncredit programs.

Module Details

Introduction to Brewing (3 modules)
Module 1: History of Craft Brewing

module 1 iconThis module will serve as an introduction to the program in general and lay a foundation for the program. Students will gain an understanding of the history of beer brewing and the relatively recent expansion of craft brewing in the United States. The historical timeline will begin just after prohibition, continue through post-war global consolidation, and continue up through the craft-brewing boom of the late 1990’s through the early 2000’s.

Module 2: Introduction to Brewing Terminology

module 2 icon

This module will cover the technical terms used in the brewing industry Students will define these terms and identify the equipment and processes they represent. This module is designed to prepare students for the more technical modules in the program. Students will also be introduced to the Richmond brewing culture and learn tips for starting their career in the craft beer industry. Additionally, students will conduct a tasting panel to apply terms learned and also see examples of common industrial brewing equipment.

Module 3: Introduction to Essential Ingredients

module 3 iconThis module will introduce and examine all of the essential ingredients involved in the brewing process, from sourcing and selection to the effects of specific ingredients on the final product. Students will learn to recognize ingredients and their interactions with one another in the process of brewing.

Brew Science & Brewery Processes (6 modules)
Module 4: Introduction to Brewing Technology & the Craft Brewing Process

module 4 iconThis module will provide a general understanding of brewery operations, including the steps in the operations, from raw material, to wort, to final product. Students will learn how to make the most popular styles of beer and learn the difference in how they are produced, as well as a variety of techniques to adjust their flavor profiles. Students will understand basic formulas for several popular styles of beer.

Module 5: Introduction to Safety and Sanitation

module 5 iconThis module will cover one of the most important aspects of making great beer — sanitation. Topics will include overall sanitation, grain dust safety, proper chemical storage and procedures, CO2, personal protective equipment, working in confined spaces, lock out tag systems, and more.

Module 6: Equipment, Maintenance, Packaging and Distribution

module 6 iconThis module will introduce the equipment used in a professional brewery as well as its proper calibration and maintenance. Additionally, students will learn different packaging options and methods and how to set up a distribution system. Students will also learn compliance and legal aspects to packaging beer for sale. 

Module 7: Quality Assurance for Brewers

module 7 iconThis module will cover microbiology for the brewer and introduce beneficial microbial actions as well as how to control the microbiological threats. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of, as well as some methods for, manipulating beer statistics including the Standard Reference Method and how it relates to the color of the brew, the Specific Gravity and its relation to the alcohol content, and the International Bitterness Units.

Module 8: The Biology of Yeast and the Fermentation Process

module 8 iconThis module will provide an in-depth understanding of the different yeast strains, the fermentation processes and how to affect beer styles. Students will review various methods of yeast propagation. The importance of yeast selection and fermentation processes on beer styles will be emphasized.

Module 9: Introduction to Beer Styles

module 9 iconThis module will address and review different popular beer styles. Using the knowledge gained throughout the program, students will focus on the processes for creating the differing beer styles using various ingredients, equipment and techniques. 

Brewing as a Business (2 modules)
Module 10: Introduction to Outside Sales & Marketing

module 10 iconThis module will provide insight to developing a sales and marketing plan for the on and off premise channels of business. Students will gain an understanding of how to build, plan, and execute sales strategies. ABC legalities, best practices, wholesaler management, and public relations will also be discussed.

Module 11: Licensing and Regulation

module 11 iconThis module covers licensing and regulations governing breweries and selling alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Students will have an understanding of which regulatory bodies have jurisdiction under specific circumstances as well as how to operate in compliance with the federal, state and local governments.

Practical Experience

In the internship, students will gain a hands-on understanding of working in a brewery, as well as begin to make contacts in the industry. The internship experience requires 20 hours of work in a relevant organization (selected in consultation with a program supervisor) within a 30-day period. The student’s internship supervisor will complete an evaluation on the student’s work experience. 

Contact Us

Special Programs Building
490 Westhampton Way
Univ. of Richmond, VA 23173
Phone: (804) 289-8133
Fax: (804) 289-8138

Monday-Friday: 8:30am–5pm
Closed for University holidays

Program Fees

Total Cost

$2,499 includes required texts, materials, field trips and internship placements

Payment Options

Payment in full, or arrangement for financing, is due prior to orientation.

Climb logo
If you’re interested in financing your program of study, we work with Climb Credit, a provider that focuses on financing career-building programs to help students get a high return-on-investment from their education.

Learn more about Climb Credit or start your Climb Credit application right away — the application can be completed in as little as 5 minutes and doesn’t affect your credit score. Most applicants receive an instant decision.

We encourage you to start your certificate program application prior to applying for financing. Doing so helps us link your program application to your financing application.


Ready to Apply to the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate Program?

We are now accepting applications for the Spring/Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 cohorts. Apply using buttons above.

Complete our online application for your selected cohort. The process is quick and simple, and will likely take about 15 minutes.

  • We’ll ask about your highest level of education, but don’t worry — no college experience is required for this program.
  • We’ll ask to write a brief statement of intent to help us match your goals to the curriculum’s requirements.

For the Spring/Summer 2020 cohort, application deadline extended to July 1, 2020.

For the Fall 2020 cohort, application deadlines as follows:

  • August 1, 2020: Early decision date, notifications announced within about a week
  • September 7, 2020: Application deadline, notifications announced within about a week

The application will open in a new window and require you to log in with an existing application credential or to create a new login.

No application fee or payment is due at the time of application.

Richmond Area Partners

We’re proud to work with local brewing partners. Our partners help us develop a strong, relevant course of study that meets their needs for skilled labor. Our partners also offer their facilities for hands-on brewing experiences and internships. We are grateful to our partners for the role they play in providing a successful professional learning experience for our students.

Interested in learning about partnership opportunities? Contact Brewing Education specialist Bobby Faithful.