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Beer Brewer Professional Certificate – Northern Virginia

Kick start your career in the craft brewing industry.

VT logoThe University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies and the Virginia Tech Center for Organizational & Technological Advancement, in collaboration with community partners in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia, offers a beer brewer professional certificate for those interested in entering or advancing in the growing craft beer industry.

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 Northern Virginia-area suppliers, breweries and distributors.

Classes will be held at the Loudoun County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension in Leesburg:

750 Miller Drive, SE
Suite F-3
Leesburg, VA 20175
Driving directions

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.

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.

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Get started on your application.

Early Decision: June 1
App Deadline: July 1

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We’ll send you periodic updates about brewing education and other SPCS professional education 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: 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 6: 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 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 Sales & Events

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 & 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. 

Tentative Class Schedule
Module 1: History of Craft Brewing

Instructor: Lee Graves, Beer Guy

  • Monday, August 3, 2020, 6-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 4, 6-8 p.m.
Module 2: Introduction to Brewing Terminology

Instructor: TBD

  • Monday, August 10, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, August 24, 6-9 p.m.
Module 3: Introduction to Essential Ingredients

Instructors: Vary by class session (listed below)

  • Monday, August 31, 6-9 p.m. (Jasper Akerboom - Yeast)
  • Monday, September 14, 6-9 p.m. (TBD)
  • Monday, September 21, 6-9 p.m. (TBD)
  • Monday, September 28, 6-9 p.m. (TBD)
Module 4: introduction to Brewing Technology & Craft Brewing Process

Instructor: Charles Kling, Old Bust Head Brewing

  • Saturday, October 3, 3 p.m.: Old Bust Head Tour
  • Monday, October 5, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, October 12, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, October 19, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, October 26, 6-9 p.m.
Module 5: Equipment & Maintenance

Instructor: TBD

  • Monday, November 2, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, November 9, 6-9 p.m.
Module 6: Introduction to Safety & Sanitation

Instructor: Craig Collins, OSHA

  • Monday, November 16, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, November 30, 6-9 p.m.
Module 7: Biology of Yeast & the Fermentation Process

Instructors: Jasper Akerboom, Jasper Yeast

  • Monday, December 7, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, December 14, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, January 4, 2021, 6-9 p.m.
Module 8: Quality Assurance for Brewers

Instructors: TBD

  • Monday, January 11, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, January 25, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, February 1, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, February 8, 6-9 p.m.
Module 9: Introduction to Beer Styles

Instructor: TBD 

  • Monday, February 22, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, March 1, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, March 8, 6-9 p.m.
Module 10: Introduction to Sales & Events

Instructor: Ben Petty, Hardywood & Steven Tuezenu Duvall

  • Monday, March 15, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, March 22, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, March 29, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, April 5, 6-9 p.m.
Module 11: Licensing, Regulation & Distribution

Instructor: Brandon Carter, Lewis Brisbois

  • Monday, April 12, 6-9 p.m.
  • Monday, April 19, 6-9 p.m.
Special Dates

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

$3,250 includes required texts, materials, field trips and internship placements.

Payment Options

Payment in full, deposit, or arrangement for financing is due on the following timeline:

  • Early decision: Payment due June 15, 2020
  • Regular decision: Payment due July 15, 2020

Climb logo
If you are 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 does not affect your credit score. Most applicants receive an instant decision.

We encourage you to start your application to the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate prior to applying for financing. Doing so helps us link your program application to your financing application.

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


Ready to Apply to the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate Program?

We are now accepting applications for the inaugural cohort starting in August 2020.

Complete our online application for the Northern Virginia-area cohort. The process takes 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.

The application will open in a new window and require you to create a new login.

Admissions Decisions

For the Summer 2020 cohort, we’ll accept students into the program in two rounds.

  • June 1, 2020: Early decision application deadline, notifications announced within about a week
  • July 1, 2020: Application deadline, notifications announced within about a week