Beer Brewer Professional Certificate - Roanoke

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 Roanoke and Southwest Virginia, 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 Roanoke-area suppliers, breweries and distributors.

Cohort Launch Update

  • The 2021 cohort is scheduled to launch April 5, 2021 with in-person classes.
  • Conditions may require adjustment to ensure the safety of all participants.

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.

Earning the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate earns 10 CEUs that can be applied toward professional development goals or requirements. The certificate takes one year to complete and requires successfully completing all modules and field experiences. Review cohort schedules for details.

Certificate Requirements

puzzle piece icon11 Modules

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

map icon 4 Field Experiences

Field experiences are scheduled depending on host availability and must be completed to earn the certificate.

Program Modules

The order of modules for a particular cohort’s term may vary, but all modules (except practical experiences when prohibited by pandemic responses) will be covered in all cohorts.

  • Introduction to Brewing (3 modules)

    Module 1: History of Craft Brewing

    This 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

    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

    This 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

    This 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

    This 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

    This 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

    This 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

    This 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

    This 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

    This 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

    This 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

    Field Experiences

    In the four required field experiences, students will participate in brew days and gain a hands-on understanding of working in a craft brewery. Field experiences provide practical, hands-on brewing opportunities in local craft breweries, and may provide useful contacts for networking and career advancement.

Cohort Schedule

  • 2021 Cohort
    Module/Activity Day Date Time
    1: History of Craft Brewing Monday April 5, 2021 6-8 p.m.
    2: Intro to Brewing Terminology Monday April 12 6-8 p.m.
    2: Intro to Brewing Terminology Monday April 19 6-9 p.m.
    3: Intro to Essential Ingredients Monday April 26 6-9 p.m.
    3: Intro to Essential Ingredients Monday May 3 6-9 p.m.
    3: Intro to Essential Ingredients Monday May 10 6-9 p.m.
    3: Intro to Essential Ingredients Monday May 17 6-9 p.m.
    4: Intro to Brewing Tech & Process Monday May 24 6-9 p.m.
    4: Intro to Brewing Tech & Process Monday June 7 6-9 p.m.
    4: Intro to Brewing Tech & Process Monday June 14 6-9 p.m.
    4: Intro to Brewing Tech & Process Monday June 21 6-9 p.m.
    5: Biology of Yeast & Fermentation Monday July 12 6-9 p.m.
    5: Biology of Yeast & Fermentation Monday July 19 6-9 p.m.
    5: Biology of Yeast & Fermentation Monday July 26 6-9 p.m.
    6: Equipment & Maintenance Monday August 2 6-9 p.m.
    6: Equipment & Maintenance Monday August 9 6-8 p.m.
    7: Intro to Safety & Sanitation Monday August 16 6-9 p.m.
    7: Intro to Safety & Sanitation Monday August 23 6-9 p.m.
    8: Quality Assurance Monday August 30 6-9 p.m.
    8: Quality Assurance Monday September 13 6-9 p.m.
    8: Quality Assurance Monday September 20 6-9 p.m.
    8: Quality Assurance Monday September 27 6-9 p.m.
    9: Intro to Beer Styles Monday October 4 6-9 p.m.
    9: Intro to Beer Styles Monday October 18 6-9 p.m.
    9: Intro to Beer Styles Monday October 25 6-9 p.m.
    10: Intro to Sales & Events Monday November 1 6-9 p.m.
    10: Intro to Sales & Events Monday November 8 6-9 p.m.
    10: Intro to Sales & Events Monday November 15 6-9 p.m.
    11: Licensing, Regulation & Distribution Monday December 6 6-9 p.m.
    11: Licensing, Regulation & Distribution Monday December 13 6-9 p.m.