As a homebrewer who has created a few or even thousands of tasty beers, it is an inevitable step to consider a career change into the world of brewing...or consider what it would take to startup their own microbrewery or brewpub. Taking the education steps varies in depth and focuses on new topics that would not normally come from the school of hard knocks.

The introduction to homebrewing is likely through an acquaintance or by reading up on websites or books. The industry has made it fairly simple to take those first steps into the craft by showing how it can be done for the first time fairly simply and cheaply. Brewing 101 shows that with a few parts and a little time a perfect home brew is only a few dollars and a few hours away. Moreover, the ingredients are packaged, by some suppliers, into tidy little packages that make it as easy as a single purchase for the ingredients and equipment.

The steps with going professional bring on entirely new concepts. The equipment gains in complexity and definitely in expense. The brewer needs to know about wholesale channels for malts grains and hops (which now are commonly based on future contracts). There are licenses and taxes that are incurred by having a business that produces alcohol. The information needed even extends to how the wastewater from a brewery is treated. In short, there is more to be learned than O.G. and tannins in hops.

The schools that do exist can actually be very comprehensive and can prepare the passionate homebrewer for a career. This page includes an outline of some of the common brewing schools, and also discusses career options for that new degree!

Brewing Schools

Brewing schools have existed for hundreds of years. In the United States that history was disrupted by the prohibition from 1919 to 1933. Today however there are full semester courses, short intensive classes, as well as online courses to choose from.

Siebel Institute

The Siebel Institute, created by John E. Siebel, was the first western brewing institute that was originally named the Zymotechnic Institute located in Chicago. In 1868 it was renamed to the Siebel Institute of Technology. Brewing courses and diplomas were established by the 1900's. On the year that prohibition was passed into law Siebel passed away. During this time of prohibition the institute shifted its focus towards baking technologies. In 1933 the institute continued its brewing program. The educational facilities are now in the Goose Island Brewing Company in Lincoln Park. They have expanded their trainings to a facility in Montreal.

Siebel Institute offers the following Programs

Basic Level Brewing Course No prior experience required, this course offers the nuts and bolts for the beginner
Web-Based Concise Course In Brewing Technology 3 month web-based course that covers harvesting to packaging.
Concise Course in Brewing Technology This is a two week intensive program that covers ingredients, equipment, packaging, and process.
Associate in Brewing Technology 6 week course that gives an associates degree upon completion. This is a prerequisite for the International Diploma in Brewing Technology.
International Diploma in Brewing Technology This course puts into practice the learnings from the associates program and includes training and education in Munich as well as Chicago.

The Associate and International Diplomas are made up of the following modules, which can also be taken individually:

Raw Materials and Wort Production Course Two week course focused on wort production
Beer Production and Quality Control Course Two week course focusing on the processing of the wort to the packaging
Packaging and Process Technology Course Two week course focusing on the process and materials for packaging
Technical Case Studies Course One week course that looks at real world case studies within the brewing industry
Applied Brewing Techniques 3 week course that takes place in the Munich facility and involves putting the preach into practice
European Brewing Study Tour Two week course that travels to breweries in Europe to witness the behind the scenes operations
Business of Brewing Course This new two day course focuses on the business aspects of a brewing such as budgets and marketplace

Additional Courses Include:

Advanced Homebrewing Course One week course taking place in Durango, CA that takes homebrewing to the advanced levels
Master of Beer Styles and Evaluation Course Is made up of both the Sensory Analysis for Flavor Production and Control Course as well as the Master of Beer Styles Course. These courses can be taken individually.
TwinTrack Brewing Microbiology Course Offers a branch into two courses depending on the brewers skillset and environment. The two courses include Essential Brewing Microbiology Track as well as the Advanced Brewing Microbiology Track.
Executive Draught Skills Workshop A two day course focusing on the draught systems and maintenance.
Professional Beer Tasting and Styles Course Two day course that goes through the collection of styles.
Start your Own Brewery Course Three day course focusing on the logistics and operations of putting a brewery into motion and maintaining it.

Siebel Institute of Technology Contact Information
1777 North Clybourn Ave. Suite 2F
Chicago, IL. 60614 U.S.A.
P: 312-255-0705
F: 312-255-1312
E: &

University of California Davis

UC Davis Extensions offers several courses for the professional brewer and holds the only North American programs that are accredited by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London. This organization was formed by two groups coming together in 2001 which include The Institute of Brewing and The Guild of Brewers. Michael Lewis, Ph.D. has led these courses for decades and comes with plenty of literature to support his cause.

UC Davis Extensions undergraduate degree program in fermentation offers two main courses:
Professional Brewers Certificate Program:
This 8 week course covers the first teachings of the Master Brewers Program, and is focused towards the science of brewing. It offers the theory behind the ingredients, equipment, processes, and techniques.

Master Brewers Program:
This program offers the highest level degree from the university, and focuses on training for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling Diploma in Brewing Examination (IBD DBE). All in this course lasts 18 weeks and covers brewing science as well as brewing engineering. This does not require a previous college degree, but does recommend education in mathematics, biological sciences, cell physiology or biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

UC Davis also offers the following courses:

Diploma in Brewing Examination Review Session A series of review sessions focused on passing the IBD
Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing An intensive course designed to cover a lot of material quickly for those looking for more information

UC Davis Contact Information
1333 Research Park Drive
Davis, CA 95618
P: (800) 752-0881
F: (530) 757-8558
E: Email:

American Brewers Guild

The American Brewers Guild is owned and lead by Steve Parkes. They provide two courses, including distance learning and apprenticeship, as well as employment services.

Craft Brewers Apprenticeship (CBA)
This course is offered twice a year and is a 27 week program consisting of in-class or distance learning. The course consists of:

  • 21 weeks focusing on the science and engineering of brewing
  • 1 week studying at a working brewery
  • 5 weeks apprenticeship at a participating brewery which are located from New Jersey to California

Some of the participating breweries include Brooklyn Brewery - New York, NY, Gordon Biersch Brewery - San Francisco, CA, Karl Strauss Brewery - San Diego, CA, along with many others. A degree is not required but education in one or more of the following areas is suggested: Mathematics, biological sciences, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering (IBS&E)
This course covers the same first 22 weeks of the Craft Brewers Apprenticeship (CBA) program.

American Brewers Guild Contact Information
1001 Maple Street
Salisbury, VT 05769
P: (800) 636-1331
F: (802) 352-4641

Brewing Salaries

The salary for a Brewmaster can range from $30,000 to $70,000 per range plus benefits, not to mention doing what you love. The range largely comes from the size of the brewery you are working for. The macro breweries will pay more and at the same time expect more in formal education.

Today's brewers need to be efficient in both computer applications as well as mechanical skills. The range of tasks around the day to day operations ranges from working with people as in sales to cleaning out spent wort. There is a routine and once a great recipe is found it will likely be brewed time and time again.

Doemens Acadamy in Munich