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Business of Craft Beer Certificate Sets Sights on Industry Growth

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For the first time since 1873, there are more than 4,000 breweries in the United States, making the craft brewery market more competitive than ever. To succeed in the industry, the common denominator is a high level of craft beer knowledge and business acumen.

UVM is offering a new online Business of Craft Beer Professional Certificate Program in February with three career tracks: digital marketing, sales, and business operations. These areas reflect growing job trends in the craft beer industry. Of all job openings in the industry between August 2013 and July 2014, 87 percent required skills in sales, marketing, or business operations; only three percent were in brewing, according to data from Burning Glass Labor Insight TM.

“People in the craft beer industry are more innovative and business savvy than ever,” says Gregory Dunkling, program director of the UVM Business of Beer Program. “One of the things our program will do is help professionals outside the industry gain a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s competitive craft beer market. We can help those people get their foot in the door, and also help those already in the industry advance their career to the next level.”

An Option for Apprenticeships and Career Coaching

Apprenticeships and career coaching make UVM’s program unique. This is the only program in the country that incorporates industry apprenticeships to gain on-the-job experience. UVM has entered into agreements with breweries and distributors to set up apprenticeship opportunities for participants. Apprenticeship partners include von Trapp Brewing, Harpoon Brewery, Whetstone Station Brewery, Sheehan Distributors, Farrell Distributing, the Massachusetts Beverage Alliance, and Craft Brew Alliance.

The career coaching option offers a job-search strategy that translates participants’ newly acquired skills into a full-time job or apprenticeship. While securing an apprenticeship is the responsibility of each participant and is not guaranteed, the career coaching option will provide substantial support along the way.

UVM’s Business of Craft Beer Certificate Program was developed in collaboration with the Vermont Brewers Association. The program is for those looking to start a brewery, those who work in sales, marketing, or operations and who want to move into the craft beer industry, as well as craft beer industry professionals seeking career advancement.

Most students will complete Fundamentals of Craft Beer in a 12-week online course, followed by a selected career track: business operations, digital marketing, or sales in craft beer.

The program offers three entry dates per year in February, May, and September. For more information, visit

*Photo courtesy of von Trapp Brewing.

Business of Beer