At Rek’-Lis Brewing Company, Julianne Walshaw has served many roles, including server, bartender, and assistant manager. She’s now the New Hampshire brewery’s sales and distribution manager.
While she is passionate about craft beer, the Bethlehem, N.H., resident knew she wanted to learn more about the business side of brewing.
“I just started Googling craft beer programs and found UVM’s program,” she says. “I wasn’t looking for a degree, and I wanted something where I could work and take a class.”
Navigating Craft Beer Distribution, Planning, and Inventory
Walshaw enrolled in the UVM Business Operations in Craft Beer course. The eight-week, online course highlights sourcing and procurement, quality systems, new brewery start-up and capacity planning, forecasting, production planning, inventory, logistics, and environmental sustainability.
“I learned an understanding of the three-tiered system, which includes the brewery, the distributor, and the retailer,” she says. “The class also helped show me ways to figure out who values your brand.”
Walshaw, who graduated from Northern Vermont University in 2014 with a degree in journalism, says the UVM course’s assignments allowed her to make distribution routes and talk to other distributors in New Hampshire and meet people in the industry.
“It really is a relationship business,” she says. “And the course teaches very practical information.”
UVM has partnered with Ekos Brewmaster, an industry-leading software solution for managing the business side of breweries. UVM integrates the Ekos software into each of its online learning modules so students will benefit from using the software in real-world case studies.
Students in the UVM Business Operations in Craft Beer course learn about:
- Making craft beer
- Sourcing, procurement, and receiving materials
- Forecasting and inventory management
- Quality, maintenance, utilities, and safety
- Environmental sustainability and enabling systems
- Operations planning
- Operations and supply chain risk management
- Human resources and staffing considerations
Walshaw, who is also training to become a brewer, says the UVM course gave her the tools she needed to do her job well.
“To anyone who is in my situation, I would recommend this course. I went and got a four-year degree and realized I wasn’t really into what I studied,” Walshaw says. “All I did was take one beer course. But I know I have options because that one class set me up for success in my career. One course taught me all I need to know.”