Courses

Our courses are 100% online offering maximum flexibility to meet the demands of your busy schedule. Each online course is 8 weeks long. You may select individual classes, or enroll in the University of Vermont’s Business of Craft Beer Certificate which requires completion of any of the below 3 courses.

Offered: Spring and Fall

Marketing and Branding Your Brewery Syllabus

As competition within the beer industry continues to grow, branding and marketing play an even greater role in ensuring a brewery’s success. While it is important to make great beer, in today’s landscape you also need to know how to build your brand, establish a compelling “WHY” and effectively market your brand and products. This course will address key industry trends, identify “best-practices” in differentiating your brewery, reveal how to build a solid branding and marketing plan, and demonstrate how to measure success and plan for the future.

Participants will examine

  • Key opportunities and challenges in today’s beer/beverage marketplace
  • The craft beer drinker and his/her motivations
  • The role that marketing, branding and sales play and how they are interconnected
  • Basic requirements of a successful business/marketing plan
  • Positioning strategy in detail and how it influences all brewery decisions
  • Choices a new brewery faces in terms of packaging, distribution and pricing
  • How the principles of positioning and branding have been successfully applied to specific objectives (i.e. naming, rebranding, portfolio selection, taproom/brewery design)
  • How a brewery successfully promotes its brand and products
  • How events, sponsorships and promotions help to build valuable connections to the consumer audience
  • How to decide between self-distribution and a wholesaler partnership and the key criteria within each
  • How to evaluate the performance of marketing and branding activities
  • How to incorporate key findings into a marketing plan

Schedule

Week 1: Trends in The U.S. Beer Market

Week 2: Trends in The Craft Category

Week 3: Basics of Marketing and Branding

Week 4: Brand Positioning Strategy

Week 5: Branding Examples (Part One)

Week 6: Branding Examples (Part Two)

Week 7: Marketing Execution

Week 8: Measurement and Research

 

Registration Deadline: 9/18/2019

Next Start: 9/18/2019

Course Tuition: $1495 ($1196 for Certificate Alumni Discount)

Course Duration: 8 weeks

Learning Format: Online

Offered: Spring and Fall

Brewery Finance and Accounting Syllabus

The Brewery Finance and Accounting course will provide participants with a strong financial foundation and understanding of craft beverage accounting concepts for those seeking management positions at their current brewing operation, or for those seeking to open their own brewery or cidery in the future. This class will introduce the necessary tools to create business plans and pro forma financial statements for those seeking to launch their own operation. It will progress into cost accounting concepts as they apply throughout the production process and conclude with a thorough overview of brewery financial accounting statements and reporting, including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flows. Participants will walk away with the necessary financial knowledge and templates to improve existing operations, or to create a business plan for a new craft beverage entity.

Program Highlights

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify common financial issues and outline possible alternative courses of action.
  • Understand the components and basic structure of the pro forma financial statements.
  • Create a range of financial documents including: sources and uses statement, balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flow.
  • Utilize breakeven range/analysis and basic financial ratios.
  • Identify which combination of sources of financing best fit the brewery’s particular needs.
  • Examine cost accounting and assess direct vs. indirect costs, fixed vs. variable costs, and overhead.
  • Calculate the cost by batch of beer, track variances, and improve the gross margin.
  • Establish divisional accounting for accountability.
  • Improve existing brewery operations, or create a business plan for a new craft beverage entity.

Schedule

Week 1: Top financial Mistakes/ The Importance of Finance in Craft Beer

Week 2: Business Plan

Week 3: Accounting Basics for Craft Breweries

Week 4: Financial Accounting I

Week 5: Financial Accounting II

Week 6: Cost Accounting Models I

Week 7: Cost Accounting Models II

Week 8: Financial Analysis

Fall Registration Deadline: 10/9/2019

Fall Start: 10/9/2019

Course Tuition: $1495 ($1196 for Certificate Alumni Discount)

Course Duration: 8 weeks

Learning Format: Online

Offered: Summer

Digital Marketing and Social Media Promotion in Craft Beer Syllabus

Both the marketing landscape, and that of craft beer have evolved significantly over the past decade.  Breweries and their marketing teams need to consider alternative strategies and tactics in order to reach and connect with prospects and consumers.  What worked a few years ago, may not work now, or even a few months from now.  Digital marketing has become a predominant component of many marketing mixes in recent years.  And, now it is critical that multiple marketing channels and disciplines are leveraged together in order to remain relevant to the always on, always connected customer life-cycle. This online course focuses on introducing the craft beer professional to a breadth of core and emerging digital channels and disciplines. Students will learn the holistic value of creating a clear digital marketing strategy, the tools to support it, and the skills to evaluate and refine it. Understanding the interconnected value of various marketing channels will set you apart from other beer professionals and guide your development as a digital marketing expert within this field.

Participants will

  • Examine key trends within the craft beer/digital marketing landscape
  • Explore the fundamentals of developing a digital marketing strategy as they plan tactics and identify goals.
  • Gain a foundation for planning budgets and tactics from a strategic perspective
  • Recognize SEO as a fundamental building block for online marketing and create an optimization plan.
  • Assess a website’s ability to rank well in terms of SEO
  • Create effective display ads
  • Identify the best places to “place” craft beer ads
  • Examine what paid search is, what it isn’t, and where ads appear
  • Identify typical goals advertisers may have when running paid search campaigns
  • Develop an email and sending strategy
  • Learn about different types of social media and how to maximize the impact of each channel
  • Develop a social media calendar and create a social media budget
  • Identify different types of content, various distribution methods, and evaluate why each one may, or may not, work for their brewery
  • Develop strategies for dealing with negative consumer feedback, and practice using these instances as opportunities for improvement
  • Identify tools and strategies to gather consumer data and monitor online reputation
  • Increase awareness of legalities around advertising and marketing beers and breweries
  • Use analytics to improve their digital marketing strategy

Schedule

Week 1:  Exploring the Digital Marketing Landscape

Week 2:  Research and Content Evaluation

Week 3:  Planning Your Digital Strategy

Week 4:  Developing Your Strategy and Engaging Your Audience

Week 5:  Testing and Optimizing Your Content

Week 6:  Implementing Your Strategy and Managing Your Content

Week 7:  Analyzing and Evaluating Your Digital Strategy

Week 8:  Identifying Opportunities and The Future of Digital Marketing

 

Registration Deadline: TBA

Next Start: Summer 2020

Course Tuition: $1495 ($1196 for Certificate Alumni Discount)

Course Duration: 8 weeks

Learning Format: Online

Offered: Summer

Distribution and Sales in Craft Beer Syllabus

This course focuses on the various strategies and tactics required to sell beer and promote a brewery’s brand. With the growth of taprooms as a focus for many breweries, we will also examine how to maximize revenue opportunities and engagement with customers. Whether you are planning a brewery or a career in beer sales, this course provides essential details to gain success in today’s crowded retail market.

Topics

  • Exploring the full sales landscape including how the three-tier system impacts the sale of beer, understanding the buyer/seller landscape, modeling the sales forecast, and increasing its accuracy
  • Understanding the margin structure for beer pricing
  • Examining a range of sales techniques to handle retailer objections, gain the retailer buy-in, and close the sale.
  • Building a successful relationship with your distributor and how this relationship informs the sales process
  • Maximizing taproom sales
  • The sales process for breweries who elect to self-distribute
  • How VIP and Ekos Brewmaster can assist in the sales process

Registration Deadline: TBA

Next Start: Summer 2020

Course Tuition: $1495 ($1196 for Certificate Alumni Discount)

Course Duration: 8 weeks

Learning Format: Online

Offered: Spring and Fall

Business Operations in Craft Beer Syllabus

In the Business Operations Track, you’ll learn about how the many components of craft brewery operations and supply chain must fit together to build a profitable, efficient, and sustainable business. Students will address key topics such as sourcing and procurement, quality systems, new brewery start-up and capacity planning, forecasting, production planning, inventory, logistics, and environmental sustainability.

UVM has partnered with Ekos Brewmaster, the industry leading software solution for managing the business side of your brewery.  We integrate the Ekos software into each of our learning modules, so that you will benefit from using the software in real world case studies.  Whether you are looking to be hired by a brewery or start your own brewery, knowledge of how to use Ekos, combined with the practical understanding of brewery operations, will help you to run a more efficient and effective business so that you can be more successful.

Participants will examine

  • Making Craft Beer
  • Sourcing, Procurement and Receiving Materials
  • Forecasting and Inventory Management
  • Quality, Maintenance, Utilities and Safety
  • Environmental Sustainability and Enabling Systems
  • Overview of Craft Brewery Planning Processes:
    • Long-term Planning I – Location and Design
    • Long-term Planning II – Capacity
    • Mid-term Planning – Demand Planning
    • Short-term – Operations Planning and Scheduling
  • Operations and Supply Chain Risk Management – Assessment, Mitigation and Contingency Planning
  • Human Resources and Staffing considerations

Schedule

Week 1:  Brewery Operations and Supply Chain Fundamentals

Week 2:  The Brewing Process and Required Resources/Ekos Brewmaster: Setting Up Your Brewery

Week 3:  Long Term Planning – Building a Craft Brewery, Considerations, Location, Sizing, and Capacity

Week 4: Sourcing, Procurement and Receiving Materials

Week 5: Demand Management -Forecasting, Inventory: Receiving and Shipping

Week 6: Mid and Short Term Planning and Scheduling

Week 7: Quality

Week 8: Maintenance, Utilities, Environmental Sustainability

 

Registration Deadline: 9/4/2019

Next Start: 9/4/2019

Course Tuition: $1495 ($1196 for Certificate Alumni Discount)

Course Duration: 8 weeks

Learning Format: Online

2019 Course Schedule

Course Spring 2019
Session
Summer 2019
Session
Fall 2019
Session
Business Operations in Craft Beer 2/20 - 4/16 9/4 - 10/29
Distribution and Sales in Craft Beer 5/15 - 7/9
Marketing and Branding Your Brewery 1/23 - 3/19  9/18 - 11/12
Digital Marketing and Social Media Promotion in Craft Beer  6/5 - 7/30
Brewery Finance and Accounting 3/20 - 5/14 10/9 - 12/10
Capstone Project 5/15 - 6/4

Optional and Free Add On Services

Capstone Project (optional 3-week course with certificate)

Business of Craft Beer Certificate participants complete a culminating 3-week capstone project after the completion of your three certificate courses. This will give you an opportunity to apply your learning to creating a business plan or a product launch plan that will prove useful as you embark on your new career. You will have the opportunity to present your project to our instructor team including craft beer industry leaders for critique and feedback. Select one of two capstone projects

Craft Brewery Business Plan
Create a comprehensive business plan tying together the knowledge and skills gained from the program. Create a presentation providing an overview of your craft brewery business plan to your team of instructors.

Product Launch Challenge
Create a new product launch plan for an existing brewery, or a fictional brewery. In this challenge select a new craft product for a brewery to add to their portfolio with supporting rationale. This challenge aligns with beer styles, branding, legal, digital media and distribution weeks and will require a comprehensive application of each of these components.

Value add – Cicerone® Certification Program

We have collaborated with the Cicerone® Certification Program, a recognized leader in providing training and certifications in preparing you to elevate the beer experience for consumers. When you enroll in our Business of Craft Beer Certificate program, you can choose to enroll in Level 1 or Level 2 at no additional cost.

Level 1 Cicerone® Certified Beer Server ($200 value)
Become knowledgeable about beer service and beer styles through Cicerone’s online BeerSavvy® course, which will prepare you to pass the Certified Beer Server Exam, a recognized industry credential. The online course takes about 5-10 hours and you can complete it anytime at no additional cost when you are enrolled in the Business of Craft Beer program. Offered: Anytime while enrolled in our certificate

Level 2 Certified Cicerone® Exam Prep Course Books ($200 value)
You will have access to any 2 of the 4 Certified Cicerone® exam prep books at no additional cost. Written by Cicerone®, the official course books cover a wide range of material from beer history to brewing techniques and service issues, and will prepare you to pass the industry recognized Cicerone® exam. Each book also includes six months of access to the online forums and an online quiz to test your knowledge in preparation for the exam. Offered: Anytime while enrolled in our certificate

Complimentary Career Coaching (Online)

Do you need help with landing a new job in the Craft Beer industry? Through one-on-one sessions, our Career Coach is available to guide you through a comprehensive career change strategy to help you launch your dream career.

Our Career Coach can also help you identify and prepare for job or apprenticeship opportunities. UVM does not guarantee job or apprenticeship placement. However, when we receive information from breweries and distributors about opportunities for apprenticeships and job openings, we will pass this information along to participants in our program as well as alumni.