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Business Operations in Craft Beer

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


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



Patrick Greer, M.B.A.

Director of Supply Chain Services, First Key Consulting
Patrick is a strong commercial strategist with a deep level of supply chain and procurement expertise in the brewing industry. With more than 30 years of experience, he has completed supply chain projects and assignments in 26 countries and is a CSCMP Certified “Supply Chain Pro”. With hands-on experience at every echelon of the organization, Pat has had roles ranging from customer service clerk to director of international logistics at Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Oralee Corbett, B.Sc.

Quality Services
With over ten years of quality systems experience in the food and beverage industry and a degree in Food Science, Oralee has a wealth of knowledge on brewing quality assurance, microbiology, food safety and team leadership. Her career in the brewing industry has included hand’s on experience at many levels, beginning as a lab technician and eventually managing quality assurance laboratories in both craft and large-scale breweries with success. Oralee’s key areas of expertise at First Key include: quality system improvements; quality audits and standards and procedures for Quality Management Systems (QMS); laboratory management; microbiology; HACCP and GMP.

Rod Waite, P.Eng.

Engineering Services Leader, First Key Consulting
Rod leads our Engineering Services group and has over 17 years of experience as an engineering project manager and process design engineer. He has led multi-million dollar capital projects for breweries across North America and has worked with both small and large scale breweries and distilleries. He has worked on engineering projects that include brewing, fermenting/maturation, ventilation, utilities, wastewater treatment, malt/cereals pneumatic transfer, beer de-alcoholization and flavoured alcoholic beverages. Rod's areas of expertise include brewing process and utilities design engineering, project management, procurement, installation, commissioning and start-up for craft to large scale brewery projects. Rod’s passion for brewing has also led him to take on home-brewing of beer and kombucha.

Nick Posloski, M.Sc.(Brew.), Dipl. Brew.

Senior Advisor, Technical Services, First Key Consulting
Nick’s career has led to significant experience in brewing, operations management, product development and quality services with both large and small brewers, as well as overseeing liquid production of sodas and spirits. He has participated as guest speaker in a special panel on modern dry hopping techniques, and has won multiple awards for a variety of beer styles.  Having completed a Brewmaster Diploma (VLB), and Master of Science (Brewing and Distilling) at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, Nick specializes in refining and scaling recipes, optimizing operations, assisting with business planning, developing and implementing quality and operations management systems, and providing technical troubleshooting services within the industry.  He currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia.

Steve Rockhold, B.A.

Procurement, Supply Chain & Logistics, First Key Consulting
Steve has 20+ years of experience in the brewing industry specializing in procurement and supply chain management. He has held  various management positions from logistics and strategic sourcing of brewing and  packaging materials to more recently the Procurement Director at MillerCoors.  At MillerCoors, Steve led a 47-member team sourcing all ingredients for the brewing  process. Steve also has extensive experience in supply management for sourcing local ingredients to support specific brands that use marketing tactics requiring locally grown ingredients and manufacturing for craft brands. With First Key, Steve provides strategic procurement, logistics and operations consulting with an eye towards increasing efficiencies, cost reduction, process improvement and strategic planning.


Industry Guest Speakers

Rich Ackerman, Harpoon Brewing (MA)

Adam Beauchamp, Creature Comforts Brewing (GA)

Stan Brown, Barnum Mechanical, Inc (CA)

Steve Gagner, Founder/President, 14th Star Brewery (VT)

Daniel Griffin, Brewmaster/Founding Partner, Outerbelt Brewing (OH)

Alec Johnson, Ekos Brewmaster (NC)

Matt McComish, Highland Brewing (NC)

J. Michael Mooney, Director of Operations, Firestone Walker (CA)

Matt Quinlan, Director of Operations, Long Trail Brewing Company/ Otter Creek Brewing Company (VT)

on the Blog

What is Craft Beer?

“Hey, what is craft beer anyway? What’s the definition?” It’s a really good question. The answer is subjective, and I certainly have my own opinions.

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