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Beer pairs well with more than just pretzels, tailgates and running clubs. You’ll learn the science, the process, the business and the service of beer while you earn a bachelor’s degree in Brewery Operations from MSU Denver, one of only a few four-year degrees of its kind in the world.

Covering the breadth and depth of Brewery Operations, from the brewing process, beer analysis and quality control to packaging, sales and distribution, MSU Denver provides a university education to new or experienced professionals in beer industry operations. Begin or take the next step in your career by learning the art and science of starting, operating and managing a brewery or any number of other beer-related careers. 

Partnering with Tivoli Brewing Company, located directly on campus, the Brewery Operations bachelor’s degree program offers a variety of opportunities for Brewery Operations majors to train in world-class facilities and work with professionals in the beer industry, all in partnership with the largest on-campus brewery in North America.

MSU Denver students brew an award-winner for Colorado resort: Watch the video


Program Options


MSU Denver undergraduate students can choose from the following beer industry degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Science degrees in Brewery Operations or Craft Brewing and Pub Operations. Craft Brewing and Pub Operations focuses on not only the art and science of brewing at a small production brewery, but also the knowledge needed to effectively manage a pub and tasting room as part of a brewing business.

  • Minors in Brewing Management or Brewing Science complement related areas of study such as business, marketing, chemistry, biochemistry or
    biology.

  • Certificates in Brewing Management and Brewing Science can augment or help you gain entry into a beer-industry career.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver


Get the most from MSU Denver’s partnerships with Colorado's thriving beer industry including breweries, restaurants and distributors in the Front Range and Rocky Mountain region. As a Brewery Operations major at MSU Denver, you’ll gain practical, hands-on experience through internships, research and more.

  • Brewery Operations majors work and intern as certified cicerones, brewers and servers in the Tivoli Brewing Company brewery and restaurant on campus.
  • The new Tom’s Urban Kitchen + Bar at Denver International Airport, by Midfield Concession Enterprises, will double as a training facility where you can gain hands-on experience with commercial brewing. Each year, Brewery Operations majors will compete to craft and name an exclusive IPA to be featured at the restaurant and brewpub.
  • Rising Sun Distillery and Strange Craft Brewing Company, both within walking distance from the Auraria campus, provide additional experiential learning opportunities in the Beer and Spirits foundation course in which you will brew and distill on commercial systems while formulating recipes with master producers.
  • Numerous opportunities exist with the 360+ breweries around the state for you in the Beer Operations Industry program to intern and work while pursuing your bachelor’s degree.

Get help with planning, scheduling and more from academic advisors in MSU Denver’s College of Professional Studies and the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events. HTE at MSU Denver is of the most reputable and innovative hospitality programs in the country. 

Mingle with brewers and other beer industry professionals. The Beer Industry Program at MSU Denver hosts a variety of beer-themed special events, from brewing seminars to beer tastings to visiting guest speakers for opportunities to network with other members of the beer community. MSU Denver is an allied trade partner of the Colorado Brewer’s Guild and hosts their annual Colorado Craft Brewer’s Summit on campus each fall. This industry trade show offers an amazing opportunity for students to connect with the industry and attend professional seminars.

Own the value of your bachelor’s degree. MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Science in Brewery Operations undergraduate degree program leads the country in beer education with guidance from its Industry Leadership Council. Beer industry professionals contribute knowledge and perspective in the growing and changing needs of the beer industry to ensure Brewery Operations majors are learning the latest skills and techniques that will help them work in the beer industry. 

Take advantage of unique educational opportunities. MSU Denver’s Beer Industry Operations program collaborates with other professionals and organizations to advance the beer industry. Not only is MSU Denver’s Beer Industry Operations program a member of the Colorado Brewers Guild, but it is also a pilot school for the Brewers Association (BA) and its Education Membership program and a test center for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. MSU Denver Brewery Operations majors automatically receive a BA membership while they earn their bachelor’s degree, and Beer Industry Operations Program Director Scott Kerkmans is leading the BA’s informal working group to create a Society of Beer Educators for higher learning related to beer around the country.


Career Opportunities for Our Graduates


four images: Brewpub management, brewing production

The beer industry in Colorado has created more than 24,000 jobs and contributes more than $10.3 billion to the economy, according to a recent report by the Beer Institute. With a bachelor’s degree in Brewery Operations, you increase your marketability to potential employers in beer-related industries such as these:

  • Alcohol beverage retail management
  • Beer sales and distribution
  • Brew deck control
  • Brewery operation and management
  • Brewpub management
  • Business operations
  • Craft brewing production
  • Government affairs
  • Nonprofit partnerships
  • Macro-breweries
  • Raw material supply
  • Sensory programs
  • Quality control and analysis labs

Brewery Operations majors and the rest of the Beer Industry Operations Program boast a 100 percent job placement rate. Alumni manage and operate breweries and quality labs across the country such as Berthoud Brewing, Sleeping Giant Brewery and Tivoli Brewing.


Accolades


MSU Denver’s Beer Industry Operations degree program, including the Brewery Operations bachelor’s degree, earned the inaugural Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) Master Brewers Recognition distinction. One of only seven academic institutions in the nation to receive this honor, the Beer Industry Operations degree program at MSU Denver has met or exceeded MBAA's educational guidelines and learning outcomes. 


Faculty


Scott Kerkmans_Brewery OperationsScott Kerkmans

Faculty instructor and director of the brewing program, Scott Kerkmans is a leading professional educator and expert voice in the craft beer industry. One of the first five Certified Cicerones in the world, Kerkmans is also a Nationally Certified Beer Judge and judges at the Great American Beer Festival each year. Producing beer education courses through his company, Beer Conscious Training, he also founded Colorado Craft Beer Week, co-founded Draft Magazine and designed Starwood Hotels’ online training and education program as their Chief Beer Officer. Kerkmans originally entered the beer world as a brewer and filterer, most recently with Alaskan Brewing Company.
 

Ethan Tsai_Brewery OperationsEthan Tsai

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ethan Tsai teaches the Brewing Quality and Analysis class for Brewing Operations majors. Specializing in materials chemistry and soft matter physical chemistry, Tsai was previously a master chemist for two startup companies, and he worked with 3M developing next-generation adhesive technologies. Tsai is an avid homebrewer and works closely with Tivoli Brewing Company, leading their lab testing to ensure quality for all of their commercial beers. In his teaching of Brewery Operations, students regularly work with nano brew systems to study everything from wort production to chemical analysis of a final product.
 

Read more about the Brewery Operations faculty.


Sample Classes


HLC Sensory Analysis Lab

A cross-campus collaboration in science, business, design and hospitality, the Brewery Operations bachelor’s degree program at MSU Denver features class options in biology, chemistry, hospitality, industrial design, marketing and management. These are some of the classes you may take as a Brewery Operations major:

Alcohol Beverage Law
Beverage Promotion
Beer Styles and Service
Brewery Mechanics
General Microbiology
Purchasing and Supply Chain Management
Sensory Quality Analysis of Beer

Facilities and Resources


MSU Denver has developed six world-class beer laboratories exclusively for the Beer Industry Operations program, with financial support from brewing industry partners.

  • The Packaging Lab features a Micro-ACS canning machine and filtering and kegging equipment to teach the value and skill of quality packaging.
  • The Brewing Production Lab features four Ruby Street 15-gallon Fusion Systems and teaches the hot side of professional brewing, from mashing in barley to extracting resins from hops.
  • The Fermentation Lab features 20 7-gallon conical fermenters and testing equipment for the cold side of the brewing process to teach the microbiological process of using yeast to convert simple sugars in the wort to alcohol.
  • The Draft Training Center doubles as a beer tasting area and features extensive drawing systems, proper glassware and cask service for the final step of beer service.
  • The Quality Control and Analysis Lab is a TTB-Certified Lab for student education and commercial testing, where students and brewers can determine alcohol content, dissolved oxygen and CO2 levels and possible contaminants in beer.
  • The Sensory Analysis Lab in the state-of-the-art Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center features modern facilities and natural light sources for sustainable, interactive classes in beer, wine and spirits.

Operating a $7-million facility on campus for brewing, packaging and distribution, Tivoli Brewing Company has the potential to be one of the highest-producing craft breweries in Colorado, with the ability to produce 28,000 barrels of beer per year on their 30-barrel Sprinkman System. With on-site training facilities including high-quality large-scale and pilot systems, a bottling line and the Tivoli Tap House, Tivoli Brewing Company is the largest full-production brewery in the country on a college campus.

Tom’s Urban Kitchen + Bar, a restaurant and brewpub, is a training facility at Denver International Airport, providing Brewery Operations majors with experiential learning opportunities.

In the One World One Water (OWOW) Center, Brewing Operations majors learn about environmental concerns, municipal water supply, water law, waste water and water chemistry in partnership with MSU Denver’s OWOW program, the only in-depth water center that coexists with a brewing program in the country.


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