Beer Industry Program
Brewery Operations Major, B.S.
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 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. Brewery Operations provides more general business knowledge and a bit more science.
- Minors in Brewery Operations complement related areas of study such as business, marketing, chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, or biology.
- Certificates in Brewery Operations 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 School of Hospitality, Events and Tourism. The School of HEaT at MSU Denver is one 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 has hosted 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
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
- 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.
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.
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:
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.
The degree programs in the School of Hospitality at MSU Denver are accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).