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Craft breweries and brewpubs have become a significant component of Colorado’s culture and economy with nearly a brewery a week opening for the past two years. Despite the industry’s high rate of growth, our brewing industry partners have reported a need for university educated employees trained in brewing science. There is a need for scientists capable of understanding both the artistic and scientific aspects of brewing. Those students who are Majoring in a Biology, BioChemistry, Chemistry or related major qualify for adding a minor in Brewing Science.

By partnering with the Tivoli Brewing Company, located on the Auraria Campus in the Tivoli Student Union, MSU Denver’s program provides students with access to this 28,000 (annual) barrel capacity brewing, bottling, and distribution center. By integrating training facilities within the commercial brewery and tap house, students hone critical industry skills on high quality large scale and pilot systems.

Through this partnership with Tivoli Brewing Company and a host of other Colorado craft brewing and related industry partners, students receive high quality instruction and experiential learning opportunities from faculty and industry partners that are unmatched by other programs across the country.

Program Options

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

Brewery Operations Major, B.S.

Craft Brewing & Pub Operations Major, B.S.

Brewery Operations Certificate

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 minor at MSU Denver, you’ll gain practical, hands-on experience through internships, research and more.

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.

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 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


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. 


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.

Helene Ver Eecke_CraftBrewing PubOperationsHelene Ver Eecke

An avid home-brewer, assistant professor Helene Ver Eecke is also the faculty coordinator of General Microbiology and a founding member and intercollege-liaison for MSU Denver’s Beer Industry Operations program. Formerly a senior microbiologist for an industrial fermentation company, Ver Eecke co-developed the course curriculum for fermentation science, and her work as a specialist in extreme microbiology has been featured in NASA Magazine, Science Daily and PNAs. She currently focuses on research in brewing, bioremediation and extremophiles.

Sample Classes

A grade of “C” or higher is required for required courses in this program to count toward the Minor. Students should note that programs throughout the University may have different minimum passing grade requirements.

Required courses for this minor:

Brewery Mechanics
Beers of the World
Beer Styles & Service

Science Option:

Sensory Quality Analysis of Beer
Brewing Fermentation
Brewing Science
Brewing Quality Analysis

Operations Option (choose four):

Beer & Food
Brewery Operations
Beer & Spirits
Alcohol Beverage Law
Sensory Quality Analysis of Beer
Beverage Promotion

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.

Tivoli Brewing Company operates a $7-million campus facility for brewing, bottling and distributing beer. With the capacity to produce 28,000 barrels of beer per year, the facility has the potential to be one of the highest-producing craft breweries in the state. And as the first full production brewery in the country on a college campus, Tivoli’s on-site training facilities include high-quality large-scale and pilot systems, (copy this from brew ops page) and the Tivoli Tap House.

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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