Rob McFerren: Craft Brewing Schools

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As the Craft Brewing industry is growing at an amazing rate, how does someone become a Craft Brewer? With more breweries opening every month, the need for trained brewers is also growing. There are schools for brewing science but also quite a few professional brewers have started out as home brewers. Many brewers have gotten their “foot in the door” at a local brewery with entry-level jobs (sweeping floors and grunt work) and then work their way up the ladder to become a professional brewer. There are many ways to getting involved in brewing Craft Beer and possibly having a career in the industry.

The educational path is getting easier as more colleges and universities have added brewing science programs to their curriculum. One of the more famous schools for instituting a brewing program is UC Davis which has had a brewing science program for quite a few years. One of our assistant brewers has just started taking brewing courses at UC Davis to expand her brewing knowledge as she already has a degree in chemistry. There are other specific trade schools which specialize in teaching prospective brewers such as the Siebel Institute based in Chicago. UC Davis and the Siebel Institute offer many different brewing programs from short courses to four-year degrees. Many more schools are adding brewing programs across the country.

Home brewing is another way that many professional brewers have gotten their start in the industry. There are an amazing amount of great home brewers producing quality beers in their garages and basements. One way to get involved is to join a home brewing club in your local area. If your dream is to become a professional brewer or to just make great beers at home, there are many paths you can take to become a brewer! Cheers!

Rob McFerren is the owner of Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.

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