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Essentials of Brewery Operations 2024

Time limit: 120 days

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Full course description

Course Introduction

The IUPUI Essentials of Brewery Operations Certificate offers participants an exciting, hands-on way to experience and understand beer and brewing operations. The 7-class series prepares beer enthusiasts, brewers, brewery owners, entrepreneurs, and more, for employment and business opportunities in the rapidly growing craft brewing industry. This course will benefit people who want to work in the industry, people who already work in the industry and want to increase their knowledge, brewery owners who want to learn more about production and operations, and anyone that just wants to learn more about craft brewing. Topics include World, US and Craft Beer Styles, Off-Flavors, Beer Evaluation, Ingredients, Brewing Equipment, Processes and Operations, Packaging, Quality Control, Safety, Tap House Operations, and More.

WHY BEER?:  In the United States, craft beer production has grown from 11 million barrels in 2011 to an nearly 25 million in 2020, and becoming a $26 Billion industry! There are currently over 8,700 craft breweries in the US and over 138,000 workers are employed in the US craft beer industry, as well as, over 500,000 when counting related and in-direct jobs. In Indiana, there are now nearly 200 breweries and more are coming. Approximately 10,000 full-time employees currently work in this industry in Indiana, which has an economic impact of nearly $2 Billion! Thousands of new brewery workers are needed to meet and sustain this US industry, and they require some level of specialized training and education.

Participants completing this program will be able to step into any aspect of brewing operations with a good base of knowledge, and thus will require less additional training. Participants will also be ready to take the Certified Cicerone or BJCP Tasting exams. This program will also be beneficial to those desiring to start their own brewery. Participants completing this program will receive a Certificate of Completion in the Essentials of Brewery Operations from Indiana University.

Spring 2024:
7 Full Days, Wednesdays (Jan 17, Jan 31, Feb 14, Feb 28, Mar 13, Mar 27, Apr 10)

Approximately 40 classroom hours & 25+ hours in local breweries, especially course supporter, Sun King Brewery. Participants receive an IUPUI Certificate, and should be prepared to take the BJCP Tasting Exam and/or the Certified Cicerone Exam upon completion.

This is a very comprehensive course covering all major aspects of beer and brewery operations, as well as beer styles, technical evaluation, brewing operations, ingredients, equipment, and much more. Class days are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm plus optional (but recommended) After-Class Sessions. Classes are spread out, approx 2 weeks apart. Must be at least 21 years old. No prerequisites, brewing or other experience is required (but would be beneficial). See the day-by-day itinerary below.

CLASS 1: World Beer Styles and Sensory Analysis
This class serves as an introduction to all the major non-US beer styles, including sampling, and provides a history of world beer and brewing. Off-flavors and flavors will also be discussed and/or demonstrated, and BJCP-type beer evaluation and judging will be covered and practiced.

CLASS 2: US Beer & Craft Beer Styles, Trends and History
This class serves as an introduction to United States beer styles, including sampling, and provides a history of US brewing and the US craft beer market. Additional off-flavors and flavors will also be discussed and/or demonstrated, along with more blind judgings (these will continue in all classes).

CLASS 3: Beer Ingredients and Their Impact on Brewing
This class provides an in-depth understanding of brewing ingredients and their impact on the brewing process and the final product. This includes a discussion and demos on malts and brewing water chemistry and adjustments. There are also multiple tasting demonstrations on this day.

CLASS 4: Brewhouse Equipment and Operations
This class will provide an understanding of various types of brewhouse equipment and operational procedures. It will also address critical safety and sanitation issues required in the brewhouse. The second half of the day will be held at Sun King Brewery to observe the brewing processes first hand, and see and learn more about brewing equipment, etc. 
- NOTE: Safety equipment is required for all brewery visits (steel toe shoes, eye and ear protection).

CLASS 5: Fermentation and Cellaring Operations
This class will explore the various types of fermentation and cellaring equipment, and processes, as well as yeast harvesting, cell counts, and all related quality tests and procedures. An additional focus will continue on safety, maintenance and sanitation issues with equipment. The second half of the day will be held at Sun King Brewery. 
- NOTE: Safety equipment is required for all brewery visits (steel toe shoes, eye and ear protection).

CLASS 6: Packaging and Quality Control
This class addresses the various types of beer packaging (cans, bottles, kegs, growlers), along with the related equipment, procedures, testing, etc. A special focus will be placed on lab tests and quality control measures, as well as minimizing dissolved oxygen, cleaning, sanitation, and safety considerations. The second half of the day will be held at Sun King Brewery. 
- NOTE: Safety equipment is required for all brewery visits (steel toe shoes, eye and ear protection).

CLASS 7: Brewery, Tap House & Bar Operations, Draft Systems, and Brewery Admin 
This class focuses on the tap house and draft system equipment and considerations, some key Cicerone topics, as well as various other brewery admin areas, including HR, marketing, tap room legal issues, etc. The second half of the day will be held at Sun King Brewery and/or another Indy area brewery. 
- NOTE: Safety equipment is required for all brewery visits (steel toe shoes, eye and ear protection).

Breweries Visited

During this course, especially with the After-Class Sessions, we have visited many breweries in the past, and had direct discussions and technical tours with brewers, owners, and managers.  They often share their insights on starting and running a brewery, their biggest challenges, things they have learned, things they would do differently, and much more.  This is a great knowledge resource for the students of this course.  Breweries we have visited in the past, and that have supported this course, include:

- Sun King Brewery
- St. Joseph Brewery
- Chilly Water Brewery
- Centerpoint Brewery
- Daredevil Brewery
- Indiana City Brewery
- Black Acre Brewery
- Guggman Haus Brewery
And more

Meet the Instructors

Ron Smith – Ron is a Master BJCP Judge (Beer Judge Certification Program), a Certified Cicerone®, a Beer & Brewing Educator, a Craft Brewery Consultant, and a European Beer Trip Guide. Ron has been homebrewing, judging beer, and supporting the craft beer movement for over 25 years, and has taught this course since its inception in 2017. He has also taught a Beer Styles and Sensory Analysis class at IUPUI for over 10 years, and continues to teach about all aspects of beer, brewing, ingredients, processes, styles, off-flavors, judging, beer and food pairing, and many more topics in private classes for breweries, distributors, and others. He routinely consults with craft brewers on stylistic, quality and technical issues.

Ron got involved in the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in the early 2000’s and started conducting study groups and technical sessions to train others how to evaluate and judge beer. He ascended through the BJCP ranks and is currently a Master level judge (only approximately 125 of the nearly 8,000 judges are ranked at the Master or Grand Master level). Ron is a sought-after judge for professional brewing competitions and has judged in prestigious international competitions in the US as well as Mexico and Belgium.

Ron was also one of the first 100 Certified Cicerones® in the world. A Cicerone® is to the beer world what a Sommelier is to the wine world (except not all Sommeliers are actually tested). He has attended numerous educational seminars presented by many of the leaders of the craft beer industry, and has traveled throughout Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic, learning first-hand about the beers, brewing processes, history and culture in those countries. Ron also leads Beer Tour Groups on incredible journeys through Germany and Belgium.

Notably, he has won numerous awards, including a Gold Medal in the American Homebrewers Association's (AHA) National Homebrew Competition (NHC), which is the largest homebrewing competition in the world, and Best of Show at the Indiana Brewer's Cup, a large national competition.  

Ron also holds an MBA, with honors, from IU’s Kelley School of Business, and BA and AAS degrees from Purdue University, and he consults numerous businesses in the area of marketing and operations.

Payment plans are available. There is an additional $25 payment plan fee. Please contact Teresa Bennett at to inquire. 

Cancellation Policy:  All cancellations will be subject to a $25 course cancellation fee.  Course fees will be refunded based on the cancellation date as listed below:

  • 6 days or fewer before class:  0% refund
  • 7-14 days before class:  50% refund, less $25 cancellation fee
  • 15 days or more before class:  100% refund, less $25 cancellation fee

For a course refund, please contact Teresa Bennett at or 317-274-4068. 

Please allow 2-4 weeks for processing time for refunds.

Length: 40 hours


IUPUI Office of Community Engagement

Cost: $1715 (payment plans available)

Credit: Certificate

Audience: Everyone over the age of 21