View Full Version : Degree before brewing school

01-18-2006, 07:13 PM
Is it better to get a college degree before going to brewing school.

01-18-2006, 07:53 PM

type in "brewing education"

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01-18-2006, 07:59 PM
It is not required and you can do brewing school well with a college prep science load from high school. But....a degree in anything, and most specific science (biology-chemistry, even engineering) will do you well in brewing. Really depends where you want to go in the industry and there are always exceptions. My degree is in business and it has merit, but if I went back and knew I was going to be a brewer when I grew up, I would do the bio-chemistry thing, more specific....fermentation science. Then again, if I got that degree, I would most likely be making more money in another industry!

01-18-2006, 09:26 PM
"Then again, if I got that degree, I would most likely be making more money in another industry!"

Thats not really that accurate. As I am about to graduate in May with Bacteriology from UW-Madison which is the best micro program in the country with respects to bacterial genetics and so on and so forth - if I was to go straight into industry the average starting salary would be somewhere around 27-28 thousand with a BS in Bacteriology. However, should you use that degree to get into a large brewery - and i readily boo all of these - miller/bud/ or work for the coldest man on earth (pete coors) you could make a nice living starting in between 35-45thousand. any of the major brewery microbio job listings online will prove my point if you dont care to believe me here.

I will go on to say that even though it has been a huge pain in the ass - see organic chemistry/biochemistry/cell physiology - i have a vast understanding of fermentation science and am very well set up to attend Weihenstephan if i can ever learn this german thing or go with my backup plan at UC-Davis. while i do have a vast knowledge of fermentation science i must pay omage to the beer gods (and pay them a lot too) so i understand your want to go directly to the training but do understand that organic/biochemistry will make your understanding of the fermentation/metabolic pathways much easier and hence set you up to know the direct interaction to what compounds you are putting into the beer to produce the taste we all so desire.

Lastly, sorry to be long winded, the brewing industry no matter what you think of it right now is making the conversion to well educated brewmasters. We are a few years out but there will come a time when to get a job in a decent sized brewery you will have to have a formal education if not already. I'm sure all of you can well attest to this fact. Perhaps my outlook is somewhat dismal for you but hopefully not because as we as brewers learn more our products by that theory should get that much better. So drink up and learn - it is the only way.

Tyler Peters
Joseph Huber Brewing Co.

01-19-2006, 12:23 AM
Learn as much as you can. Sign up for courses in industrial electrical distribution, welding & refrigeration. Go to the Micromatic draft beer dispense course. Read every book on brewing science you can find. Subscribe to and read every decent brewing periodical. Get degrees in accounting, engineering, biochemistry, cereal science, and food science. Practice your brewing skills and keep detailed records of your experiences. Go to every major brewing country, visit their breweries, maltsters, hopyards. Drink and ponder over every beer style you can find. It doesn't need to happen in any particular order; just make beer a lifelong passion. Live beer. Love beer. Learn beer. Cheers!

01-19-2006, 08:48 PM
I would suggest a two year stint at a good community college. Take the engineering core. This provides the widest back ground and gives you enough knowledge to understand all of the science.(additional chemistryor biology a big +). At least one year practical and then brewing school. This investment will pay off in about 8 years after you start working for the brewing industry. I have a BSEE, Siebels & 12 years in brewing(+ 7 years as an engineer). I'm the GM at AVBC. As this industry grows it will become harder to just start brewing. Most important!!!! is your passion for brewing this out shines any degree.


01-19-2006, 09:40 PM
"Thats not really that accurate. As I am about to graduate in May with Bacteriology from UW-Madison which is the best micro program in the country with respects to bacterial genetics and so on and so forth - if I was to go straight into industry the average starting salary would be somewhere around 27-28 thousand with a BS in Bacteriology."

While being low, that is more than a starting brewer would make in most markets right out of school. You are correct about working for a major brewery, but these are union shops, hence the higher wages. They also have a much higher qualification requirement than your typical brewpub/micro. Also, while 27-28 in biotech might be small (remember your medical school residents with much more school make this if they are lucky and work way too much!), the payoff is down the road. Brewing tops out at mid 40k unless you get lucky or work at the "big guys".

Actually my reference to making money with that degree was refering to what you said, working for the big guys or in the wine industry.

Like others here have said, it really is about being totally involved in the industry and doing what you love. That being said, it probally doesn't matter which you do first or even if you do both. You just gotta get in, get going, and keep learning every day! Oh yeah, and make good beer!


Larry Horwitz
01-20-2006, 05:32 AM
Brewing does not top out in the mid 40s....you're working at the wrong company.

ATB Consulting
01-20-2006, 09:21 AM
Yes, obtaining a college degree before going to a brewing school would be beneficial. Knowing what type of company you want to work for is important and will help you determine what type of education will help you qualify for the jobs you desire.

I agree that a science degree is a good route, however, I would also recommend a business degree or at least a minor in business in addition to the science degree. A solid business education will help you understand and create strategic plans.

I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Business complimented with a Food Industry Management Certificate. I wish I had done this earlier in my career!

And while you are going to school, perhaps you can find part-time work at a local brewery!

Best of luck,

02-15-2006, 09:47 AM
Im glad i found a place to ask questions about brewing education, I am about to graduate from MUN in newfoundland canada with a b.s.c in microbiology and biochemistry and was wondering what to do now. I was told by my supervisor that there is a place in ontario which trains people to become brewmasters. I have been looking and i cant find any information on such a program.
But I did find the Berlin Technical University site, it offers a fullon Ph D. program in brewing. I wanted to know if this university/ program had any reputation. The idea of going to germany excited me, and I wanted to get an idea of where i would stand career wise with a degree in brewing science. thanks

03-08-2006, 03:54 AM
My wife studied Biology and I studied Physical Anthropology before we came to Weihenstephan. If you study Chemical Engineering you'll be well prepared to come here for a Masters Degree in Brewing and Beverage Science (= Diplom Ingenieur, i.e. an MS degree - not to be confused with the Diplom Braumeister which is sort of like a Bachelors degree). Another, possibly more rewarding yet longer and more arduous alternative, would be to do two years of math, chemistry, microbiology, physics at a university, then come over and start the Diplom Ingenieur from scratch. If you don't make it though, then you've got nothing to show for your efforts...

This post is a reply I made in another thread but applies here, so I copied it for you:

My wife and I are at Weihenstephan right now. Both of us completed the Diplom Braumeister a couple of years ago and are now both finishing an MS in Brewing and Beverage Science. Should you have any questions regarding either of these programs, we can supply you with the information. If you can read German go to http://www.weihenstephan.de/wzw/studium/fakultaet.html.

Regarding Doemens, it is a good program, as well. Almost all the PhDs teaching there received their degrees from Weihenstephan and are extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields. Earlier Doemens’ Braumeister program and Weihenstephan’s Diplom Braumeister were quite similar (both were two years), but now they have become quite different, although both remain high quality programs. Weihenstephan has extended their Diplom Braumeister program to include a thesis at the end and an internship of 15 months at an approved brewery/malthouse AFTER registration, therefore prior experience doesn’t play a role (except, of course, for your own practical knowledge). On their website Doemens says they require prospective students to hold the title of Journeyman Brewer and Maltster and to have one year’s experience in the industry before attending their one year program. A degree is not actually awarded at Doemens, because graduates are expected to pass a test which is offered by the German Chamber of Commerce. Weihenstephan is a branch of the Technische Universität München and therefore, as in all universities, there are courses which are designed to weed less serious students out. Doemens, on the other hand, is a private academy. It is not in its financial interest to allow students to fail out, therefore there is much more emphasis on regular testing and less on physics, chemistry and engineering. Regarding brewing and malting, fermentation, filling, quality control, etc. Doemens provides an excellent education. I have several friends who have attended Doemens who are highly knowledgeable and who have been successful in the brewing industry.

As for Berlin, I know very little about it. I have met students from there and know a PhD from Weihenstephan who has gone to teach there. From what I can gather, their program is also a very good one. Both VLB and Weihenstephan offer university degrees, i.e. they have internationally recognized Bachelor, Master and PhD programs; Doemens does not.

05-04-2006, 08:54 AM
I'm working my Chemistry Degree and have been offered a part time job at a local micro (hopefully I actually get it). Between a good science degree, brewery experience, lots of good homebrewing experience and eventually formal training from Siebel and/or UC Davis, and I'll join the ranks with the rubber boots.