Craft Beer Boom Inspires New UVM Professional Certificate

The University of Vermont has announced the launch of online continuing education courses that focus on the business of craft beer. The 12-week professional certificate program starts in February.

"We're keeping our eye on national trends all the time," said Greg Dunkling, UVM's Business of Craft Beer program director.

Dunkling called craft beer a "dynamic growth sector," which is experiencing a boom all across the country.

“It’s closely linked to the ‘localvore’ movement,” Dunkling said. “People want a product that’s made locally; made well, with local ingredients. So, more breweries and restaurants are offering craft products.”

Dunkling said the sector’s growth is creating job opportunities across the country. His target students for the new online courses are college grads who want to tailor their existing sales or marketing skills for the craft beer sector, or people who want to open their own brewery.

"Those breweries could use, particularly in a very crowded marketplace, the expertise that a program like this will teach them," Dunkling told necn.

The online courses were developed with the Vermont Brewer's Association, and promise to bring in industry experts to share knowledge on sales, digital marketing, and business operations. Courses on those individual tracks cost $2,195, as does a core course into craft beer fundamentals. A package price combining the core fundamentals course, a specific track course, and career coaching costs $6,085, according to the program's website.

Vermont is already famous for being home to 40 craft breweries, more than any other place in the country, per-capita, according to the Brewers Association, an industry group. UVM said it believes the state’s reputation for award-winning beers, such as Heady Topper from The Alchemist in Waterbury, or beers from Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, will help it attract students for the new certificate program.

Dunkling said within just days of announcing the new offering, he has gotten calls and emails from all around the country, and several prospective students have begun filling out online applications.

One of the newest Vermont breweries, Frost Beer Works in Hinesburg, started distributing its products this past May. Its beers, including the bright, citrusy Really Pale Ale and the maltier Just Pale Ale, are available at select retailers and restaurants in Vermont.

Garin Frost, the founder of Frost Beer Works, said he believes UVM's new web courses could surely help aspiring brewers develop strategies for success with branding or marketing. He did note, though, that really making it in his field will come down to what's in the glass.

"With us, product always has come first and foremost; we want to have the best product possible," Frost said. "Just being in Vermont offers a bit of a marketing boost for us, because there are so many great brewers here, but you need a great product to back up your model."

For more on Frost Beer Works, visit this website.

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