This fall, PSU will offer the nation’s first brewing industry certificate program, “The Business of Craft Brewing.” The 24-month program, hosted by PSU’s School of Business Administration, will focus on drafting a business plan and managing infrastructure for a craft brewery or distillery.
Portland holds the world record for most craft breweries within city limits, and with all the great beer around here, it’s a wonder that Portland State has gone all these years without offering some sort of beer-related program.
This fall, PSU will host the nation’s first brewing industry certificate program, “The Business of Craft Brewing.”
The program, hosted by PSU’s School of Business Administration, will focus on drafting a business plan and managing infrastructure for a craft brewery or distillery.
The program will culminate in a certificate after 24 weeks and is housed mostly online, save for an “immersion weekend” during which students will get to tour some of Portland’s esteemed breweries and take part in one of the world’s fastest-growing beer scenes.
“Portland is the center of the craft-brewing beer industry, and our sense is that this program is something needed in the region,” said Kristen Pedersen, director of executive and professional education in the SBA.
While Portland houses a highly regarded beer culture, the industry appears to be nearing a crucial time of rapid growth because of the popularity of home-brewing and state laws that allow for personal distribution in some areas.
In addition to the 2,400 craft breweries functioning in the country today, more than 1,200 will be opened in the next year alone.
In light of this, the program will focus less on the science behind making the best IPA and instead attempt to foster the tools and framework with which to create a successful company in the
Mellie Pullman, a PSU professor and former brewer, will be teaching the program, and has been planning the curriculum for a number of months. Early conversations about content have quickly given way to logistics, given the program’s early success.
“I thought we’d get, like, 20 people in the program for the whole year. But after two days, 20 people had signed up,”
Pullman might have trouble determining how to allocate space for students and the general public (to whom the classes will eventually be available), but her work in designing the courses she will teach has been very successful.
In addition to videos with local brewers to be used in the online course, Pullman has tapped some of her relationships in the brewing industry to maximize student opportunity with field trips and possible internships at breweries such as Rogue Brewery and Hopworks
“We’re trying to do fun content,” Pullman said. “It’s basically going to be number-crunching, but number-crunching has got to be fun. There is nothing like this in the U.S.”
The program opens in fall 2013, and, pending success, will continue in 2014 and future years. And while the courses will eventually be open to the general public, Pullman hopes PSU students will take advantage of the unique opportunity that has drawn media requests from places as far-flung as Spain and Australia.
“It’s really for anyone [who] wants to work in that industry,” she said. “We’re assuming people don’t have a business background, but that’s what is great about the program here—it can be anyone, from a liberal arts background, or science or whatever.”
And as word of the program begins to spread across campus, it is also becoming a beacon of the university’s mission to prospective students looking forward to enrolling at PSU.
“It sounds amazing,” said Nathan Winchell, a student at Portland Community College. Winchell will enroll at PSU in the fall and already has his eye on the program.
“I’ve always been interested in brewing, but never had any idea how to start anything, beyond handing out bottles to my friends in my living room,” he said. “But this sounds awesome.”
Interested students can find information at pdx.edu/professional-development/bcb.