4 Courses Required


The Craft Beer Business Essentials Certificate is designed as an accelerated curriculum to provide homebrewers, entrepreneurs, and business professionals with the foundational business knowledge, tools, resources, skills, and networking opportunities to be successful from the initial stages of creating their business plan all the way through to making a profit and increasing distribution. Students gain the benefit of networking with and learning from fellow classmates, successful brewery owners, and industry professionals while receiving instruction, consultation, and feedback throughout their coursework.

Our four courses can be taken individually by specific area of interest or taken together to earn the Craft Beer Business Essentials Certificate:

  • Legal Bootcamp for Craft Beer Business
  • Creating and Financing Your Business Plan
  • Identity Development & Marketing Strategies
  • Brewery Management Fundamentals


Beer Basics: Crash Course in Craft

Looking for a fun, interactive, and educational Saturday fine-tuning your knowledge and skills on American craft beer?

Join us for Beer Basics: Crash Course in Craft - a​ course designed for professional development OR a personal enrichment course for a variety of audiences!



The Craft Beer Boom

Over the past five years, it has become hard to ignore the surge of growth and success within the craft beer industry. In 2016, the total number of American breweries surpassed the 5,000 mark, more than twice the amount five short years ago, with over 98% of those being craft breweries. In 2016 alone, nearly 600 microbreweries opened nationwide (Brewers Association, 2017).

North Carolina currently ranks 9th in the nation and first in the South (NC Craft Beer Guild) with over 203 breweries and brewpubs currently in operation and over 50 more are planning to open in the next year or two. The industry is unique in that it continued to experience growth through the recession as well as having the distinction of higher success rates for brewery start-ups compared to virtually any other new business venture category.

Homebrewers and Entrepreneurs looking to start their own microbrewery or brewpub business have the added benefits of a collaborative and supportive community among fellow brewers as well as a consumer philosophy that brand loyalty among beer enthusiasts is very rare and that, instead, the popularity of the micro over the macro brew (bolstered by more breweries per capita in a community) helps all craft brewery businesses in the long-run.

Signs of a Slowdown & More Competition

It’s important to note that the industry is not without competition completely. Fortune magazine recently reported in a March 2017 article that Brewers Association stats showed volume growth decreasing in 2016.  Although microbreweries are enjoying a shared consumer boom in their own taprooms as new breweries open, competition for limited space on retail shelves and bar taps is increasing. Last year over 100 microbreweries and brewpubs closed nationally. How can today and tomorrow’s brewers and brewery professionals position their business to succeed in a more competitive environment?

Electronic Materials

Course Materials

All course materials will be provided electronically. Registered students will receive access instructions in their enrollment reminder emails prior to class.


Why Should I Choose this Program?

The Craft Beer Business Essentials Certificate offers the following unique delivery and format elements compared to other similar course providers:

  • Easy registration, affordable flat fee, and quick time to completion
    • A noncredit continuing education certificate requires no admission, entrance exams, tuition, and takes less time to complete than a degree/credit-based program. Our courses are also exclusively focused on business and entrepreneurship; not combined with brewing or fermentation sciences.
  • Convenience of online delivery with networking benefits of face-to-face interaction
    • A hybrid format of self-paced online content with only one face-to-face Saturday per course is an ideal format for working professionals and those living further from Charlotte.
  • Complete the certificate in just seven weeks
    • Our accelerated curriculum includes four courses that each cover 12 hours of the most essential content for each business topic. Allowing prospective entrepreneurs to gain the knowledge they need quickly to put their plan into action.
  • Local networking connections; local laws
    • The craft beer business and consumer communities are unique to each state--from farming ingredients used in recipes, state and local laws and regulations, and local brewery partnerships and collaborations. Our North Carolina participants will experience the added benefit of studying content specific to opening a brewery in North Carolina as well as meeting successful brewery owners and professionals in our state.

Attendance Requirements