Portland State University in Oregon started an online business of craft brewing program in 2013

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With an explosion in growth in the craft beer industry over the last decade, it’s not enough to simply have a passion for brewing and beer when it comes to starting a brewery or working for one as the industry gets more competitive.

Recognizing that, some universities are now offering programs on the business of craft beer.

A lot of breweries started out five or 10 years ago with a focus on beer, says Gregory Dunkling, director of the University of Vermont’s new online business of craft beer certificate program, which starts in February. Back then, a home brewer may have been able to create some great recipes but didn’t have the business acumen so along the way hired staff to cover marketing, sales, the business operation, he says. It’s harder to pull that off today.

Portland State University in Oregon started an online business of craft brewing program in 2013, with the first cohort filling up in the first week with around 40 people. It’s become one of the school’s most successful professional certificate programs, says Scott Gallagher, PSU’s director of communications.

“We discovered that there’s a huge need for people who wanted to get a certificate. They didn’t necessarily want to go to college or already had a college degree and wanted to open up a brew pub,” Gallagher says. They needed some basic and more advanced knowledge, such as in marketing, he says.

The demand is so high that PSU is looking at how to develop and expand the program, Gallagher says.