September 15, 2011

Beer School

I have been planning on going to beer school after i graduate SUNY Albany. Originally I was looking at the American Brewers Guild but recently i changed my mind and decided to go to the Siebel Institute. Here are the strengths and weaknesses from both institutions as far as I see them.
American Brewers Guild:
ABG was my first choice, they only offer online or "distance learning" classes which I was planning on taking anyway, they have locations in Windsor Vermont and Sacramento California where the final exam will be held. They offer two types of courses, First the intensive brewing science and engineering (IBS&E) which is a 23 week course including a week long residential study at a working brewery. Tuition is $6,750 which includes all books and materials. Second, the craft brewers apprenticeship (CBA) is a 28 week course it also includes a week long residential study but goes further in offering a 5 week (unpaid) internship at a working craft brewery. Tuition for this program is $8,950 including books and materials.
For both programs the prerequisites are as follows
Math: Precalculus or algebra
at least one from the following list
(1) Biology: microbiology, cell physiology or biochemistry
(2) Chemistry: general college level chemistry (must include organic, inorganic and analytical)
(3) Physics: heat and mechanics or process control
(4) Engineering: topics in mechanical or chemical engineering
I expected the prerequisites but the major issue with ABG is that they have such small class sizes that registration is closed until 2014 (not a typo) and even then there are lots of people waiting to get in meaning I would have to really put my education on hold. That being said I really like the internship opportunity with a craft brewery.
The Siebel Institute:
Recently I changed my plan, originally I was going to wait and got to ABG but now i have decided to go to Siebel. Siebel is the oldest brewing school in the US (founded 1868). The degree you get from Siebel seems, to me at least, to be more respectable.
Siebel is located in Chicago but also offers distance learning programs. Siebel offers many types of courses from an advanced homebrewing course to the full on master brewers program. They have an international reputation as well working with the Doemens academy in Germany, the Institute for brewing and distilling (IBD) in the UK and the World brewing academy (WBA).
The cost of different programs and individual classes varies from $810 for a business of brewing overview to $20,000 for the entire master brewers program. I chose to start on the associates in brewing technology. It consists of 3 "modules" (like semesters) raw materials and wort production, beer production and quality control, and packaging process and technology (will run a little over $9,000 total). These are all considered upper level courses and instead of listed prerequisites you can either take the concise course in brewing technology (2 week introductory course, no prerequisites) or contact Keith Lemcke (vice president at Siebel and WBA). In an effort to skip the intro course I contacted Keith and he basically gave me an interview via email. He asked about my brewing experience, educational background, titles of specific books I have read and my goals for brewing education. After my assessment he told me it was basically up to me but that most people entering the course are already professional brewers or have more sciences than I do but ultimately it was up to me.
 I decided to take the concise course first then enter the upper level course because i don't want to be behind before i start even though this will add another $3,000 to my total cost.
Why did I choose Siebel if they don't offer an internship and i will spend more money ? I actually want to enter the brewing industry sometime before I'm 40 and i can work on my studies at Siebel on a module by module basis while still at SUNY and hopefully graduate from college and beer school at about the same time.Also the range of courses offered at Siebel is way more in depth and the faculty includes some famous figures in the beer world (Ray Daniels, Randy Mosher, Chris White).
Additionally I think while I'm studying at Sibel I may be more recognized when I'm shopping my resume around.


  1. Congratulations on deciding to get a formal beer education as part of your effort to go pro. I look forward to hearing more about it as you go through the program. I've been kicking around the idea of maybe doing it a well but haven't decided for sure yet.

  2. thanks for commenting Justin, I tried to get into several breweries on homebrewing experience and a desire to learn alone but never really got take seriously. I think having the education proves to people your looking to make this a career and not just looking to make some beer.


  3. It was so nice article.I was really satisified by seeing this article and we are also giving SIEBEL online training.The Flaxit online training is one of the best online training institute in USA.