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General Category => Going Pro => Topic started by: MrDonde on January 04, 2017, 12:47:45 AM

Title: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: MrDonde on January 04, 2017, 12:47:45 AM
Hello,

Like many people on this site I have dreams of opening my own brewery. Through a random series of events I am able to go back to school for another degree at no cost and I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion on a bachelor's degree that would be beneficial for someone looking to open a brewery?

What has come to my mind is a business or management degree since that would help with actually running a business and keeping it a float. The other idea was a biology degree that dealt with microorganisms.

Thanks for any suggestions/tips.

p.s. I am looking at actual degree programs not the super specialized brewing programs or boot camp type stuff. I did those with my current profession and I regret it.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: tommymorris on January 04, 2017, 01:29:34 AM
Chemical Engineering covers fermentation and distillation.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: a10t2 on January 04, 2017, 01:38:24 AM
I'd definitely go for something on the business side. The mechanics of brewing are simple, and since you don't need to pitch your resume to an employer, the actual degree doesn't matter. Get the most out of your free classes and study the brewing part on your own time.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: dmtaylor on January 04, 2017, 01:56:22 AM
Business.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 04, 2017, 02:53:28 AM
Business.
With a minor in Sales.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: MrDonde on January 04, 2017, 04:09:29 AM
Business.
With a minor in Sales.

Thanks for the suggestions thus far!
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: majorvices on January 04, 2017, 11:41:22 AM
Business.
With a minor in Sales.

Opposing argument: Depending on how big a business you are planning on growing or how much work you intend to leave for yourself you may actually want to have a professional sales and office manager and look at a degree in chemistry with a minor in biology. While I do agree that the mechanics of brewing are fairly easy to learn, being a head brewer in a growing business is a giant chunk of work alone, let alone having to be the GM and the Sales staff. In my case I am the head brewer of a brewery striving to put out 5000 bbls this year while one of the co-founders is the GM/business and sales manager. I can assure you there is no way in hell I could do his job and retain the mantle of head brewer.

As it too often happens, a brewer follows his passion to open a brewery and then suddenly realizes he has opened a business and the business side isn't always very much fun and doesn't have anything to do with brewing. So if you plan on actually running the business prepare yourself to hire a brewer. Or, if you want to be the brewer pair yourself with someone who knows how to run the business and sales side.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: Ellismr on January 04, 2017, 12:28:15 PM
Well said Majorvice.  I retired 18 months ago.  I had business management experience from former career and an undergraduate degree in biology.  Not to mention I was a homebrewer for 20 years.  So I enrolled in the Craft Brewer Apprentice (CBA) program through the American Brewers Guild  and never regretted it.  I completed an internship at a brew pub and got to immerse myself in the day-to-day life of the head brewer and owner.  And as Majorvice said earlier you cannot efficiently function as both.  It's just too much for one person. 

I a side note I listen to a radio/tv personality named Clark Howard and he says before you delve into a new business you should work in the industry for at least 6 months to see how it suits you and serve as a litmus test for dedication to your goal.  That was another reason I completed the CBA and internship.  I wanted to make sure that my passion for my hobby could carry me into a new career.  On a personal note what I learned was I could open the nanobrewery but would need help in the brew house.  I'm 46 and heaving around 50 lb sacks of grain 4 days a week can make one pretty sore.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 04, 2017, 12:54:43 PM
Well said Majorvice.  I retired 18 months ago.  I had business management experience from former career and an undergraduate degree in biology.  Not to mention I was a homebrewer for 20 years.  So I enrolled in the Craft Brewer Apprentice (CBA) program through the American Brewers Guild  and never regretted it.  I completed an internship at a brew pub and got to immerse myself in the day-to-day life of the head brewer and owner.  And as Majorvice said earlier you cannot efficiently function as both.  It's just too much for one person. 

I a side note I listen to a radio/tv personality named Clark Howard and he says before you delve into a new business you should work in the industry for at least 6 months to see how it suits you and serve as a litmus test for dedication to your goal.  That was another reason I completed the CBA and internship.  I wanted to make sure that my passion for my hobby could carry me into a new career.  On a personal note what I learned was I could open the nanobrewery but would need help in the brew house.  I'm 46 and heaving around 50 lb sacks of grain 4 days a week can make one pretty sore.
46 and retired for 18 months? You have me beat. My feeling was why ruin a good hobby. Brewing is a young man's game. Well, unless you are at an automated brewery watching a display screen or two.

Title: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: Ellismr on January 04, 2017, 12:56:49 PM
With a Nano I could brew larger batches to sell and support my experiments.  No desire to get big.


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Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: pete b on January 04, 2017, 01:02:22 PM
Janitorial Science and a 12 Step Program 😎
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: majorvices on January 04, 2017, 01:17:37 PM
Janitorial Science and a 12 Step Program 😎

Ha! Too true! Planning on cutting my drinking in half this year. I drink far more now than I ever did before I opened the brewery.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: Alewyfe on January 04, 2017, 04:46:53 PM
Janitorial Science and a 12 Step Program 😎

Ha! Too true! Planning on cutting my drinking in half this year. I drink far more now than I ever did before I opened the brewery.
Janitorial Science and a 12 Step Program 😎

Ha! Too true! Planning on cutting my drinking in half this year. I drink far more now than I ever did before I opened the brewery.

Smart move Major.
Let's step in the back Jack, have a little sip Chip, empty that tank Frank....there must be 50 ways to lose your liver.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: Slowbrew on January 04, 2017, 09:11:59 PM
Janitorial Science and a 12 Step Program 😎

Ha! Too true! Planning on cutting my drinking in half this year. I drink far more now than I ever did before I opened the brewery.

Another good reason to not open a brewery.  If I drank any more I'd be a head brewer looking for AA meetings every night.  Of course, not working IT in a big bank might help lesson the "need" too.  Maybe.  Probably not.

Paul
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: 69franx on January 05, 2017, 04:05:48 AM
Janitorial Science and a 12 Step Program 😎

Ha! Too true! Planning on cutting my drinking in half this year. I drink far more now than I ever did before I opened the brewery.
Janitorial Science and a 12 Step Program 😎

Ha! Too true! Planning on cutting my drinking in half this year. I drink far more now than I ever did before I opened the brewery.

Smart move Major.
Let's step in the back Jack, have a little sip Chip, empty that tank Frank....there must be 50 ways to lose your liver.
Well played

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Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 05, 2017, 01:58:37 PM
Let's step in the back Jack, have a little sip Chip, empty that tank Frank....there must be 50 ways to lose your liver.


That's some funny s#@t.  I'm picturing Paul Simon strumming his guitar to this.  ;D
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: Visor on January 06, 2017, 12:45:48 AM
   I'd have to side with the non-business school gguys, especially if you don't expect to be the next Sierra or Lagunitas. Having spent a decade successfully running a small business with nothing more than high school education and several decades in the blue collar trades, I understand that either you are the kind of person who can run a business or you aren't, no amount of schooling will ever change that. I too am working towards ruining my life by starting a brewery and am far more concerned with the learning more about the art of beer making than I am in perfecting my skills at driving a pencil.
   I'd imagine that the folks on this forum who are professional brewers would tell you that brewing in a commercial environment bears little resemblance to home brewing, I could of course be wrong. At risk of offending the folks with MBA's, the majority of the most successful small businessmen I've know had no formal business education, but they did have a healthy dose of good sense. If you can manage your personal finances you can probably handle the business aspects of running a small business. It aint rocket science - or bio-chemistry either.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: majorvices on January 06, 2017, 02:12:04 AM

Smart move Major.
Let's step in the back Jack, have a little sip Chip, empty that tank Frank....there must be 50 ways to lose your liver.

Thankfully liver is fine but waistband has gotten way too tight. Like that rendition though.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: klickitat jim on January 06, 2017, 02:29:36 AM
If you can't brew the business part is easy. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: reverseapachemaster on January 07, 2017, 05:15:55 PM
I'd suggest two paths:

1. Engingeering; or

2. Accounting.

Engineering will give you practical knowledge in the construction and upkeep of the physical brewery.

Accounting, similarly, will give you practical knowledge of the business operations of the brewery.

Should you decide brewing is not for you then these are two degrees that open a lot of other job opportunities.

I'd advocate against a business degree. Business degrees are decent introductions to business operations but generally seem to be generic degrees to prepare a person to become a fungible white collar worker. Accounting overlaps a lot of the coursework but goes far deeper into business operations and financial issues that would be more helpful to somebody running a manufacturing and service business.

I also wonder why a bachelor's degree at all. It's a lot of money and a lot of time fulfilling degree requirements that are not directly related to brewery operations (especially if you do not have a bachelor's where you can skip over most of the core curriculum). It may be worthwhile to take first and second year courses in applicable subjects and not worry about a degree at all. Otherwise it's time and money you could apply to getting the brewery running.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: majorvices on January 07, 2017, 11:47:45 PM
Yeah, not sure about accounting either. You will need to hire an accountant. Again, pick your poison. Are you going to be the brewer or the business manager. Almost impossible to wear both hats unless you are a teeny tiny brewery and then there really isn't much point because it just becomes a vanity project at that size.

My weakest area has been in lab work. There is a trend in brewing over the last decade where breweries hire a chemist to be over QC and sometimes the head brewer actually answers to the QC.A combination of skills: Brewing, Microbiology and Chemist tend to lend to the most valuable aspects in understanding QC which is arguably the most important aspect in brewing. That said, all the info you need for this level of microbiology, chemistry and brewing is pretty much available in books so I do agree that I'm not sure I wouldn't just forgo a 4 year education. That sounds like a royal PITA.

There are also short brewing, lab and chemistry coursesyou can take that would bring you up to speed very quickly without taking years of time.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: chinaski on January 08, 2017, 02:07:29 AM
I'd pursue which ever side of it you think you'd enjoy learning about most.  You'll get the most out of earning the degree if you're vested in learning something you're interested in, otherwise why do it?  No matter what degree you pursue, you will be learning a lot of things besides those that apply to the brewing world.
Title: Re: Helpful Bachelor's Degree
Post by: reverseapachemaster on January 08, 2017, 06:38:17 PM
Yeah, not sure about accounting either. You will need to hire an accountant. Again, pick your poison. Are you going to be the brewer or the business manager. Almost impossible to wear both hats unless you are a teeny tiny brewery and then there really isn't much point because it just becomes a vanity project at that size.

My point is not that having an accounting degree is a substitute for a professional accountant but that he would learn a lot more practical knowledge and skills by way of accounting over a generalized business degree.