SLU partners with STL Beer to offer certificate in Brewing Science and Operations

This fall, Saint Louis University will usher in the city’s first official online certificate in beer: an 18-credit hour certificate in Brewing Science and Operations.

Troika Brodsky, the executive director of the St. Louis Brewers Heritage Foundation (formerly the St. Louis Brewers Guild), helped put the program together, corralling representatives from more than 15 local breweries to help pitch the degree to the university and plan courses.

Additionally, some (yet to be announced) local brewers will be involved in teaching courses. Brodsky said he sees the certification, offered through SLU’s School of Professional Development, as mutually beneficial for the university and for the local beer community.

“To be able to partner up with a university and act as connective tissue with our entire local brewing scene, for me, really addresses stuff I’m trying to work on,” he said. “It’s a great way for the general public to get more plugged in and educated around this industry, but it also allows breweries to connect better with people and satisfy a lot [of needs there].”

Brodsky said one goal of the program is to help diversify the beer community. By offering scholarships and placing students in internship programs at local institutions, Brodsky hopes to attract a wide range of prospective students.

“Ultimately, this program is not just a certificate program with all of the teachers coming from local breweries, which it is, but there’s long-term potential there for us to create a really robust internship structure that places people at all the local breweries, as well as having a really significant component financially for scholarships to bring a more diverse group of people to the [community],” he said.

The certification aims to cater to anyone who wants to get professionally involved in beer, from the casual homebrewer to someone trying to enter a large-scale corporate brewing facility. The program’s required coursework will include online classes like Brewing Essentials, Biochemistry of Brewing and Brewery Operations and Accounting.

The program will teach prospective brewers how to understand and apply the scientific processes behind brewing beer. Students will also gain an understanding of beer styles, engineering operations, brewery management, and the history of fermentation. Another objective is to prepare students to take the Cicerone Tasting Exam, an industry standard certification.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old, have three years work experience and a high school diploma (or a composite GED score of at least 2250), and a minimum 2.5 GPA (unless qualified for conditional acceptance). Applications are available online and will be accepted on a rolling basis.

The degree can also be pursued in person at the university, so that students can attend brewery visits and guest lectures. Those who chose to attend online should be able to participate in those events via video, according to Brodsky. He also suggested that if students are taking the courses outside St. Louis, SLU could help find breweries in their area to gain hands-on experience.

SLU is also accepting teaching applications for the program. Local brewing industry pros can apply at

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.