Connecting the campus to the community
Certificate in Craft Brewing and Fermentation
The program is designed to be completed in just over two terms (approximately 9-10 months).
The program features online courses combined with some face-to face lab work which means less time sitting in class and more flexibility when learning takes place.
In addition to conducting brewing, each student will complete a capstone experience where they have an opportunity to assist one of our industry partners at their worksite with an aspect of the production process or completing an assignment (e.g. marketing plan or event plan) related to that business.
Why Enroll? Industry Growth in Montana = Jobs!
- Craft Beer*
2010-2015 - 87%
- Craft Distilleries increased from 3 in 2010 to 16 by 2014 – 433% growth
- 10 Wineries operating
- 7 Craft Cider operations opened within last 3 years
* The Continuing Economic Impact of Craft Brewing in Montana - Bureau of Business and Economic Research, August 2016 Report
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Thursday, August 9, 2018
The Craft Brewing and Fermentation certificate program is a 16-credit undergraduate program that provides an overview of biochemistry, microbiology, technology, and business of craft brewing industries (beer, spirits and wine). The program was developed with input of industry professionals and is aimed at developing a skilled workforce for the burgeoning craft brewing industries in Montana. Courses include lab work, hands-on brewing, industry speakers and an opportunity to gain experience with a local craft brewing business through an internship or special project.
- Craft brewing professionals looking to increase their knowledge and skills
- Home brewers and winemakers looking to gain the basic knowledge needed to take the next step in their craft
- Individuals looking to explore a career change
- Students must be 21 years old by the second semester of the program
The program is open to all individuals who want to gain more in-depth knowledge of the science and business aspects of craft brewing industries. While no course perquisites are required, students will be most successful with a basic understanding of biology and chemistry (e.g. high school course).
The total cost for the program is $3,600 including all tuition and fees. Textbooks are separate and are estimated at approximately $200.
Payment plan available
For a small additional fee participants will be able to set up a payment plan to help spread tuition and fees over each semester enrolled. Installment plans are only allowed for credit programs and will follow each semester payment dates. Get more information...
Since this program is offered on a self-support basis, Federal and State financial aid (including tuition waivers) is not available for most participants. However, you may qualify for a private loan. To find out more about this option, please see The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid . Current MSUB students seeking degrees in offered by the Biological and Physical Sciences Department should consult with the MSUB Office of Financial Aid and their program advisor.
Students who successfully complete all courses with a grade of C or above will be awarded a certificate of completion.
May be subject to change
Application for Admission Deadline: August 27, 2018
Program Orientation: September 3, 2018
Fall Semester 2018
Introduction to Business (3 credits)
Applied Brewing Chemistry (3 credits)
Online with Lab – Tuesday Evenings 5:30 – 7:30
Spring Semester 2019
Brewing Process Technology (2 credits)
Online with Lab – Thursday Evenings 5:30 – 7:30
Applied Brewing Microbiology (3 credits)
Online with Lab – Tuesday Evenings 5:30 – 7:30
Business Basics for Brewing and Distillery (3 credits)
Summer Semester 2019
Brewing and Fermentation Capstone (2 credits)
Applicants must submit:
The program application which includes a statement of their interest in the program.
Send or Email to:
Dr. Heather Thompson-Bahm
Department of Business, Construction & Energy Technology
City College at MSU Billings
3803 Central Ave.
To find out more about this and other training programs, please call:
MSU Billings Extended Campus
Mark Hastings – Uberbrew
Ron Kalvig - Canyon Creek Brewing
Casey McGowan – Trailhead Sprits
Clint Peck – Yellowstone Cellars & Winery
Mike Uhrich - Carter's Brewing
Shea Dawson- Thirsty Street Brewing Company
Tanner Vinecke – Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill
Dr. Heather Thompson-Bahm
Dr. Thompson-Bahm serves as the program coordinator for the Craft Brewing and Fermentation program. Dr. Thompson-Bahm is originally from Colorado, where she earned her Doctorate in Management, Master in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Biology. She possesses years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Heather has been with the Montana State University system since 2013, and with City College at MSU Billings since 2015, where she teaches business and human resource courses.
Dr. Kurt Toenjes
Dr. Kurt A. Toenjes has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona (1998). After finishing his PhD, Dr. Toenjes was a post-doctoral fellow and research faculty at the University of Vermont (1997-2005). In the summer of 2005, he joined the Biological and Physical Sciences Department at Montana State University-Billings. While at Montana State University-Billings, Dr. Toenjes has received grant funding from the NIH MT-INBRE program, NSF-EPSCOR and the MT-Board of Research and Commercialization Technology. Dr. Toenjes also holds two patents and has two pending patent applications. Kurt has served as the microbiologist for Gentle Ben’s Brewery, is a former home brewer, and is currently enamored with the creation, mixing and barrel aging of tasty whiskeys, gins and cognacs.
Dr. Tom Lewis
Dr. Lewis is a professor in the Biological & Physical Sciences Department at MSUB where he has taught courses in biochemistry and microbiology since 2007. He Received his Ph.D in Microbiology form Oregon State University in 1986 studying sterol metabolism in S. cerevisiae (brewer’s yeast). His career since then has been involved with the bacterial physiology and chemistry of environmental pollutant degradation, and iron metabolism by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Dr. Dave Butler
David K. Butler (left) has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin (1991). D.K.B. was an NIH post-doctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington (1991-1996). D.K.B. has been a faculty member at Montana State University-Billings since 1996. While on the faculty at Montana State University-Billings, he has received over $2,000,000 in grant funding from the NIH, NSF and the MT-Board of Research and Commercialization Technology. Dr Butler has eight first-author publications and one patent. Dave has been a long time home brewer as the ceiling in his basement will document.
Paul J. Pope, D.A.
Dr. Pope received his Doctor of Arts from Idaho State University in 2008. Paul has been with MSU Billings since 2012 and teaches for the Department of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies. He is an avid and award-winning homebrewer since 2007. He is also the Vice-President of the Rimrock Brewers Guild since 2014. Paul is the instructor for the MSUB Craft Beer Learn and Taste Series as well as several brewing demonstrations and learn-to-brew sessions with the Rimrock Brewers Guild.
Mr. Andy Sullivan
Andy Sullivan is the Process Plant Technology instructor at Montana State University Billings City College. He has a Chemical Engineering degree from MIT and has worked in refining and processing industries for 20 years. He has operating and design experience in processing equipment including pumps, distillation towers, heat exchangers, filters, reactors, boilers, and instrument systems.
The certificate is composed of five classes and a capstone experience. Classes are offered in a hybrid (online and face-to-face) or completely online format designed to meet the needs of working professionals.
Students should plan on starting in the fall and expect to complete the program by late spring; exceptions may be made based on the applicant’s skills and knowledge level. In order to receive the certificate, students must earn a grade of C or above in each of the courses.
BGEN 105 Introduction to Business (3 credits – online) (syllabus)
Surveys several aspects of business including the U.S. economic environment, social responsibility of business, small business and alternative forms of ownership. Presents concepts of general management, human resource management, marketing, finance, accounting and management information systems for decision making.
CHYM 170 Applied Brewing Chemistry (3 credit - Hybrid) (syllabus)
This course will cover fundamental aspects of malting and fermentation chemistry. Some basic chemical principles will be presented followed by explanations of the underlying chemistry of steps in the brewing process and quality control monitoring.
PPT 140 Brewing Process Technology (2 credits – Hybrid) (syllabus)
Introduces the student to actual brewing processes, taking an in-depth look at each process, as well as the unit variables, equipment design and function, process control methodologies, and unit specific operating and safety considerations. Various types of equipment are discussed including heaters, coolers, pumps, filters, fermentation reactors, distillation columns, reboilers, and condensers. The course is designed to provide classroom time balanced with hands-on review of the various processes.
BIOM 208 Applied Brewing Microbiology (3 credits – Hybrid) (syllabus)
This course will cover fundamental aspects of yeast fermentation and microbiology relevant to brewing. Some basic microbiological principles will be presented followed by explanations of the various brewing/quality-impacting processes brought about by biological activity, as well as means of monitoring the brewing process. The course will involve lectures as well as laboratory and online components.
BMGT 102 Business Basics for Brewing and Distillery (3 credits – Online) (syllabus)
Provides an overall picture of business operations in micro-brewing and distillery. Specialized business concepts within brewery business are presented and analyzed. This course will cover functional concepts and fundamentals required to start and operate a craft brewery. Areas of focus include regulations, operations, finance and marketing.
BGEN 299 Brewing and Fermentation Capstone (2 credits) (syllabus)
Provides students an individual opportunity to engage in education and training not covered by regular coursework. Students will be working directly for a brewery, distillery, or winery. Students, through advising with course instructor, must select either the 45 hour professional internship or professional project option (business, scientific, brew house/mechanical, etc.) in consultation with the site supervisor for their capstone experience.