brewmaster and student checking beer vats

Business of Craft Beer

Craft beer is part of a profound shift in national beer culture, as small and independent brewers deepen their connection to craft beer enthusiasts, while continuing to attract new consumers. Chicagoland is proving to be a significant segment of this booming business, with the steady expansion of local craft breweries in the city and suburbs.

Explore the craft beer business and gain the knowledge you need to get started in this exciting industry, with Business of Craft Beer Program offered by College of DuPage Continuing Education. This hands-on, premier beer education program focuses on the business of craft beer, with curriculum developed by key figures in the Chicago industry and courses conducted at College of DuPage. 

Samplings will be included with the courses; students must be 21 years of age to attend. 

Students can choose to take all courses within one term or take specific courses at their own pace over several terms. Earn your certificate of completion by completing five required courses in the Business of Craft Beer program. Students who complete the Introduction to the Craft Beer Industry course will be eligible to take the Cicerone® Certified Beer Service Exam at a discounted rate of $29.

Upcoming Information Session

Tuesday, Dec.14
6 p.m.
Register today!

Foundations of Beer

Designed primarily for the weekend beer hobbyist and the budding enthusiast, Foundations of Beer provides an overview of beer history, styles and terminology, as well as an introduction to the art of food and beer pairing. This course serves as a precursor to the Introduction to the Craft Beer Industry course.

Thursday and Tuesday, Jan. 20 to Jan. 27
6 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-580, $175
On campus in Glen Ellyn

Introduction to the Craft Beer Industry

Learn about the professions within the craft beer industry and the skills needed to be successful in different areas. Cover the basics of the industry,from beer history and ingredients to brewing methods. Explore beer styles, off-flavor tastings, beer evaluation, terminology and equipment. Students who complete this course are eligible to take the Certified Beer Server® exam at a discounted rate of $29 (this course is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone Certification Program).

Tuesday and Thursday, Feb. 1 to 24
6 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-550, $399
On campus in Glen Ellyn

Food and Beer Pairing

Join us on a 4-week journey through the art of pairing beer and food. Learn about beer ingredients, styles, and flavors, Each week you will be led through a tasting session. By the end of the course, you will have a deeper understanding of how flavors in food and beer compliment each other and the knowledge to help your patrons choose the right beer to accompany your meal.

Tuesday, March 1 to 22
6 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-557, $299
On campus in Glen Ellyn


The Real Business of Craft Beer

Focus on the intricacies of the three-tier system of craft beer. This course helps participants navigate and discern Illinois liquor laws and regulations, margins and inventory, supplier management, and brands and sales strategies. 

Tuesday, March 1 to April 5
6 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-551, $299
On campus in Glen Ellyn

Craft Beer Entrepreneurship

Learn from experienced entrepreneurs in the industry about what is needed to start your own craft beer-focused business. Take your idea and bring it to life while learning relevant business laws and infrastructure. Students emerge with strategies on opening and operating a beer-centric business. A reading list is provided two weeks prior to the start of the class.

Thursday, March 3 to April 7
7 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-559, $299
On campus in Glen Ellyn

Beer Production

Learn about the production of beer, from material management, to brewing schedules, packaging product and managing product distribution. This course helps to navigate the many processes involved with operations for creating beer and getting it out to your consumer. 

Monday, April 11 to May 16
6 to 9 p.m.
$299On campus in Glen Ellyn


Promoting Beer as a Brand Ambassador

Develop promotional skills you can use in the taproom, at events and online. Gain working knowledge of social media and digital marketing. Discuss branding, messaging, audience, strategy and image and video creation.

Thursday, March 3 to April 7
6 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-552, $299
Student Resource Center (SRC) 

Front of House Beer Management

Learn essential skills for superior taproom service and management, from proper pouring and draught-line basics to employee relations and beer fest training.

Monday, April 11 to May 16
6 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-553, $299
Partner Sites - Hybrid

Business of Craft Beer Capstone

Complete your training with this final capstone course, which will synthesize previous coursework into a final product. Gain hands-on experience in the industry, showcase your knowledge and display your abilities. Network with industry professionals
and prepare for potential employment opportunities. This course includes volunteer experience during the month of November. Please note: Prior to enrollment in this course, you must complete four of the required courses or have permission from the program manager.

Wednesday, April 13 to May 18
6 to 9 p.m.
PROED-0011-560, $299
Student Resource Center (SRC) and off-campus
Partner sites - Hybrid

Ale Trails: Best Brewery Treks and Virtual Tours

Beers lovers and friends, join us for adventures along America’s Ale Trails. This series of courses transports you to some of the best beer places in America. We visit breweries (in-person and virtually)and learn the stories behind some of our favorite
craft beers and newcomers. Enjoy a guided tour of craft beer tastings and learn industry tidbits on brewing and brand building.

Ale Trails: Midwest
September takes us to the Midwest, home to many favorite Oktoberfest brews and beer halls.

Thursday, Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30
7 to 9:30 p.m.
PROED-0011-650, $75

Ale Trails: California and Pacific Northwest
As the weather turns crisp in October, join us as we venture to sunny California, origin of the American craft brewing movement, and up to the legendary Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28
7 to 9:30 p.m.
PROED-0011-660, $75

Beer Tracks: A Farm -To-Glass Experience

Craft brewmasters and homebrewers have redefined what great beer can taste like and look like. Many of today’s favorite styles far surpass the strict regulations of Reinheitsgebot, the beer purity law dating back to 1516. Our course is an exploration
in the ingredients that make all beers—especially craft brews—what they are. Let’s follow the beer tracks, from a brewmaster’s first inspiration to the farm fields, all the way to a nice, frosted pint glass. Together we explore tastes, trends and other influences like the farm-to-table movement that can affect the craft brewing industry. We’ll give you a suggested list of beers to buy on your own and taste with us as a class.

Beer Tracks: Malts
For September, we explore what makes many Oktoberfest brews so appealing—rich malt.

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 21 and 28
6 to 8:30 p.m.
PROED-0011-850, $69

Advisory Board

Key figures in craft beer from the Chicago area serve on the Business of Craft Beer Program advisory board to identify course content, develop curriculum and instruct courses.


Employment opportunities in the craft beer industry are available through the three-tier system of brewers, wholesalers and retailers, as well as associated fields. This industry continues to see an increase in U.S. breweries with 6,266 craft breweries in operation in 2017, a 16% increase from 2016.  There are over 200 craft breweries in Illinois producing 385,874 barrels of craft beer each year with a 2.6 million dollar economic impact.  

The craft brewing industry contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, and more than 456,000 jobs. More than 128,000 jobs are directly at breweries and brewpubs. Source:

To learn more about the program, teaching opportunities or hosting a course please contact contact Jenifer Walsh, program manager, at (630) 942-3045 or  

Contact Information

Continuing Education
Student Resource Center (SRC), Room 1110, (630) 942-2208
Fax: (630) 942-3785