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. Those interested in the Craft Beer Industry Professional Program can participate in the track of courses in the spring and fall semesters. The Craft Beer Entrepreneurship track will be offered in the spring. 

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.

Offered in the Fall and Spring Semesters

  • Foundations of Craft Beer 
  • Introduction to the Craft Beer Industry
  • Promoting Beer as a Brand Ambassador
  • Front-of-House Beer Management
  • An elective
  • Craft Beer Industry Capstone

More information on Craft Beer Industry Professional Program Track

Offered in the Spring Semester Only

  • Foundations of Craft Beer
  • Introduction to the Craft Beer Industry
  • The Real Business of Craft Beer
  • Craft Beer Entrepreneurship
  • An elective
  • Craft Beer Industry Capstone

More information on Craft Beer Entrepreneurship Program Track

Beer lovers and friends, join us for adventures along American’s Ale Trails. This series of courses will transport you to some of the best beer places in America. We will virtually visit breweries and brewpubs, and learn the stories behind some of our favorite craft beers and newcomers. You will enjoy a guided tour of craft beer tastings and learn industry tidbits on brewing and brand-building. We will provide you a recommended list of beer brands to purchase on your own and enjoy with us “in class”.  I

June: Colorado

July: Mid-South, Bourbon Trail, Great Smoky Mountains

August: New England

September: Midwest

October: California and the Pacific Northwest

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 will 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.

June: Hops

July: Seltzers

August: Sours

September: Malts

Information Session

Tuesday, July 27 at 6:00 p.m.
Virtual Session
Register Today!

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.  (

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

Request More Information

Go to our General Information page to request more information.

Contact Information

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

All COD facilities are closed to the public until further notice. Please call us If you have questions about a course or need assistance with registration. You can also reach us by email at at any time.