A new program at San Diego Mesa College is preparing students for a variety of careers in San Diego’s $1.2 billion craft beer industry.
“The industry is strong here and the industry needs professionals. So we’re trying to help with that situation,” said Brian Lesson, Associate Professor of Hospitality and Fermentation.
The 30-unit Fermentation Management Certification Program not only teaches students the basics of brewing, it also focuses on the business side. The courses offered include sales and marketing, law, accounting, importing, distribution and operations.
“You’re learning from brewers. You’re learning from owners, operators. You’re learning from wine professionals in the industry currently,” Lesson said.
Brian Mohler is part of the program’s inaugural class.
Mohler is already a Certified Cicerone and wants to be a beer journalist. He said he’s looking forward to learning all he can from those industry professionals.
“We get to go on a field trip to White Labs. We’re gonna go on a field trip to a brewery. It’s really great to be able to immerse yourself in this rich brewing tradition that’s been going on a long time and has really made San Diego the Capital of Craft,” Mohler said.
Although beer is a big part of the program, it will focus on other fermented beverages as well, many of which are also gaining popularity in San Diego.
“San Diego is known for beer, but there’s so much else out there right now,” said adjunct faculty member Kevin Rhodes, who co-founded Groundswell Brewing in 2013. “Kombucha, meadery, cidery, coffee, tea. There’s so much fermented beverage going on, that there’s gotta be at least 250 companies out there looking for qualified people,” Rhodes said.
Mohler is hoping the Certificate in Fermentation Management will help him stand out, and eventually open his own brewery.
“If you learn, and you get good, and you have a good product, you can do it. So, that’s still a dream for me,” Mohler said.