GraduationI completed the UCSD Extension Brewing Certificate in 18 months along with 9 other students. I am extremely proud and excited to have graduated in the inaugural class as the first woman to complete the program, with many more to come. The graduation celebration was held at the new Ballast Point tasting room in Miramar on Dec 6th, 2014.

At the graduation ceremony I got to see all of my friends from the program and catch up about our internships and future plans. Gwen Conley from The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing was there encouraging and supporting each and every one of us! We gathered around to hear Yuseff Cherney give an incredibly inspiring speech; to see him in the thriving and packed Ballast Point tasting room was inspiration enough for all of us.  We took turns standing in front of the copper brew kettle for photos with our diplomas. Yuseff took us on a tour of the brewery and we enjoyed some celebratory beers in a private tasting room. Teresa, the UCSD Extension program coordinator, was incredibly kind and gave a speech about each graduate — talk about feeling special!

I am happy to have finished the program and am so excited for those just starting the journey. I hope to follow up with some stories of my classmates and where they have landed in the industry. My newest adventure will be as part of the marketing team for The Pink Boots Society, a non-profit that encourages, educates, and connects women in the brewing industry.  Thank you for following along on my journey through the program. I have enjoyed writing about it and sharing my experiences.



If you would like to see all of my posts about the program please visit my Archives page.

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Marketing Internship

Karl_Strauss_1The sun set over the Karl Strauss Brewery during the last class of the classroom portion of the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program, and about a week later I saw the sun rise over the brewery as I embarked on my first day of my internship with the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. I knew going into the internship portion of the program that I wanted an internship that focused on the business side of the industry and had the opportunity to interview with the marketing team at Karl. I have been immersed in the world of beer marketing now for about eight weeks and I am just coming up for air, excited to share what I have been learning.

My internship started out with an “on-boarding” process that exposed me to all different areas within Karl Strauss.  I showed up in brewing clothes on my first day and helped brew a batch of Red Trolley, then changed into business attire for meetings with the Event Team Manager and VP of Marketing – and of course, later realized I still had malt on my face and hair from milling. My favorite part of the on-boarding process was the sales ride-along where I got to visit all of the downtown accounts with the sales rep, and was blown away by how many accounts she visits in a day.

After the on-boarding process, I got down to business with my marketing projects. I have projects that range from helping at events, to building out tasting menus for beer and cheese/chocolate pairings to be featured in the tasting room, evaluating social media platforms for user engagement, and studying beer markets in Northern and Southern California. The projects are aggressive for a 10 week long internship, but I am in the corporate office two full days a week and attending events in my free time.

For one of my projects I got to work a beer and seafood event at the Hotel Del in Coronado and loved getting to talk with people about Karl’s beer. Another project had me attending a beer and food pairing dinner at Barleymash in downtown San Diego, experiencing amazing food and beer combinations, and putting my rusty bartending skills to the test. I learned a lot from Karl’s Brand Ambassador as he followed up the Barleymash chef, describing the pairing and the specific attributes of each beer.Jockey BoxIMG_0432

On my days off I frequent Venissimo Cheese and Eclipse Chocolate, searching for the perfect combination to pair with my cheese and chocolate presentation to the marketing team. I am learning how a pairing can be turned into a marketing tool in the tasting room.Pairing

These are the glamorous aspects I dreamed of in the brewing industry – instagram worthy – but the marketing team also works extremely hard doing the behind the scenes tasks, hours spent on the computer researching beer markets, price points, sending marketing emails, and wearing just about every other hat needed. I have been graciously taken out to lunch by everyone on the marketing team and learned about their projects and roles within the company. I was very excited to meet the Creative Services Manager who does all of Karl’s graphic design and wore a Peanut Butter Porter shirt he designed out to lunch. :)

My internship has been an incredible learning experience and I am extremely grateful that I got to do my internship at Karl Strauss. I am looking forward to my future in the beer industry and encourage those who are passionate about beer to check out the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program and to also look into the scholarship opportunity offered by Karl Strauss!Desk



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The Grand Finale

I finished the classroom portion of the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program two months ago and have become immersed in the world of my internship. Before I start sharing about my internship experience I would love to take a step back and tell you about the finale of the classroom portion of the program. My last class in the program was Operations Management taught by Karl Strauss’ Brewmaster Paul Segura.

Operations Management is a very practical class and goes into the daily operations and management of a brewery. Paul covered everything from safety protocols in the brewery to establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) for brewers. We studied different management structures for small and midsize breweries and discussed hiring practices. I was particularly interested in Paul’s lecture discussing communication strategy between the brewery production team, marketing, and sales teams and how the teams collaborate to create production schedules and point of sales material.  Operations Management tied together topics we covered in previous classes such as how to calculate the true cost of production, initially taught in financial management. I was glad that I took this class towards the end of the program as it was great to revisit topics from other courses and have it applied to the daily operation of a brewery.

For our final class we got to tour the Karl Strauss Brewery, a rare opportunity since Karl does not offer tours to the public due to limited space in the brewery. During the tour we sampled Tower 10 and Red Trolley straight from the bright tank and watched the sun set behind towers of Karl kegs. It was an iconic end to the classroom portion of the program set in a brewery that is credited with starting the craft beer movement in San Diego 25 years ago.Karl_kegs2Karl_pigtailKarl_BreweryKarl_lab

Nine students from the first cohort finished the classroom portion of the program and moved on to internships at local breweries. The first wave of students to participate in the Fall 2014 internship have chosen to do their internships at Karl Strauss, The Lost Abbey, O’Sullivan Brothers Brewery, Ballast Point, and Council Brewing. I wish my friends in the program the best of luck and I look forward to working with them in the beer industry. I hope to follow up with a few of them and share their stories and experiences post graduation.The Nine

Pairing Passion

Avant Garde

Gwen Conley is teaching the Food Pairings and Beer Dinners class in UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program and she is helping students find their “paring passion.”  Paring passion is that moment when food and beer meet to create something unexpected, enhancing elements of both food and beer. Gwen led us on an exploration of paring, packing the three lectures that make up this one-unit elective with food and wonderful beer.

The Food Pairing class is a perfect complement to the Sensory Evaluation class also taught by Gwen. While Sensory Evaluation goes deeply into the flavor profile of beer styles, Food Pairing and Beer Dinners draws on that knowledge of how to break down the basic elements of a beer’s flavor profile to match the beer’s tastes and aromas with food. I am not a chef and much prefer fermenting things to cooking them so I felt intimidated at the thought of pairing a beer with an entire meal, but Gwen focused on simple pairings that showed how basic tastes interact.  During our first lecture we reviewed the basic tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami – and their potential interactions. We learned how to create a relationship between beer and food using the concepts of cut, complement, and contrast. We discussed how the texture, sound, and temperature of food can affect our perceptions of the beer pairing.  Beer was paired with carrot juice and a raw carrot to see how our perceptions of flavor change with different textures. We looked at how the fat and sourness of a lemon cookie complemented the biscuit malt characteristic of The Lost Abbey’s Avant Guarde.  Although these pairings are not a glamorous multicourse dinner – and believe me, the carrot juice one was a little rough – they taught us how basic flavors interact and helped us to the build a foundation of pairing knowledge.

My favorite piece of information from this class is that carbon dioxide, bitterness, and high alcohol can intensify spiciness by spreading the capsaicin around the mouth and opening up the pores. Using this new pairing knowledge, I invited some of my spicy food loving friends over and served a jalapeño burger with a double IPA, matching the intensity of the burger with an incredibly hoppy beer.  My friends were shocked at the increased spiciness. I did have a sweet porter on hand for those who didn’t like the pairing because we also learned that “sweet kills heat.”

The final class was an experience I wish every beer lover could have: it involved eight different cheeses, eight different types of chocolate, and thirteen different beers.  Gwen talked us through the pairings and left the class to play in the beer and food sensory playground. Some people exclaimed with joy when they found their pairing passion while others groaned when they found a pairing “train wreck.”  Although there are basic guidelines to pairing everyone is different and no pairing will reach 100% of the people in the audience, so have fun and find your pairing passion and experiment.  If you are interested in reading more about beer and food pairing Gwen recommend the book “The Brewmaster’s Table”  by Garrett Oliver.  Here are three beer and cheese pairings from the class I would suggest trying:

  • Asiago Cheese with The Lost Abbey’s Inferno (Belgian Strong Ale)
  • English Cheddar with Chiles and Spices with The Lost Abbey’s Judgment Day (Quad)
  • Manchego with the Lost Abbey’s Lost and Found (Abbey Dubbel)Cheese


How Much for that Pint?


In Financial Management for Breweries we are going over how to calculate what it costs to make a pint of beer. Our class is taught by Matt Dolman, a financial consultant for breweries. So far we have gone over basic financial statements: Statements of Operations, Income Statements, and Cash Flow Statements. Our first homework assignment was to fill out a mock Statement of Operations for a brewery. Having never taken a finance class in my life I was able to complete the homework after a good two hours at a local Barnes & Noble reading Finance for Dummies.

I often wonder when paying six dollars for my favorite pint, how much does it actually cost to make the beer before distribution and retail mark ups. I am learning that there are quite a few factors that go into calculating the cost of the beer other than just raw materials.  The cost of direct labor, direct labor overhead (PR taxes, bonus, workers’ compensation, health insurance), indirect labor, indirect labor overhead, rent, utilities, cleaning chemicals, and the cost of kegging or bottling are all a part of the equation.  I felt overwhelmed when trying to figure out how to break down the calculations, but Matt walked us through it step-by-step. For example, to calculate the cost of cleaning chemicals needed to produce a barrel of beer, we would take the amount of money spent on cleaning chemicals each month multiplied by 12 months and divided by the number of barrels produced by the brewery in a year. Most things are calculated in cost per barrel which can later be converted to gallons, kegs, or pints. Here is a simplified example of how to calculate the cost of a pint of beer. (I have made up all the numbers in this example and they do not necessary reflect industry standards.)

 First we will calculate the cost of raw materials needed for 15 barrels of beer. Examples of raw materials would include yeast, hops, additives, water, and utilities. Let’s say to produce 15 barrels of a fictional Coffee Porter the total raw material cost is $1,000.

Now we need to calculate the cost of labor in producing the 15 barrels of Coffee Porter.  If it takes 15 hours to brew, monitor, rack and filter the beer that would break down to be one hour of labor per barrel. Assuming a $20.00 per hour pay rate for a brewer it would cost $20.00 in labor per barrel.

Rent must also be included in the cost of the beer.  If a brewery is 1800 square feet and pays $1.00 per square foot and brews 200 barrels per month the cost of rent per barrel is $9.00.

Let’s say we are going to keg the fictional Coffee Porter so we need to calculate the cost of kegging per barrel. That cost will include the keg rental, cap and collar on the keg, labor, utilities, and rent for kegging area.  I am estimating the cost of kegging to be $20.00/barrel including all of the factors above.

Assuming a 100% brewing efficiency rate :) the cost to produce one barrel of the Coffee Porter  including raw materials, rent, labor, and kegging would be $115.66 so the final cost of a half barrel with 15.5 gallons will be $57.83. There are 124 pints in a half barrel so the cost of one of our pints is $0.46.

So how does that pint still cost $6.00?

Not included in the raw calculations so far is the cost of distribution and retail. The brewery sells the beer at a higher price to the distributor in order to make a profit. The brewery can also choose to self-distribute and must factor in the distribution costs of around 26%. The distributor sells the beer at a higher price to the retailer, who in turn marks up the final price. I recently read this article discussing how retailers decide to price a beer.

In class we have also been going over some critical forms that must be filled out by breweries such as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau excise tax form and the State of California Board of Equalization tax form as well as the TTB Brewer’s Report of Operations. Quite a few people working in breweries commented on how helpful it was to go over the Brewer’s Report of Operations in such detail.  Our group project was to fill out a Brewer’s Report of Operations given numbers from a mock brewery. Next week we will be going over how to fill out a Distribution and Beverage Manufacturer Report for the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Who knew filling out tax forms could be so fun when you are working with mock numbers and don’t actually have to pay anything. :)

Financial Forms

Toronto, Canada

RattleSnakePointI am very lucky that I have family located in some of the best beer tourism spots in the world. This year between Spring and Summer Quarter of the UCSD Extension Brewing Program I traveled to Toronto, Canada to visit my family and taste some beer!

I checked out a few beer tour/tasting options that were recommended to me before I started the trip (Craft Beer Passport and the Beer Lovers Tour Co.) but decided I love to explore breweries more organically and feel confined by tour groups and time schedules. Instead of the tours, we borrowed some bikes and mapped out a bike path to a few local breweries.

Weaving in and out of local shoppers on our bikes, our first stop was Kensington Brewery located in the vibrant Kensington Market. We rode up and down the five blocks that make up the market for an hour and could not find the brewery; we asked locals and were sent in many different directions. Eventually we gave up and turned our attention to finding some tacos, which we found at Seven Lives.  It turns out the Kensington Brewery is moving and the new location is under construction. Beer is brewed through contract sites. (We did get to try their canned Big Eye PA at the Toronto airport before the flight home.)KensingtonBrewingCo

Next stop on our bike tour was Steam Whistle Brewery. We made it through all the downtown rush hour traffic and emerged at one of the most picturesque breweries I have ever seen. Steam Whistle is located in the historic John Street Roundhouse, which once functioned as a Canadian Pacific Rail steam locomotive repair facility; the CN Tower hovers in the background. Steam Whistle Brewery only makes Pilsner. Their slogan is “Do one thing well.” I enjoyed the free sample of beer and jumped in with a tour group for a look around the brewery. Feeling energized by the refreshing Pilsner, we hopped on our bikes to finish our day in the Distillery District.Steam_Whistle

Mill St. Brewery is located in the famous Distillery District which was once the site of The Gooderham and Worts Distillery, also known to be the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian industrial architecture in North America. Again, we were offered free samples of the beer upon entering the brewery. I would recommend the Cobblestone Stout, and I also enjoyed their Lemon Tea Beer, a wheat beer infused with tea; it tasted fantastic after a long bike ride. After a quick snack and a stop at the Mill St. store to stock up on beer for dinner, we were back on the road joining the biking commuters on their way home from work. I held up about twenty commuters as I tried to keep the beers from wobbling in my bike basket – precious cargo!MillStreet_DistilleryDistrict

Although we only dedicated one day to exploring breweries, great local beer punctuated each day. We enjoyed some Amsterdam Big Wheel Amber while attending The Urban Roots Music Festival. We spent a day in the beautiful Bellwoods Park and walked to the Bellwoods Brewery where we got to try some farmhouse ale called Farmageddon, a 100% brettanomyces fermented ale.Farmageddon

This was our first trip trying AirB&B and we loved it! We booked a private room in a whimsical cottage about two blocks from Kensington Market and our host was amazing. She showed us great local coffee shops and even put me in contact with a local brewery owner. The art, the tastes, and the sounds of this trip are unforgettable. Toronto is definitely one of my favorite beer tourism spots.


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You can quote me…

Mill St. Brewery wallpaper

Recently, I wrote an article about the different beer education opportunities available in San Diego for the West Coaster Magazine. I elicited the help of a lot of my friends/students in the UCSD Extension Brewing Program for quotes to use in the article, asking why they chose the UCSD Extension Brewing Program and what has been their favorite part of the program. I only had room for a few quotes for the article, but I wanted to share all of the quotes here. Hopefully the quotes will provide some perspective and insight into the program from other students.



I had been on the waiting list for UC Davis for the last 3 years when I heard about the UCSD Brewing Certificate program and applied.  I was accepted into the UCSD program right away to become part of the first class of students.  Because of the shorter waiting list, lower costs, and night schedule of classes, I chose to attend UCSD’s program rather than the UC Davis program.  I was able to get through the UCSD program while working.  The program has even helped me land my dream position as a Quality Lab Assistant.


It has been an amazing experience learning from the top brewing professions in the industry.  Within San Diego, and perhaps the world, names like Chris White, Yuseff Cherney, Peter Zien, Patrick Rue, Tomme Aurthur…etc are well known.   There is no other program that offers such a diverse group of teachers that are active professionals within the brewing industry.

I have also met a great group of students from diverse backgrounds.  It has been a great source of networking and meeting new friends.


I decided on the UCSD Extension Brewing Program because of the balanced curriculum and unique opportunity to learn from the founders of the San Diego craft beer scene. I am looking forward to the required internship which I believe will be very helpful before applying for jobs in the industry.

The best thing about the program so far has been making new friends who share the same passion for craft beer.  I am grateful for starting these relationships and hope to one day work alongside these future professionals.


For me, one look at the list of instructors and proposed curriculum was enough to convince me that the program would have the breadth and depth to cover what an aspiring nano-brewer would need to know.  There is a large gap between homebrewing and the technical and quality-focused aspects – not to mention the business aspects – of scaling-up to even a small commercial operation, and I hoped that the program would be able to bridge that gap.  It certainly has.  

Somewhat surprisingly, I found that the local industry is mature enough to provide opportunities for students to get involved by putting their professional backgrounds to use.  As these companies grow, the need for professionals – accountants, engineers, scientists – will increase.  Having a technical understanding of the science of brewing will better prepare these professionals to find a place in the industry.  Turns out, we don’t all need to open our own brewery.

And if all I took away from the program were the tips that I learned from Mitch’s, Chris’ and Gwen’s classes, it still would have been worthwhile.  I think my own brewing has improved as a result of putting their advice into practice.


I chose the brewing program because I wanted guided assistance with transitioning to a new industry and education from the brewing industry’s experts.  I see a lot of my own values overlapping with the industry: strong work/business ethics, community outreach/support, collaborative, and a strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit.  This program offers a focus on the science and technology of brewing, which appealed to me because I’m looking for technical knowledge and experience, even if I’m planning on supporting the business side of the industry.  The best way to make business decisions is to understand all the parts that make the whole and how they each impact each other.  I felt that this program would be a perfect blend of learning for what I’m interested in pursuing.  

My favorite part has been the passion and accessibility of the professors and guest lecturers.  I’ve seen a genuine desire to teach and develop the industry’s future brewers, scientists, and business people by building a foundation for a lifelong path of learning.  The connections made within our cohort and professors has been invaluable in my life and I’m extremely thankful for the experience.


 Thanks to my friends for taking the time to write these quotes! My article about beer education comes out in the West Coaster in August. I hope you will check it out!

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Internship List


Last week UCSD Extension announced the local breweries participating in the internship portion of the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Certificate Program.  Students who have completed their course requirements can apply for an internship at one of fifteen breweries. Smaller breweries will take on one student, while larger breweries will be taking on one or two students per quarter.  The first internships will begin Fall Quarter 2014.

Breweries offering internships to UCSD Extension Brewing Certificate Students:

  • Stone Brewing Co.
  • AleSmith Brewing Co.
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
  • Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits
  • ChuckAlek Independent Brewers 
  • Council Brewing Co.
  • Culture Brewing Co.
  • Dos Desperados
  • Hess Brewing
  • O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co.
  • Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey
  • Rip Current Brewing Co. 
  • Rough Draft Brewing Co.
  • Twisted Manzanita Ales
  • White Labs
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The final step in completing UCSD Extension’s Brewing Certificate Program is a ten week internship at a local brewery. The internship portion is what initially attracted me to the UCSD Extension’s program. It is important to me to have hands on experience in the industry, and this internship provides the perfect opportunity. My experience in the program has broadened my horizons as to the different types of careers available in the brewing industry. I started the program with the intention of going into a quality control position since it fits well with my background and experience as a scientist, but I have found that I love writing and the business side of the industry. An internship will provide me with a perfect opportunity to explore these interests further.

Students are eligible to enroll in the internship portion of the program when they have completed their course work (electives may be taken concurrently with the internship). Internships will be offered in two areas: Science and Technology of Brewing and The Business of Brewing. Internships will be offered for the first time Fall Quarter 2014.

UCSD Extension is currently working on creating contracts with local breweries who will be participating in the program. Students nearing completion of the program will be emailed a list of participating breweries during the summer and it will be our responsibility to contact the brewery. We were advised to be prepared for an interview process and to have our resumes ready. Once we have an internship in place, we will contact the internship coordinator at UCSD Extension to let her know where we will be doing our internship. The internship will be 120 hours over a 10 week period. We will report to a supervisor at the brewery weekly and will fulfill all of the objectives from an Objective Checklist provided by UCSD Extension.

Here is a list of the course work that needs to be completed before the internship portion of the program:

Part 1: The Science and Technology of Brewing

Part 2: The Business of Brewing

Electives (2 units required)

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Wanted: Sales Representative


Where am I?

A Southern California Costco! Ok, so that’s not all that exciting and I don’t always photo document my trips to big box stores, but I wanted to highlight the amount of local craft beer that is available at Costco. I had to search quite awhile to find any other beer; it was stacked along a back wall between the baby diapers and toilet paper. Due to the local sales reps in the San Diego craft brewing industry and insightful purchasing managers at Costco, our favorite local brews are available while we stock up on other supplies.

In our final class of Marketing and Distribution, Arlan Arnsten focused on the fourth “P” of marketing: People. He specifically focused on sales people. As the former Sr. VP of Sales at Stone Brewing Company he provided incredible insight into the world of sales and practical knowledge of how to be a successful sales representative for a brewery. If you have any interest in going into sales in the brewing industry I highly recommend this class!

I am constantly seeing job postings in the brewing industry for brewery sales representatives, and I have wondered what it takes to be a sales rep. In class we went over the qualities that are often possessed by great sales people. A sales person is outgoing, interesting, presentable, hardworking, tenacious, empathetic, fearless, and honest. Not all sales people have every single one of these qualities, but it is likely they possess a majority of these qualities. Below is a video of Zig Ziglar, a famous motivational speaker and salesman, which highlights the qualities of a great sales person and would make anyone proud to call sales their profession.

We went over the role of the sales department in a brewery. The structure of the sales team is often: sales manager, sales representatives, and merchandisers. When breweries are small the owner may be the entire sales team. :)  The sales team is responsible for setting up accounts, finding prospects, making cold calls, giving presentations, introducing new products to accounts, and following up with accounts. If a brewery is not working with a distributor, the sales team will deliver / pick up empty kegs and do the invoicing. If a brewery is working with a distributor, the sales team will do ride-alongs, presentations to the distributor, and prospect accounts. The brewery’s sales team will work closely with a “brand manager” at the distributor. The role of the brand manager is to communicate the brewery’s message and product to the distributor’s sales team. Distributors may have large portfolios, so it is critical that a brewery be able to effectively communicate with the brand manager. I found it interesting that working with a distributor does not necessarily replace the need for a brewery’s sales team.

Arlan walked us through a successful day of a sales representative, with twenty different visits / interactions within the day. He talked about assigning geographical channels to sales reps to minimize driving time and how it can be beneficial to specify sales reps to work solely on different types of accounts such as “on premises” accounts, large box store accounts, or grocery chain accounts. He demonstrated conversations between the sales rep and the retailer and outlined the best times to visit accounts. Arlan stressed that it is important to listen, to do more than expected, to care about the customer’s business, and to keep moving in order to succeed in sales!