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Beer and Wine Degrees, Via Broadband

Beer and Wine Degrees, Via Broadband

Alcoholic beverages are a key profit center for many full-service restaurants, but where can you go to learn how to manage this part of the business? A handful of schools have on-campus degree-granting beverage programs. But now Sullivan University in Louisville, KY, is offering an associate’s degree in beverage management that can be earned online. If you want to advance your career, here’s your chance.

There are culinary schools galore located throughout the U.S., so many that anyone who wants to learn how to cook can easily find something to his or her liking and budget. Likewise, there are a wide range of schools that offer food and beverage management degrees where beverage knowledge is at least one component of the overall program.

But you’ll have to search hard to find degree-granting schools that offer a beverage management-specific degree. We could only find a few options, most of those offered by some of the Arts Institute schools located in major cities around the country. They’re fine programs, but are only available on-campus. Which is to say, you’ll need to have the time and the money to, say, move to Atlanta to study for the beverage management degree the Arts Institute offers at its school there. We’d recommend this route for those who can fund it.

But if you can’t, the Sullivan approach looks like a good way to go. Keep your nose to the virtual grindstone and you can complete all the required courses in 18 months. Yet it’s set up so you can keep your day job—or if you work in a restaurant right now, your night job—while you go to school. Plus you don’t have to go through the trouble and expense of moving to another city. It’s a practical approach that should have appeal for many restaurant industry workers who want to move up into management.

So what exactly do your learn at Sullivan? The school says its course of study touches on such key points as production, marketing, alcohol safety, food and beverage pairing, mixology, purchasing and storage. You’ll also learn how to write a business plan for a new bar or restaurant.

The program ‘s director is Albert Schmid, who wrote The Hospitality Manager’s Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits and the Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook.

“In the restaurant industry, beer, wine and cocktail sales are crucial to turning a profit,” Schmid says. “Sullivan’s associate degree program in beverage management gives students the expertise they need to boost the bottom line by moving product effectively and providing superior customer service.”

If you’re serious about a career in the beverage aspect of the restaurant industry, this option might be worth exploring. For more information, go to and click on the “online learning” tab, then on “beverage management.” The program kicks off on March 29, so don’t procrastinate if you’re interested.

Sullivan makes no promise of a job after you complete the course, but our instinct tells us that foodservice operators will be lining up to hire graduates of this program, especially those students who gained some hands-on experience in the industry while they completed their online courses.