Distillation Methods and Operations Diploma

brewing equipment
Program Code: D15250L2

Distillation Methods and Operations Diploma

This curriculum is designed to prepare individuals for careers in the distillation industry. Classroom instruction, practical laboratory applications distillation principles and practices are included in the program of study.

Coursework includes production, operations, safety and sanitation, and associated process technologies. Related course work is offered in fermentation production and applied craft beverage microbiology and lab methods.

Graduates should qualify for employment opportunities in the distillation industry. Students may be eligible to sit for the professional Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) certification exams which correspond to the program of study.


Specific Program Requirements

  1. General college admissions requirements.
  2. Distillation Methods and Operations is a capped program due to a limited amount of classroom and lab availability. See Selection Criteria and Procedures for Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation on the college admissions office web page for full details. Requirements do include but are not limited to:
    • Documentation of successful completion of High School Chemistry or CHM-092.
    • Demonstrate college-level placement in English and math as outlined in the selection criteria.
    • NCCCS requires that all students must be 21 years of age or older by the start of classes.
    • Student applicants must be able to work in a physically demanding environment including but not limited to standing in a hot and wet work area for extending lengths of time; climbing stairs; repeatedly lifting equipment and product weighing up to 55 lbs., and safely maneuvering by hand equipment that weighs up to 170lbs.
    • Distillation facilities may require a criminal background check and/or drug testing prior to employment or co-op. In addition, national and/or state regulations may prohibit employment or co-op opportunities based on criminal records.

Specific Requirements

Courses requiring a grade of “C” or better: BDF, CHM, WBL

Courses in this program

Course Code Course Credit Hours Link to course details

This course covers sanitation, handling, and safety with fermentation products, facilities, and equipment. Emphasis is placed on the proper chemicals, their selection, handling and storage for sanitation control within the fermentation environment. Upon completion, students should be able to safely maintain the quality and stability of fermentation products. This course will include industry-relevant OSHA and forklift certification training.

This course introduces entry-level skills in craft distilling. Emphasis is placed on distillate production on small scale equipment, sanitation, cereal, molasses and fruit fermentations and how to purify ferments via distillation. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate how to produce small batches of distillate and be able to extrapolate concepts to larger production.

This course introduces technology and mathematical calculations used in craft beverage production. Emphasis is placed on equipment and technology relating to scheduling/record keeping, and recipe development/alcohol control and ingredient usage calculations. Upon completion, students should be able to identify/demonstrate the technology and equipment used in craft beverage production and recipe development.

This course covers the operation of laboratory equipment and basic laboratory techniques which are used in a craft beverage setting. Emphasis is placed on hands-on use and applications of basic craft beverage laboratory techniques including calibrating, troubleshooting, record-keeping, measurement, and laboratory procedure development. Upon completion, students should be able to properly operate and maintain basic laboratory equipment and be able to prepare and test samples in the completion of individual and team projects.

This course introduces chemistry fundamentals as they apply to the brewing and distillation industry. Emphasis is placed on elements impacting brewing/distillation including ingredient analysis/fermentation/production chemicals, and properties of gasses/liquids, pH, and pressure. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate basic chemistry principles/laboratory techniques to assess/control chemical properties associated with major products of the alcoholic beverage industry.

This course provides an activity-based approach that develops measurement skills and mathematical literacy using technology to solve problems for non-math intensive programs. Topics include unit conversions and estimation within a variety of measurement systems; ratio and proportion; basic geometric concepts; financial literacy; and statistics including measures of central tendency, dispersion, and charting of data.  Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate the use of mathematics and technology to solve practical problems and to analyze and communicate results. 

Course Code Course Credit Hours Link to course details

This course introduces students to the basic methodologies used in fermentation. Emphasis is placed on the production of fermented products including ingredients, techniques, fermentation management, storage and sanitation. Upon completion, students should be able to design/produce pilot-scale products to demonstrate how material selection and process conditions can generate different kinds/qualities of products.

This course provides an introduction to microbiology and laboratory practices in the brewing industry. Emphasis is placed on yeast biology, fermentation, microorganisms in brewery’s/distillation and sanitation. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of microbiology, laboratory techniques, and commonly used analysis methodologies applied in the brewing industry.

This course covers the principles and production techniques involved in the distillation of grains, fruits and other carbohydrates associated with craft beverage distillation. Emphasis is placed on materials/processing, fermentation applications, distillation technology, sensory evaluation, quality control, engineering and craft distillery management. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of distillation operations/management and the impact of sanitation, fermentation, maturation, and aging in the production of distillations.

This course introduces the visual, olfactory and gustatory parameters used in the evaluation of beer and distillery products. Emphasis is placed on aromas, finish, flavor/taste interactions and factors affecting product quality, descriptive analysis/model systems, judging systems, set-up and operation for beverage competitions. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate the fundamental principles/practices in sensory analysis and identify elements that influence the sensory qualities of particular craft beverages.

This course covers the laws and regulatory environment particular to the brewing, distillation and fermentation industry. Emphasis is placed on social/ethical responsibilities and the state/federal regulations including licensing, taxation, labeling, record keeping, permits, inspections and laws regarding interstate and international commerce. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the laws and regulations that influence the brewing, distillation and fermentation industry.

This course provides instruction and experience in preparation and delivery of speeches within a public setting and group discussion. Emphasis is placed on research, preparation, delivery, and evaluation of informative, persuasive, and special occasion public speaking. Upon completion, students should be able to prepare and deliver well-organized speeches and participate in a group discussion with appropriate audiovisual support. This is a Universal General Education Transfer Component (UGETC) course that satisfies Communication.

Course Code Course Credit Hours Link to course details

This course provides a work-based learning experience with a college-approved employer in an area related to the student's program of study. Emphasis is placed on integrating classroom learning with related work experience. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate career selection, demonstrate employability skills, and satisfactorily perform work-related competencies.

Total Credit Hours Required:

See advisor for General Education substitutes.

Curriculum is based on the 2021-22 catalog.

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