Beer boom sparks thirst for Beer Academy training

28 April 2015
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The Beer Academy, the leading global beer education body, is seeing a 20% year-on-year uplift in bookings onto its range of beer appreciation courses, fuelled by a huge growth of interest in all aspects of beer and beer styles.

At the same time, the Beer Academy has reviewed and reworked its programmes in order to offer a more structured training ladder, taking delegates from its Foundation course, through the Advanced and How to Judge Beer programmes, to the respected Beer Sommelier qualification.

Alex Barlow, who joined Beer Academy last year as director of training, said, “The strength of the Beer Academy’s offer has always been its sound grounding in brewing and beer retailing knowledge, which continues to underpin all our courses.

“After training 10,000 delegates over the last decade or so, there was a need to refresh those courses to incorporate developments in the beer industry, and to make sure they worked together as an integrated beer education package that meets the needs of our growing customer base.”

Some of the changes resulting from the programme review include lengthening the How to Judge Beer course from a half to a full day; adding more beer styles to the Advanced course and including a section about the beer market and trends, including craft beer, into the Foundation programme.  In addition, a Beer Academy Beer Styles book is now given to all Foundation delegates, listing the 30+ beer styles to be tasted on the training ‘journey’.

Simon Jackson, executive director of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, which operates the Beer Academy, said, “It’s good to see this increase in uptake for our courses. The explosion of interest in beer is undoubtedly a leading factor, as growing numbers of operators realise the importance of stocking a full range of beers, and actively promoting them to customers.

“Beer Academy training engages and enthuses staff, enabling them to talk knowledgeably about beer, advise customers on their beer choices or recommend a match to their meal.  Not only does our training increase beer sales, it also enhances customers’ overall experience of the pub or bar and, ultimately, adds to the bottom line.”

Feedback to the new-style courses has been very positive. Barlow added, “Delegates like seeing a clear progression in their beer expertise, from Foundation right up to becoming a Beer Sommelier, with a recognised, respected qualification after each stage.

“Our longer, more rigorous How to Judge course is ideal for beer buyers, helping them to make good beer choices, and has been welcomed by brewers as equipping judges at beer competitions with the skills to assess beers from a more professional perspective. In the long run, this should ensure that only the best beers come through as winners in competitions, as well as lifting the quality of beers overall.”

Beer Academy courses are held frequently in London and a number of regional centres including Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Leeds, with more venues coming on stream later this year.