Skip to main content

Craft Distilling

Craft Distilling

This program provides applicable and necessary hands-on training, and is committed to the promotion of sustainable production practices. Specific areas of instruction include fermentation theory and application, maturation and blending of spirits, sensory evaluation, and quality assurance and management in a distillery environment.

Dates: This five month program consists of four online courses, each four weeks long, finishing with a capstone 5-day blended field study and concurrent online class. The program runs from the beginning of May to the end of September.

  • Distilling Quality Management
  • Fermentation Theory
  • Theory of Distillery Operations
  • Blending, Maturation, and Sensory Evaluation of Spirits
  • Practical Distilling (Directed Field Study) - ALL of the above courses must be completed prior to taking the field study

Length of Program: 4 Weeks/Course

Delivery: Blended Online with 1 week mandatory field school in a Distillery


Credential: Non-credit Certificate of Professional and Continuing Education

Registration Deadline: 2 weeks prior to course start date. Pending availability; late registrations may be accepted with a late fee. Limited space available so register early.

Pre-requisites: Students must be 18 years of age prior to enrolment. It is highly recommended that students have a minimum Grade 11 education and some background in brewing, distilling or wine-making. It is not mandatory to have taken Brewmaster & Brewery Operations Management although many graduates continue into the Craft Distilling Certificate. All four courses must be completed before taking the Practical Distilling course.

By the end of the program you will be able to:

  • use distillation and fermentation techniques to produce and package high quality spirits
  • evaluate the consistency, quality, and flavour of distilled spirits
  • adjust spirit recipes, ingredients, or production processes in response to quality or flavour concerns
  • create spirits that align with target market interests
  • establish and implement appropriate quality controls and processes throughout the production, packaging, and distribution of spirits
  • comply with applicable provincial, federal, and international regulatory and trade requirements to produce, package, and distribute spirits safely and legally
  • demonstrate effective communication and personal management skills in the workplace

Required Text & Material:  The Alcohol Textbook ; 6th Edition, Edited by G.M. Walker, C. Abbas, W.M. Ingledew, C. Pilgrim.   Approximate Cost:  approx. $275 USD.  (

Note that the textbook is the responsibility of the student. Please wait until 1 week prior to the course start date to purchase materials  as the courses will be cancelled if minimum enrolment is not received.

Olds College students will receive 10% off, use the link above and fill in the form. You will be emailed back, reply that you are an Olds College student and the discount will be included in your payment link.

Suggested reading, but not required:

  • Palmer, J. & Colin Kiminski, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers, Brewers Publications, 2013 - Cost for Student: Approx. $20

  • Mallett, J., Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse, Brewers Publications, 2014 - Cost for Student: Approx. $20

  • White, C. & Jamil Zainasheff, Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation, Brewers Publications, 2010 - Cost for Student: Approx. $20

  • Cantwell, Dick, Starting Your Own Brewery, Brewers Association 2nd Edition, Brewers Publications, 2013 - Cost for Student: Approx. $95
  • Priest, F.G. & Stewart, G.G., Handbook of Brewing, Boca Raton: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2006 , 2nd Edition

  • Malts and Malting – D.E. Briggs, partially online (

Admission Requirements: Students must be 18 years of age prior to enrolment. It is highly recommended that students have a minimum Grade 11 education and some background in brewing, distilling or wine-making.

Course Details

Theory of Distillery Operations | DST 7000

Dates: April 8 - May 10, 2024
Cost: $799 + GST
Prerequisites: None
Delivery Method: Online

Students will learn the theory of distillation, distillation process equipment, and basic distillery practices. This course provides the background knowledge and theory that is necessary for the hands-on application that is offered in the Practical Distilling field study. Students will start their training in all aspects of the theory of distilled products.

Blending, Maturation, and Sensory Evaluation of Spirits | DST 7002

Dates: July 2 - August 2, 2024
Cost: $799 + GST
Prerequisites: None
Delivery Method: Online

This course addresses common sensory descriptors and provides training for accurately detecting positive flavour contributors as well as taints and off flavours in distilled spirits. Sensory evaluation techniques will be discussed along the entire production spectrum from raw materials to final packaged products. Finishing spirits and flavour additions will be discussed along with the art of blending to achieve flavour targets. Students will also learn how the storage of spirits in wood and other types of materials can affect the final flavour of the spirit, and the chemical changes that occur during aging distilled products.

Fermentation Theory | DST 7003

Dates: May 21 - June 21, 2024
Cost: $799 + GST
Prerequisites: None
Delivery Method: Online

In this course students will learn about the most common ingredients used in the production of distilled spirits. From the field to processing and through fermentation, the raw materials and their role in spirit production will be examined. Students will also learn about the microbiology of fermentation and the role different microorganisms play in the distillery.

Distilling Quality Management | DST 7004

Dates: August 12 - September 13, 2024
Cost: $799 + GST
Prerequisites: None
Delivery Method: Online

In this course, students will learn the basics for ensuring government compliance surrounding the production and sale of spirits. Quality management systems including hygiene and cleaning systems, their role in quality and profitability will also be discussed. Process control technology and automation in guaranteeing the quality of marketed products and branding will be addressed.


Practical Distilling (Directed Field Study) | DST 7001

Students will apply the distillery practices from the Craft Distilling program in a hands-on environment and assisting in the production of the commercial spirits. Students will be exposed to all aspects of production, from raw material processing through packaging.
This is the capstone course for the certificate, drawing on previous courses, and providing a hands-on component to learning a 5 day/35 hour field school component is required.  

Important Note: Students are responsible for securing a field placement prior to registering for this course. 

Course Length:  4 weeks online, 1 week/35 hour field school at a working distillery.

Course Dates: Monthly Enrollment starting on the 2nd Wednesday of every month


  • Fermentation Theory

  • Blending, Maturation, and Sensory Evaluation of Spirits

  • Theory of Distillery Operations

  • Distilling Quality Management

Location: Online instructor lead course & approved distillery. If you are eligible to enroll in this course after successfully completing the 4 courses listed you will have been emailed information regarding the process for registration. Please refer to that document for more information. Students are responsible for securing a distillery to complete 35hours/1 week of practical work which exposes them to specific competencies. An online instructor-led course is part of this course to help structure your time at the distillery. For more information please contact

Costs & Fees for Field Study: $799

Do you need more information?

Field School Partners

Bridgeland Distillery