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Online Distillery Startup Workshop

Click here for a FREE, on-demand webinar with instructor Paul Hughes.

The production of distilled spirits is a diverse, mature industry, and it is currently changing quickly as new distilleries and the craft movement reshape the market. Our Distillery Startup Workshop gives you the knowledge and skills needed to enter this market and launch your own unique distillery.

Oregon State University's Food Science and Technology department is world renowned for their work in beer, cider, wine and spirits. With our Distillery Startup Workshop, you will train with the same industry-leading experts working in other areas at the university.

Start Your Own Distillery with Expert Guidance on the Business of Whiskey, Vodka, Gin, Tequila and More

In our expert-led online distillery workshop, you will:

  • Learn essential information on relevant practical aspects of making a new spirit and finishing the product.
  • Interact with practical demonstrations of distillation.
  • Address the challenge of adjusting alcohol content to legal requirements.

After completing the online distillery lecture, join us in a series of online labs where you will observe various aspects of distilling including proofing, fermentation start-up, distillation itself and product evaluation.

Focus on the Business of Distilling

In the online distilling course, you will learn the business of spirits so you can successfully begin and maintain your own distillery and eliminate common (and costly) mistakes.

Whether you want to learn how to start a craft distillery start working for an existing operation or just want to learn how to distill, this course will provide you with the essential knowledge you need.

By the end of the program, you will:

  • Gain essential information on necessary distilling equipment, production licenses, permits, laws and more.
  • Know how to develop an effective business plan to ensure your operation is a success.
  • Develop an explicit understanding of the various business models commonly employed by new-to-industry distillers.
  • Master the multiple impacts of various spirits on production requirements.
  • Understand foundational analytical and proofing requirements for spirits production.
  • Gain insight into the legislation, excise and licensing of spirits with a federal and state emphasis.
  • Consider the potential impact of licensing and taxes on cash-flow.

You will also gain an introduction to labeling requirements and explore new product development and innovations.

Learn Directly From an International Distilling Expert and Consultant

This distillery course is led by Oregon State University professor Paul Hughes.

Paul spent a decade working as a research scientist with Heineken International and has also served as an industry consultant. He holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of London and a Master in Business Administration with a specialization in innovation. He has co-authored two textbooks (one on beer, one on whisky), four patents, and more than 60 peer-reviewed and conference papers. Paul came to Oregon State University in 2015 to establish a dedicated distilled spirits program and training and loves debunking common myths around distilling.

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New dates coming soon!
price (2)
Just online lectures: $1000
(+ $60 registration fee)
Online lab: $595
(Prerequisite: online portion)

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Question: Would this distilling class be useful for people from other states even though the legal focus is on Oregon?

Yes! Though the legal focus is on Oregon, the majority of the distilling content focuses on content relevant to anyone wanting to learn about distilling.

Question: Is a distilling certificate offered for this course?

Yes, you will receive an online Distilling Workshop certificate upon completion of this course.

This workshop provided me and my business partner (who also attended this workshop) a realistic understanding of what it takes to start a distillery. I thought the instructor was very helpful in answering questions and getting feedback. I liked the discussions that followed the presentations. The material covered a broad range of topics and all of them were very relevant to someone wanting to start a distillery. I would recommend this workshop to anyone interested in starting a distillery.

Rob Jellesed


Paul Hughes, MBA, PhD

After gaining his PhD in chemistry from the University of London, Paul moved into the brewing research sector in 1990. After spells as an industry-sponsored research scientist and then principal scientist with Heineken International, Paul moved to Heriot-Watt University in 2005 as Professor of Brewing and Distilling and director of the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling. Paul moved to Oregon in 2015 and helped establish his popular Distillery Startup Workshop program.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.