Let’s face it, mastering the art of distilling takes time and expertise. And despite being aware of the importance of networking to enhance your competence, you sometimes don’t have the time for on-site learning. While our website has an abundance of free information, it’s hard to know where to start
That’s where online distilling courses come in.
As a home distiller with years of experience, I’ve dabbled in a couple of courses. Based on price, level of detail and expertise, as well as duration, the best courses that’ll meet your needs are:
- Distillery University (Best Overall)
- Craft Beer and Brewery (Best Beginners Courses)
- iStill (Best Premium Education)
- YouTube – Barley and Hops Brewing, and Still It (Best FREE resources)
They’re self-paced, cater to different levels of expertise, and are informative. Carry on reading to learn more about these programs.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Consider Taking A Distilling Course
A distilling course will help you:
- Hone your knowledge and skills: You’ll have a greater grasp of the distilling process–from the raw ingredients to the final product–in a structured and efficient way.
- Explore career opportunities: You can learn about the different career paths available and what it takes to succeed in these roles.
- Avoid mistakes: You’ll familiarize yourself with the right techniques, equipment, and materials to use, which can help you avoid making costly mistakes.
- Gain business insight: If you’re interested in starting a distilling business, you’ll get valuable advice on legal and regulatory requirements, marketing, branding, and other business aspects.
Our Favorite Distilling Course
There are always up-and-coming brewers and distillers with tons of information to share, but the one I found to deliver all-around practical advice for all levels of proficiency is Distillery University.
Overall winner – Distillery University
- Over 150 hours of distilling education
- Flexible pricing plans
- Comprehensive course includes the business side of the craft
- Vast library of content
- Sneak peek into the quality of education they provide
- 15-day money-back guarantee
|Best Overall||Best Value For Money||Best For Beginners||Best Advanced||Best Free|
|Distillery University||Udemy||Craft Beer and Brewing||iStill||YouTube: Barley and Hops Brewing, Still It|
Best Online Distilling Courses (In 2023)
Here’s a greater look at distilling courses so you can make an informed decision.
Distillery University offers over 150 hours of tuition. The courses are taught by real-world experts and cover all aspects of the industry: fermentation, equipment selection, recipe formulation, and how to start and operate a distillery.
They offer a vast library of content–interviews, downloads, supplemental materials–so you can have an extensive learning experience. Distillery University offers a taste of its comprehensive material through its video showcases, so you get a glimpse into the quality of knowledge and education you can expect from its courses.
The institution offers three plans:
- Monthly Access: Costs $49/month and includes access to all available courses, interviews, downloads, supplemental materials, and a free business plan.
- 6-Month Access: Priced at $249 and includes a 15% discount. Has the same features as the Monthly Access plan.
- Lifetime Access: One-time charge of $499. Includes the same features as the monthly plan and provides access to all future content.
All plans come with a 15-day money-back guarantee, making it easy to gauge if the platform’s right for you.
The Craft Beer and Brewing course is designed for home and professional brewers. It offers over 85 courses–beginner to advanced level–and it’s taught by experienced brewers.
Yes; this is beer focused (of course) but hear me out
- There are a couple of distilling modules in there, like ‘distilling for brewers’ shown below.
- If you’re making your own whiskey you need to know how to make great beer first
- There teaching style is really fun and easy to follow along
The courses are presented in various formats–videos, quizzes, interactive content–to cater to different learning styles and offer a versatile learning experience. You have three subscription options to choose from:
- The Print + Digital plan: Costs $39.99/year and provides access to the magazine’s previous issues, subscriber articles and recipes, and a weekly beer and brewing newsletter.
- All Access plan: Costs $99.99/year and includes everything from the Print + Digital plan, plus brewing courses and videos, weekly brewing guides, BeerSmith and BeerXML recipe files, and 75+ full-length streaming videos.
- Industry All Access plan: Costs $199.99/year and includes everything from the All Access plan, plus in-depth brewing industry coverage, access to streaming videos by industry professionals, a Brewing Industry Guide subscription, and the ability to submit beers for review for operating breweries.
All plans come with a 30-day guarantee, and you will receive a certificate for completed courses.
iStill University offers two highly rated distilling courses: an online Certified Craft Distiller Course and an on-site 4-day Certified Master Distiller Course. The online course costs €1,895 and covers modern theories of the entire distilling process, including mashing, fermenting, distilling, extraction, aging, and recipe development.
But wait, sure, the full course is pretty pricey. But they have a bunch of free modules which you can access by signing up. I’ve done these, and there’s a heap of value they’re putting out for nothing.
After completing the online course, you can take the online exam to receive certification and gain access to their private Facebook group.
The on-site course focuses on practical experience, and you can develop your own recipes for various spirits and distill them using iStill’s 10L R&D machine. The course includes extensive training in taste profiles, a field trip to a distillery, and certification upon completion, and is priced at €2,495.
Udemy offers a wide range of courses on various subjects, including distilling. The one I found informative is the Craft Alcohol Fermentation course and the Distillation Fundamentals offered by craft distilling consultant Malcolm Bucholtz. It’s a comprehensive introduction to the science and practice of fermentation.
Malcolm Bucholtz has several other courses related to distilling, which may be suitable if you’re looking to expand your knowledge or skills. They cover topics such as aging and blending spirits, as well as practical aspects of running a distillery, such as legal compliance and business planning.
The benefit of learning through YouTube is the content is free and widely accessible. This can be especially helpful if you’re starting out and want to get a feel if the craft is really for you. Here are some channels worth your time:
Barley and Hops Brewing
Barley and Hops Brewing is run by George, a distiller with tons of experience up his sleeve. Because distilling is as much a science as it is an art, George simplifies the science behind distilling and breaks down how certain factors and techniques affect the final product’s flavor and quality. The channel is geared towards home distillers, and though some videos are lengthy, they are educational. If you’re looking for technical content presented in an uncomplicated way, we recommend checking out the Barley and Hops Brewing channel.
If you want to experience the entire process of distilling from mashing right through to aging, Still It will appeal to you. Jesse, the owner of the channel, shares a world of experimenting with various techniques, spirits, and flavors. You also get to experience the mistakes and successes involved in crafting a spirit, which is valuable if you want to avoid costly mistakes. His videos are educational and entertaining, and like Barley and Hops Brewing, the content is geared toward home-distillers.
What We Looked At When Choosing A Course
Here’s what we considered when we curated each of these courses.
It can be a challenge to find a course that provides value for money. Some courses, such as those offered on YouTube, are free, making them easily accessible, while iStill offers more comprehensive courses with higher price tags. If you aspire to generate income with the craft, high-end courses that offer certification may be the best route for you. But if you’re looking to gloss over the basics of distilling, opt for Udemy courses or YouTube.
Distillery University, iStill, Craft Beer and Brewing, and Udemy provide certification upon completion, which can be valuable if you’re seeking to establish credentials in the industry. It helps to demonstrate your level of expertise and can help open up new career opportunities or boost business prospects.
Level of detail and expertise
Courses geared toward beginners may provide valuable information, but may not go into as much depth as more advanced courses. For more specialized knowledge, we found Distillery University and iStill provide in-depth content in a structured way. In essence, it’s best to choose a course that matches your current level of knowledge and experience, as well as your learning goals.
Courses offered by Distillery University, Udemy, and iStill tend to be longer and more comprehensive and can take several weeks to complete. They are a fantastic option if you’re looking for an in-depth course that covers a wider range of topics. If you want quick-to-consume content focused on a specific topic, you can opt for YouTube.
After extensive research and personal experience, we are confident in recommending the following online distilling courses as some of the best available:
- Distillery University
- Craft Beer and Brewing
- YouTube (Barley and Hops Brewing and Still It)
Each of these offers a unique approach to distilling and brewing education, with a focus on providing the competence you need to succeed in the industry. They have a ton of information about the science behind creating spirits and walk you through the business aspect of establishing your own distillery. But if you want to enjoy the recreational aspect of the craft, YouTube’s your best bet. It’s free and most creators are experts in the field.