[Skip to Content]

Online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate

AACSB Accredited logo

The online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate is designed for current or future distilled spirits professionals who want to gain broad-based knowledge about business operations within the industry.

Offered by the College of Business, the online UofL Distilled Spirits Business Certificate* blends an industry born of tradition with a university that fosters innovation. Louisville and the surrounding region are home to many of the most storied companies and most innovative start-ups in the U.S. distilled spirits industry. There is no better place to learn the business of the distilled spirits industry than from a university located in its epicenter.

Developed in partnership with industry experts, we offer a one-of-a-kind curriculum that features the most relevant knowledge, skills, and awareness for accelerating your success in the booming distilled spirits industry.

*Bachelor’s degree required


No matter where you are in the world, learn from the masters of the U.S. distilled spirits industry.

Learn More

The certificate program is made up of only 6 courses (18 credit hours), taken 2 at a time.

Learn More

Finish in as little as 15 weeks by taking two courses every five weeks (effective Spring 2020).

Online learning video - Online Distilled Spirits Certificate

"The Distilled Spirits Business Certificate is a unique educational offering that has been designed to serve our students, the industry and the Louisville area. We are aligning the certificate program with the needs of distilled spirits organizations to develop a mutually beneficial talent pipeline that serves our business community and our students."


How Much Will I Pay?

$764 per credit hour

Tuition & Aid    

Special rates are available for active-duty military. Inquire to learn more.


  • Learn how different functions such as finance, marketing, and operations work interdependently.
  • Get an insider's view of the industry from guest speakers and corporate fellows embedded in every course.
  • Connect and network with other professionals across the industry.
  • Learn at the speed of your life—100% online format gives you access anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
  • Get a jump start on your MBA—credits earned in the certificate program apply to completion of your UofL MBA, offered online and on-campus (you must apply separately to the MBA).

Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement?

Download a sample email template as a starting point for making a request. Sample Tuition Request Message [PDF].


The distilled spirits industry has been rapidly growing for more than a decade. In Kentucky alone, the industry is responsible annually for $8.5 billion of economic output, between 15,000 and 17,500 jobs, and $800 million in payroll (Kelly, Kornstein, & Marshall, 2017).

Based on previous education and professional experience, graduates would be well suited for any number of professional positions in business operations, including logistics planner, pricing analyst, data analyst, supply chain manager, marketing specialist, social media manager, promotion specialist, sales manager, distribution coordinator, corporate social responsibility manager, visitor center manager, financial operations accountant, tax accountant, brand ambassador, and more.

Application Deadline Term Start Date
August 9 Fall August 19
December 16 Spring January 6

Universoty of Louisville College of Business

Admission Requirements

To enroll in the online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate offered by the College of Business at the University of Louisville, you must apply as a graduate non-degree seeking student and meet the following requirements:

  • Completed online application
  • $40 application fee
  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited college or university
  • Official transcript(s) certifying the undergraduate degree
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale)

Note: GMAT/GRE scores are not required for admission.

Send all materials to:
Graduate Admissions
University of Louisville
2211 S. Brook Street
Louisville, KY 40292

For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselor at 800.871.8635 or by email at online@louisville.edu.

Start Your Application

The online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate consists of 6 courses (9 hours), delivered in 5-week terms. Courses are offered each fall and spring semester.

Course List Hours
SPIR 610 Distilled Spirits Industry Overview & Regulatory Issues 1.5
SPIR 620 Distilled Spirits Finance Fundamentals 1.5
SPIR 630 Distilled Spirits Operations & Supply Chain 1.5
SPIR 640 Sustainability in the Distilled Spirits Industry 1.5
SPIR 650 Spirit Brand Marketing 1.5
SPIR 660 Three-Tier System of Alcohol Distribution 1.5

Course Descriptions

SPIR 610 Distilled Spirits Industry Overview & Regulatory Issues
Students will be introduced to an overview of the distilled spirits industry, covering industry outlook, economic impact, and key historical development. Students also will learn about key regulatory agencies and the regulations governing the industry, including spirits formulary, permits, labeling, advertising, and trademark.

SPIR 620 Distilled Spirits Finance Fundamentals
Students will be exposed to the finance fundamentals of the distilled spirits industry. They will learn how to project sales (including volume and pricing, distributor incentives, and marketing and promotion budgets). The course will also cover competitor price analysis, working capital, costs of production, and simple tax calculations.

SPIR 630 Distilled Spirits Operations & Supply Chain
Students will get an overview of the operations functions of the distilled spirits industry. They will be exposed to and apply critical elements of planning, sourcing, producing, and distributing spirits.

SPIR 640 Sustainability in the Distilled Spirits Industry
Students will learn about the broad array of sustainability issues in the distilled spirits industry and how they are essential to corporate social responsibility initiatives. Key topics include water, grain sources, barrel use (including forestry), energy, spent grains and emissions.

SPIR 650 Spirit Brand Marketing
Students will be introduced to and apply marketing principles driving the creation of a brand. Special attention will be paid to product differentiation, on-premise and off-premise markets, and responsible marketing.

SPIR 660 Three-Tier System of Alcohol Distribution
Students will get a broad overview of how the three-tier system operates as the route to market. Special attention will be focused on the distributor, which is the critical link between suppliers and consumer.


    Joel Adams, MBA, Lecturer

    Joel Adams (MBA, University of Louisville) is a lecturer in Entrepreneurship Department, a legislative agent, and executive director of a statewide education advocacy organization. He co-founded and led the launch of Rhythm liqueur, which grew to 11 states of distribution, and later joined forces with a publicly traded spirits company, working on its regulatory filings and acquisitions. Joel is currently pursuing his Ph.D. from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

    Shalin Shah, MBA, Lecturer

    Shalin Shah (MBA, University of Louisville) is a lecturer in the Management Department, where he teaches operations management. He also is an experienced operations leader with over a decade of experience driving profitable business functions within competitive markets. He currently is the owner of Om Hikes Inc., which operates multiple restaurants under the Subway franchise system. Previously, he co-founded Systemica Health and worked in advanced product development at Cummins Inc.

    Conor Lennon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

    Conor Lennon, (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is an Assistant Professor of Economics and is affiliated with the College of Business’s Center for Free Enterprise. Conor’s research examines employer responses to healthcare costs, the role of online degrees in the labor market, the effect of Uber on alcohol-related harm, and secondary markets for rare whiskey. Conor teaches Introductory Microeconomics, American Economic History, an Honors Seminar in Global Economic Issues, and a Senior Seminar class on the economic history of the whiskey industry.

    Charles Sharp, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

    Charles Sharp (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) is an assistant professor in the Marketing Department and an award-winning teacher. His expertise is in consumer behavior, market segmentation, strategy, and advertising. He also has more than 15 years of experience working at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as a brand manager, from which he gained deep insights into promotion of “sin products,” navigation of highly-regulated industries, and responsible marketing.

    Tamara Sluss, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

    Tamara Sluss (Ph.D. Biology, University of Louisville) is an associate professor in the Urban and Public Affairs Department, where she serves as director of UofL’s Interdisciplinary Master in Sustainability program. Her research expertise includes sustainability of freshwater resources, renewable energy, and urban/small-scale agricultural practices. She also has developed and taught a study abroad class in London and Dublin on the biology of ethanol. Tamara is Past President of the Kentucky Conservation Committee and an avid outdoor adventurer.


    These industry leaders partner with our faculty to bring an insider's view of distilled spirits business to every course.

    Mark Huffine, CPA, MBA

    Mark Huffine (CPA, MBA, University of Louisville) is an experienced financial professional with nearly 20 years of experience working in the distilled spirits industry. In his financial leadership positions with Brown-Forman and Wild Turkey Distillery, he was responsible budgeting, reporting, inventory tracking and more. He also played a key role in the development of the Woodford Reserve® brand.

    Barbara Hurt, MBA

    Barbara Hurt (MBA, Washington University) is the Executive Director of the DendriFund, an independent foundation born out of Brown-Forman and the Brown family, working at the intersection of value and values. She has 10 years of experience in non-profit fundraising and 10 years in marketing for Brown-Forman brands. Barbara builds strategic connections and opportunities between the work of the DendriFund on wood, water, and grains, and the sustainability ambitions of businesses and communities to improve the natural, social, and economic environment for future generations.

    Linda Lewis, MEng, MBA

    Linda Lewis (MEng, MBA, University of Louisville) is the Regulatory Technical Manager at Beam Suntory, the parent company of the Jim Beam® and Maker’s Mark® brands. She began her career in the distilled spirits industry as a chemical engineer. For the past 10 years, she has been a leader in the Global Regulatory Department working on international alcohol beverage regulation changes and providing regulatory guidance for innovation launches.

    Jim Murphy, MBA

    Jim Murphy (MBA, Adelphi University) is a marketing professional with 40 years of experience in the wine and distilled spirits industry. He has worked in various brand and marketing management positions, including Director of Global Marketing for Jack Daniel’s® and Director of Marketing Capabilities and Business Planning for Brown-Forman. Jim has expertise in brand positioning, pricing strategy, new product and package development, advertising development, agency management, foreign supplier management, sales, and marketing research.

    Matthew Zurkuhlen, MBA

    Matthew Zurkuhlen (MBA, Bellarmine University) is a Logistics Operations Manager at Brown-Forman and a licensed Customs broker. He has 19 years of supply chain operations experience. Currently, he is responsible for the distribution logistics network for Brown-Forman. His expertise includes lean manufacturing, regulatory compliance, and project management. He was the project management leader for supply chain operations for the Old Forester® Distillery launch in 2018.

    W. David Stang, MS Management

    W. David Stang (MS Management, Regis University) has 45+ years of distilled spirits industry experience. From working in his family-owned liquor store; to selling beer, wine, and spirits to on-premise and off-premise accounts for a large distributor; to rising to the role of Director of Event Sponsorship for Jack Daniel’s®, David has amassed a deep and broad expertise of distilled spirts sponsorship, sales, and distribution. He is owner of LMM Concepts Consulting, which delivers a bartender education program at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.