Wine Not?: Beverage Management class shows students the “classy side” of drinking

Vino rosadoCreative Commons
Students learn to pair drinks with food in Beverage Management class.


For those of age, Grotto Pizza, Klondike Kate’s and Catherine Rooney’s are popular places near the university’s campus to grab a drink. Students confident in their knowledge of high-end alcohol, however, can take advantage of an opportunity to test those skills in the classroom.

The university’s Department of Hospitality Business Management offers a class called “Beverage Management,” which is described on the university’s course search as “an in-depth study of wine, beer, distilled spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.” In addition to this, the site specifies that students enrolled in the three-credit course must be at least 21 years of age and seniors at the university.

Alex Huey, a food and agribusiness marketing and management major who graduated in 2017, took the class because he wanted to try something new.

“I had three random credits [my senior year],” he says. “I wanted to take a class that was really fun but still pertinent to what I was doing.”

Ashley Rust, on the other hand, an elementary education major who also graduated in 2017, took the class because it sounded fun.

“I heard about how you get to taste wine and beer, so that’s why I wanted to take it,” she says.

Although the class is open to all majors, it is a requirement for the beverage management minor, which “explores the beverage industry and is a collaborative effort of the Department of Hospitality Business Management and UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources,” according to its website.

Many of the classes in this minor involve the science of making and storing beverages, but in beverage management, the class deals with the practical applications of this science.

“We learned about the components of [different alcoholic beverages], but we mostly learned how to pair food with beverages,” Rust says. “We [would go through] a five-course meal and pair them up.”

Huey notes that the class would taste about two different beverages each time they met, but they were only given small tasting portions.

According to Huey and Rust, each unit would introduce them to a new beverage, they would then learn about the region from which the beverage originated, what its ingredients are and how it’s made. Then they would go on to learn about pairing it with meals.

Other similar schools, such as James Madison University, offer classes about only wine or beer, where students learn about one particular beverage and its qualities. What makes beverage management unique to the university is that it explores a range of drinks and how they relate to food.

Although Huey and Rust took the class for fun, they both have used what they learned since leaving the university and recommend it even to those who are not necessarily looking for a career in the hospitality industry.

“I can hold a conversation about wine in a formal setting now, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do before,” Huey says. “As a business major, you go to very formal events where you are served all these different sorts of beverages, and now I’m able to make a proper decision and have a conversation with someone about that.”

In addition to helping him in formal business settings, Huey believes the class gave him a broader view of alcohol outside of college drinking culture.

“I really enjoyed it because you kind of learn more of the upscale side of drinking and more of the classy side,” he says. “It’s something I can take forward with me in my professional life and my social life.”

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