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A distilled spirits student standing in a hallway of barrels

Distilled Spirits

Distillers distill alcohol such as gin, rum, whiskey, bourbon, brandy, tequila, vodka, schnapps, and other spirits. Distillation involves purifying a liquid through evaporation and condensation to create alcohol. It’s a complex process that has been around for centuries, but it still takes years for a distiller to perfect the process.

For years, there were only a handful of distilleries in existence. They were world famous distilleries like Jack Daniels, Bacardi, Absolut, Jose Cuervo, or Tanqueray. In the past decade, craft distilleries have rapidly gained popularity. With only 50 micro-distilleries in 2005, in 2017, there are now over 2,000 in the US. These small batch distilleries create less than 100,000 gallons of spirits each year.

The Associate of Science (A.S.) degree Motlow prepares students to begin work or for transfer to Florida International University (FIU).

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The median salary for distilled spirits graduates is $56k per year

Two Distilled Spirits students working

Career Opportunities

  • Distiller ($25-49k/year) 
  • Sommelier ($42-51k/year) 
  • Bartender ($28-47k/year) 
  • Mixologist ($31-37k/year) 
  • Brand Ambassador ($34-48k/year) 
  • Distillery Manager ($49-65k/year) 

Entrepreneurial distillers have happily followed in the footsteps of trend-setting coffee roasters and craft beer brewers. Now there are more distiller opportunities than ever before. Boutique spirit companies are popping up all over the globe. 

Distillers must also learn about the business of spirits. When working with alcohol, there are rules and regulations about marketing, production, distribution, zoning, and other factors. Once a distiller finds a job with a distillery or starts their own distillery. 

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