The BDC Story – Beer Brewing School History | Brewing & Distilling Center
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About Our Beer Brewing & Distilling School


Out of sheer demand, the Brewing and Distilling Center has arisen. We are beginning on a smaller scale by supplying the most sought-after demand: educating folks desiring to secure a job in the brewing and distilling industries. We have been successful in training folks in the classroom in brewing science theory. Just as important, we train our students in the brewhouse, allowing them to plan, participate, discover, and enjoy the creativity, labor, troubleshooting, cleaning, lifting, sampling, packaging, and everything else involved in what it takes to be a brewer.

We also are offering the hobbyist to discover the joy of brewing beer at home and sharing with friends and family. We have seen that many times, the serious hobbyist wants more than just sharing their fermentation efforts: it could lead to an income-generating future.

We have also discovered that “there is a shortage of trained distillers in America.” We will also train you to be able to assist you in getting great jobs in the distilling industry.


We understand the demands for the different aspects of brewing and distilling education because of our experience in brewing and distilling education and the valuable relationships we have developed in the industries. We continuously enhance our courses to meet the demands of an ever-changing industry. In the near future, we will be offering short courses and individual courses to gain the knowledge and skills in “chunks” and also for continuing education purposes. Online courses will also be offered soon. We have a myriad of additional services we will be providing, just wait and see.

Our Veterans:

We are also very interested in our veterans. We have a significant number of veterans that we have trained. Our veterans are extremely dedicated students and work very hard. We are working on getting accredited for the Veterans Affairs/GI Bill educational assistance.  See the Veterans page for more information.


Dr. Todd White – BDC President

Dr. Todd White – President/CEO Brewing + Distilling Center

Dr. Todd White and his team of instructors, brewers, and distillers have been helping folks reach their goals in the industry for over 3 years. Dr. White’s original professional life saw him practice veterinary medicine for almost 20 years. He has always been interested in quality beer—mostly consuming it. He also has a master’s degree in Architecture and along the way in 2002, witnessed a friend home brew several batches of beer for friends and clients—and was more than intrigued. Between then and now, he established the famous Iceland Beer Day party at his home; then opened a craft beer store in 2008. That led to the discovery and immersion into the US and Regional Beer Movement.

Oh, along the way in 1993, he began instructing science courses at the collegiate level and discovered a hidden passion—teaching. As an educator, Dr. White considered the rapidly-expanding US craft beer explosion–“Where are these new breweries getting qualified, trained brewers?” A little research showed that there was a demand for brewing educational facilities—so he started a brewing school in 2013. Helping folks, via education, is truly, a passion of Dr. White’s.

We could not be more excited!…Because we understand that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.


BDC President Todd White (L) and Master Brewer, Marty Velas

Marty Velas

Master Brewer, Brew House Instructor, Curriculum Adviser

Marty Velas is the current Director of Brewing Operations and Co-Founder/Owner, of Fanatic Brewing Company in Knoxville, TN; he is truly one of our American Craft Beer pioneers. Marty has trained over 280 successful brewers in the industry. He is a Beer Engineer for Meheen Manufacturing and has won (among others), Gold Medals in the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup. Marty has spent many years as a Brewery Operations Consultant.

Marty lends his expertise, industry connections, and great wit to our fortunate students.

Michael Adams

Vice President, Industry Relations

Mike Adams has 20+ years of restaurant/bar and grocery/retail experience. Mike’s love of food and beer led him to operate an eclectic grocery store that included one of the first Craft and Import Beer departments in East Tennessee. It was there that he began working with Dr. Todd White pairing food and beers for weekly beer tastings. Mike fell in love with the beer culture and added one of the first growler stations in the region to The Market in 2010. When presented the opportunity to work with Dr. White at The Brewing + Distilling Center Mike couldn’t refuse…beer and bourbon, how could he?!?

Rick Cox

Brewer/Army Veteran, Lead Instructor, Curriculum Development

Rick Cox is a brewer and a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician. He also earned his BBA and is a tested teacher, both at the high school and in a collegiate Brewing Certificate Program. Rick brings his life experiences, leadership and organizational abilities to the classroom, as well as his expertise on brewing and yeast management. In addition to serving the BDC as an instructor, Rick is also the Director of the BDC Veterans Program, which supports veterans in their quest for careers in the brewing and distilling industries.



Nathaniel Sears

Brewer, Next Level Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN

Chris Meadows

Master/Head Brewer, Elkmont Exchange Brewery,  Knoxville, TN

Matthew Lillie

Brewer, Elkmont Exchange Brewery,  Knoxville, TN

Charles Ellis

Professional Brewer,  Knoxville, TN

Andrew Armstrong

Brewer, Next Level Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN

Johnny Cosgrove

Mead Expert,  Knoxville, TN

Aaron McClain

Master Brewer/Owner, Crafty Bastard Brewing Co.,  Knoxville, TN

James McKinney

Cider Expert, Apple Barn Cidery, Sevierville, TN

Jason Holder

Master Brewer, Kodak, TN

Kris Tatum

Distiller/Owner, Old Forge Distillery, Pigeon Forge, TN

Keener Shanton

Head Distiller, Old Forge Distillery, Pigeon Forge, TN

Greg Eidam

Head Distiller, Sugarlands Distilling Co., Gatlinburg, TN

Ron Grazioso

Head Distiller, Post Modern Distilling, Knoxville, TN

Stanton Webster

Distiller/Owner, Post Modern Distilling, Knoxville, TN

Because of the relationship the BDC has in the local brewing and distilling community, we have many other brewing and distilling experts that instruct with us.

Stanton Webster: Post Modern Spirts – Knoxville, TN

Dr. White and Distiller, Stanton Webster