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Brewing, Fermentation Science Degree Launched at Penn College


A brewing and fermentation science degree – the first of its kind in Pennsylvania – is being launched by Pennsylvania College of Technology in response to the craft brewing industry’s need for skilled employees.

The new Associate of Applied Science degree will combine the science, technology and management skills required to meet the growing consumer demand for unique craft beers.

“We’re working closely with industry to make a scientifically literate and technically skilled brewer with the experience necessary to thrive in the growing brewing industry,” said Justin M. Ingram, assistant professor of biology.

Penn College will offer an Associate of Applied Science in Brewing and Fermentation Science in response to the booming craft brewing industry’s need for skilled employees.
Penn College will offer an Associate of Applied Science in Brewing and Fermentation Science in response to the booming craft brewing industry’s need for skilled employees.

Among the industry experts the college has been working with is John Callahan, brewing manager at D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., Pottsville.

“Brewing beer has changed right in front of my eyes,” Callahan said. “It is a great business to be in right now. The passion is second to none. The complexities, challenges and varieties keep the brewer striving for the perfect beer. It is an endless game. The key is to have quality, purity and cleanliness, and above all, enjoy what you’re doing.”

Tim Yarrington, head brewmaster at Elk Creek Café & Aleworks, Millheim, another of the college’s collaborators, agreed.

“Brewing is both art and craft, it’s true,” Yarrington said. “However, to ensure predictable quality, consistency and absolute control, the modern brewer should have a solid grasp of the scientific and the technical principles in order to meet the day-to-day challenges of a commercial brewery seeking to produce excellent beer in today’s highly competitive market.”

Students in the new major will learn the role of hops as an antibacterial and flavoring agent in beer.
Students in the new major will learn the role of hops as an antibacterial and flavoring agent in beer.

Penn College’s brewing and fermentation science major officially launches in Fall 2017, with program courses taking place in a state-of-the-art instructional space that aligns with industry standards.

“The professional brewer’s toolkit requires mathematical and analytical science skills to assure commercial success,” said Jaime Jurado, director of brewing operations for Abita Brewing Co., based in Abita Springs, Louisiana. Jurado, another industry expert who has offered guidance to the major, added, “An associate of science in brewing and fermentation is an appropriate entry into the world of brewing and the start of experiential, hands-on continuation of professional growth in technical brewing.”

Graduates of the Penn College major will be prepared to take their skills into the craft brewing arena – estimated to be a $22 billion industry in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association. The industry has witnessed significant growth in recent years, and the association expects the trend to continue for an extended period.

Michael J. Reed, dean of the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, said “Penn College adapts quickly to meet industry and workforce demands, and I am very proud of our science faculty, who have worked in collaboration with the School of Business & Hospitality to create the first associate degree brewing program in Pennsylvania.”

The brewing and fermentation science degree joins more than 100 academic majors offered at Penn College, a special mission affiliate of Penn State. .

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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