A new opportunity is brewing at Penn State Berks.
With the explosion of the craft beer industry over the past several years, homebrewing has become a popular hobby. Penn State Berks is preparing to unveil a program aimed at helping local homebrewers up their game.
The college has received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to develop a craft brewing program, with the goal of increasing the use of Pennsylvania-grown specialty grains, including hops, barley, wheat and others crops in the brewing process.
Through a partnership with the Penn State Cooperative Extension, a non-credit program is expected to be unveiled for the fall 2022 semester.
Elain Berish, a continuing education area representative at Penn State Berks, said the idea is to help homebrewers turn their passion into a career.
“Craft brewing is one of the biggest and fastest growing home industries,” she said. “This will be for someone who wants to turn a hobby into a business.”
Berish said the program will be similar to one already offered by Penn State Berks on wine making. It will delve into all aspects of the craft brewing industry: things like local sourcing, brewing fundamentals, bottling, branding, market distribution and the business requirements for opening a brewery.
“We want to familiarize them with that whole process,” she said.
Berish said the curriculum for the course is being develop with help from experts in the field. Getting those experts involved, she said, is a key to the program because they will be able to provide students with a behind-the-scenes look at the craft brewing industry.
That includes having an opportunity for field trips to breweries and local hops farms.
“There will be opportunities for people to get out and actually put their hands on stuff,” Berish said.
A large portion of the program, which anyone can sign up for through Penn State Berk’s continuing education office, will likely be online, Berish said. But the exact details are still being worked out, including how many students will be accepted, how long the course will run and what all the program will cover.
For more information contact Elain Berish at EMB1@psu.edu or 610-396-6230 or visit the Penn State Berks continuing education website at berks.psu.edu/continuing-education.
Source: Berkshire mont