Unprecedented growth in the craft beer, cider and spirits industries has increased local interest in these trades. Washington state, which provides an ideal location for further growth, has become known as a national and global leader in these businesses. This has led South Puget Sound Community College to work with the community and a board of industry advisers to develop programs in these growth areas. The result is that the college is set to launch its cider making and brewing programs this fall. Distilling will follow a year later.
To align with a fall 2017 program launch, SPSCC is actively considering locations for lab-focused course instruction. It’s looking for facilities that are close to the heart of Thurston County and meet the size and equipment requirements to house these programs. Its longer-term vision, however, is to build or renovate facilities on campus or in combination with community partners through the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center.
While it hasn’t implemented for-credit education yet, SPSCC is offering a wide array of non-credit classes, presented in partnership with local craft brewers and distillers. These businesses have stated that demand for their products is far outpacing their ability to supply it.
SPSCC is getting involved to educate the next generation of brewers and distillers, office staff, machinists, and food scientists that will soon be team members and leaders in the industry. “These programs are connected with our industry partners to produce a skilled workforce for the industry,” says Kelly Green, marketing and communications director at SPSCC.
According to Valerie Sundby-Thorp, dean of Social Science and Business at SPSCC, the college is not only teaching classes on distilling and brewing but also in conjunction with business classes. “We want the students completing our classes to be able to craft beer and spirits,” she says, “but also to run a successful business with purchasing, human resources and marketing.”
Aspiring brewers and distillers should contact SPSCC for more information.
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