Brewing and Distillation certificate program is taking off
By Kim Sorenson, News Editor
Implemented in the fall of 2015, the Schoolcraft College Brewing and Distillation certificate program has recently begun its second semester. With increased enrollment and active involvement from students and community members alike, this program is surpassing all expectations.
Last fall, the program began with only three of the seven necessary classes being offered and only 24 students enrolled. With hopes to up these statistics, Schoolcraft’s on campus brewery began construction. With the construction well underway and expected to be complete within a few months, all seven classes are running and there are 67 students declared in the program thus far. This number exceeds the 48 declared students that the college had projected back in the fall, and is expected to continue growing. The program has proven to be so popular that the college has declared overloads in the classes whenever possible and implemented a substantial waitlist.
“It offers another opportunity for students to get a degree in an area they are interested in and do it well,” said Dr. Conway Jeffress, Schoolcraft President.
The seven class, 24 credit hour certificate course is designed to be completed in two semesters. Despite the popularity of the program, no spring or summer classes have been planned as of yet. However, brewery students do not need to complete the program in order to get work. There have already been six students from the first semester of the program who have been hired by local breweries. In working with established brewers and learning in commercial breweries, students get the experience needed to hit the ground running in the work place. They can also make beneficial connections through instructors and other avenues in the brewing and distilling industry to really set themselves apart from the competition.
With Schoolcraft’s new on campus brewery soon to be available to students, the firsthand experience will only improve. “We’re going to be raising the bar on the kind of employee that breweries and bars now have to choose from,” said Rich Weinkauf, Vice President and Chief Academic Officer. “Our approach has been to build a commercial brewery on site to give our students real world experience.”
As for the Schoolcraft Brewery itself, the construction is on track and running smoothly. Early May is still the target for construction to be finished and production of Schoolcraft beer will be available.
Though the brewery may not look like much at the moment, it will soon be a full, seven-barrel, commercial level brewery right on the Schoolcraft campus. With experienced and knowledgeable brewers in charge, the beer is expected to be high quality. It will be available to purchase in 6-packs from the Main Street Café and individually from a 10-draft system tap room in the American Harvest Restaurant along with other Michigan Craft Beer.
“As a student, you will learn the science behind the brewing and distillation process, as well as hands on knowledge of the types of tasks you will perform everyday,” said Bob Paulson, a student of the program, “Completion of the program should allow you to enter the brewing industry with confidence.”
The new Brewing and Distillation certificate program at Schoolcraft can be deemed a success based on its results so far. The projected growth of the program is sure to add to the College and student report. Students can expect a real world experience in breweries, and potential employers can expect professional, knowledgeable and experienced employees all while anyone over the age of 21 can enjoy a hand brewed student beer on campus. Schoolcraft College has found a perfect fit with the Brewing and Distillation program.