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Bottoms Up! Schoolcraft College Offers Classes On Brewing, Distillation

LIVONIA (WWJ) - A college in metro Detroit is teaching students how to make beer. But partiers be warned: This is a serious program for people who want to work in the brewing industry.

Schoolcraft College is offering a program this fall that will allow students to obtain a certificate in Brewing and Distillation Technology. The classes, instructed by actual brewers and distillers, are designed for people interested in starting a career in a craft beverage or brewing operation.

"While most people find the idea of a brewing and distillation program appealing, I can assure you there is some serious science involved in making beer," Richard Weinkauf, the school's vice president, said in a statement.

Weinkauf said the school is renovating an area in the culinary department to house the college's commercial T-Barrel capacity brewery.

"Our on-campus brewery will include every piece of equipment found in a commercial operation for our students to gain their brewing knowledge. This will be the real deal, and we may even begin selling our product to the public in the future," he said.

"That means we'll be making up to 217 gallons at a time -- and the importance of the 7-barrel brewery for usage in the program is - it represents every bit of the commercial process - every piece of equipment is part of the 7-barrel system that students will run into at any craft brewing operation or even the real large ones."

Weinkauf said that he's been approached by brewers saying that they can't find people who can come into their brewery and hit the ground running to do these jobs.

"Not just brewing but cellaring and fermentation management and packaging, tap room operations, sales and distribution. These are all areas that are associated."

Brewing experts from Plymouth's Liberty Street Brewing Company and Howell's Block Brewing Company will be teaching classes, as will a locally renowned certified cicerone, or beer sommelier. The program's advisory committee, who were involved in the creation and design of the program, also includes professionals from Short's Brewing Company, Northern United Brewing Company, Griffin Claw Brewing Company and Know Beer, LLC.

While college officials have been planning this program for some time, it only recently received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to begin offering classes.

Classes begin Monday, August 31 and include topics like brewing science, beer styles and flavors, brewhouse operations and technology, marketing and operations management, cellaring/packaging and quality management, and advanced brewing and distillation. The program is part of the college's Culinary Arts Department.

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