You can quote me…

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Recently, I wrote an article about the different beer education opportunities available in San Diego for the West Coaster Magazine. I elicited the help of a lot of my friends/students in the UCSD Extension Brewing Program for quotes to use in the article, asking why they chose the UCSD Extension Brewing Program and what has been their favorite part of the program. I only had room for a few quotes for the article, but I wanted to share all of the quotes here. Hopefully the quotes will provide some perspective and insight into the program from other students.

Quotes:

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I had been on the waiting list for UC Davis for the last 3 years when I heard about the UCSD Brewing Certificate program and applied.  I was accepted into the UCSD program right away to become part of the first class of students.  Because of the shorter waiting list, lower costs, and night schedule of classes, I chose to attend UCSD’s program rather than the UC Davis program.  I was able to get through the UCSD program while working.  The program has even helped me land my dream position as a Quality Lab Assistant.

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It has been an amazing experience learning from the top brewing professions in the industry.  Within San Diego, and perhaps the world, names like Chris White, Yuseff Cherney, Peter Zien, Patrick Rue, Tomme Aurthur…etc are well known.   There is no other program that offers such a diverse group of teachers that are active professionals within the brewing industry.

I have also met a great group of students from diverse backgrounds.  It has been a great source of networking and meeting new friends.

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I decided on the UCSD Extension Brewing Program because of the balanced curriculum and unique opportunity to learn from the founders of the San Diego craft beer scene. I am looking forward to the required internship which I believe will be very helpful before applying for jobs in the industry.

The best thing about the program so far has been making new friends who share the same passion for craft beer.  I am grateful for starting these relationships and hope to one day work alongside these future professionals.

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For me, one look at the list of instructors and proposed curriculum was enough to convince me that the program would have the breadth and depth to cover what an aspiring nano-brewer would need to know.  There is a large gap between homebrewing and the technical and quality-focused aspects – not to mention the business aspects – of scaling-up to even a small commercial operation, and I hoped that the program would be able to bridge that gap.  It certainly has.  

Somewhat surprisingly, I found that the local industry is mature enough to provide opportunities for students to get involved by putting their professional backgrounds to use.  As these companies grow, the need for professionals – accountants, engineers, scientists – will increase.  Having a technical understanding of the science of brewing will better prepare these professionals to find a place in the industry.  Turns out, we don’t all need to open our own brewery.

And if all I took away from the program were the tips that I learned from Mitch’s, Chris’ and Gwen’s classes, it still would have been worthwhile.  I think my own brewing has improved as a result of putting their advice into practice.

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I chose the brewing program because I wanted guided assistance with transitioning to a new industry and education from the brewing industry’s experts.  I see a lot of my own values overlapping with the industry: strong work/business ethics, community outreach/support, collaborative, and a strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit.  This program offers a focus on the science and technology of brewing, which appealed to me because I’m looking for technical knowledge and experience, even if I’m planning on supporting the business side of the industry.  The best way to make business decisions is to understand all the parts that make the whole and how they each impact each other.  I felt that this program would be a perfect blend of learning for what I’m interested in pursuing.  

My favorite part has been the passion and accessibility of the professors and guest lecturers.  I’ve seen a genuine desire to teach and develop the industry’s future brewers, scientists, and business people by building a foundation for a lifelong path of learning.  The connections made within our cohort and professors has been invaluable in my life and I’m extremely thankful for the experience.

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 Thanks to my friends for taking the time to write these quotes! My article about beer education comes out in the West Coaster in August. I hope you will check it out!

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Internship List

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Last week UCSD Extension announced the local breweries participating in the internship portion of the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Certificate Program.  Students who have completed their course requirements can apply for an internship at one of fifteen breweries. Smaller breweries will take on one student, while larger breweries will be taking on one or two students per quarter.  The first internships will begin Fall Quarter 2014.

Breweries offering internships to UCSD Extension Brewing Certificate Students:

  • Stone Brewing Co.
  • AleSmith Brewing Co.
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
  • Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits
  • ChuckAlek Independent Brewers 
  • Council Brewing Co.
  • Culture Brewing Co.
  • Dos Desperados
  • Hess Brewing
  • O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co.
  • Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey
  • Rip Current Brewing Co. 
  • Rough Draft Brewing Co.
  • Twisted Manzanita Ales
  • White Labs
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Internship

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The final step in completing UCSD Extension’s Brewing Certificate Program is a ten week internship at a local brewery. The internship portion is what initially attracted me to the UCSD Extension’s program. It is important to me to have hands on experience in the industry, and this internship provides the perfect opportunity. My experience in the program has broadened my horizons as to the different types of careers available in the brewing industry. I started the program with the intention of going into a quality control position since it fits well with my background and experience as a scientist, but I have found that I love writing and the business side of the industry. An internship will provide me with a perfect opportunity to explore these interests further.

Students are eligible to enroll in the internship portion of the program when they have completed their course work (electives may be taken concurrently with the internship). Internships will be offered in two areas: Science and Technology of Brewing and The Business of Brewing. Internships will be offered for the first time Fall Quarter 2014.

UCSD Extension is currently working on creating contracts with local breweries who will be participating in the program. Students nearing completion of the program will be emailed a list of participating breweries during the summer and it will be our responsibility to contact the brewery. We were advised to be prepared for an interview process and to have our resumes ready. Once we have an internship in place, we will contact the internship coordinator at UCSD Extension to let her know where we will be doing our internship. The internship will be 120 hours over a 10 week period. We will report to a supervisor at the brewery weekly and will fulfill all of the objectives from an Objective Checklist provided by UCSD Extension.

Here is a list of the course work that needs to be completed before the internship portion of the program:

Part 1: The Science and Technology of Brewing

Part 2: The Business of Brewing

Electives (2 units required)

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Wanted: Sales Representative

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Where am I?

A Southern California Costco! Ok, so that’s not all that exciting and I don’t always photo document my trips to big box stores, but I wanted to highlight the amount of local craft beer that is available at Costco. I had to search quite awhile to find any other beer; it was stacked along a back wall between the baby diapers and toilet paper. Due to the local sales reps in the San Diego craft brewing industry and insightful purchasing managers at Costco, our favorite local brews are available while we stock up on other supplies.

In our final class of Marketing and Distribution, Arlan Arnsten focused on the fourth “P” of marketing: People. He specifically focused on sales people. As the former Sr. VP of Sales at Stone Brewing Company he provided incredible insight into the world of sales and practical knowledge of how to be a successful sales representative for a brewery. If you have any interest in going into sales in the brewing industry I highly recommend this class!

I am constantly seeing job postings in the brewing industry for brewery sales representatives, and I have wondered what it takes to be a sales rep. In class we went over the qualities that are often possessed by great sales people. A sales person is outgoing, interesting, presentable, hardworking, tenacious, empathetic, fearless, and honest. Not all sales people have every single one of these qualities, but it is likely they possess a majority of these qualities. Below is a video of Zig Ziglar, a famous motivational speaker and salesman, which highlights the qualities of a great sales person and would make anyone proud to call sales their profession.

We went over the role of the sales department in a brewery. The structure of the sales team is often: sales manager, sales representatives, and merchandisers. When breweries are small the owner may be the entire sales team. :)   The sales team is responsible for setting up accounts, finding prospects, making cold calls, giving presentations, introducing new products to accounts, and following up with accounts. If a brewery is not working with a distributor, the sales team will deliver / pick up empty kegs and do the invoicing. If a brewery is working with a distributor, the sales team will do ride-alongs, presentations to the distributor, and prospect accounts. The brewery’s sales team will work closely with a “brand manager” at the distributor. The role of the brand manager is to communicate the brewery’s message and product to the distributor’s sales team. Distributors may have large portfolios, so it is critical that a brewery be able to effectively communicate with the brand manager. I found it interesting that working with a distributor does not necessarily replace the need for a brewery’s sales team.

Arlan walked us through a successful day of a sales representative, with twenty different visits / interactions within the day. He talked about assigning geographical channels to sales reps to minimize driving time and how it can be beneficial to specify sales reps to work solely on different types of accounts such as “on premises” accounts, large box store accounts, or grocery chain accounts. He demonstrated conversations between the sales rep and the retailer and outlined the best times to visit accounts. Arlan stressed that it is important to listen, to do more than expected, to care about the customer’s business, and to keep moving in order to succeed in sales!

 

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

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The photo above illustrates the great dilemma of the craft beer consumer… what beer to choose? My trips to the grocery store often take about 30 minutes longer than they should when I get side tracked and stand in front of the beer section. A store employee often taps me on the shoulder and asks if I need help picking out a beer, which I politely decline and continue my process of staring at the bottle-and-can eye candy in front of me. How do we as consumers decide what beer we want to drink? Which beer would you decide to buy from the photo above?

We dove into this topic in our Marketing and Distribution class in UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program. For one class we had guest lecturer Todd Colburn, the Director of Marketing for Stone Brewing Company. His lecture provided great insight into how quality, naming, branding, packaging, and public relations all play into how a consumer decides – while standing in a grocery store, bar, or bottle shop – which beer they are going to buy.

We talked about how branding starts with the name of the brewery and how important it is to choose a great name. Todd highlighted three common categories of names for a brewery: location, iconic image or character, and style of beer. Sierra Nevada, Russian River, and Deschutes are examples of breweries named after a location. Breweries named after locations provide the consumer with a sense of place and the ‘feeling’ of that place. We discussed what happens if a brewery grows and expands beyond the location they are named after and if that name would still be relevant. A friend of mine from the program forwarded this interesting article about breweries with location-based names and how they foster a “sense of place and of connection with a locale.” Jolly Pumpkin and Rogue are examples of breweries with iconic names that are whimsical and memorable. These names are easy to recall for the consumer and are often image-based. The Lost Abbey, Hopworks Urban Brewery, New Belgium, and The Rare Barrel are examples of breweries named after the type/style of beer produced. This naming strategy allows the consumer to easily identify the type of beer they will get from that brewery, but it can also be limiting. The importance of naming extends beyond just the name of the brewery to the naming of the beer produced. We did a case study on Stone’s Enjoy by –/–/—- beer series to illustrate how marketing strategies can revolve around the name of a beer. Names are a large part of  a brewery’s brand identity, and it is important to check trademarks, Untappd, and RateBeer to make sure the names are not already taken.

Another important component of branding is packaging. In class we looked at photos of grocery store shelves and discussed what stood out. I found it very interesting that everyone in the class knew which beer was in the white bottle (see the white bottle in the photo at the top); that Delirium bottle with the pink elephant had caught everyone’s attention at some point. Could colored glass could be a new trend? The graphic design of labels is a big part of attracting consumer attention.  Oh, Beautiful Beer is a great blog that celebrates graphic design in the beer world. I love looking at the photos of beer labels and reading what graphic designers are trying to create with the label. We ended the class with a label review of Hess’s new can line and St. Archer’s can line. How do these labels appeal to you? What are your initial impressions? What changes would you make?

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Summer Quarter 2014

Tower_2Summer at La Jolla Shores

I am taking three classes this summer quarter, and it is the first time in my life I have ever looked forward to summer school. UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program will be offering the last two courses I need to complete the classroom portion of the program: Operations Management and Financial Management for Breweries. I will also be taking an extra elective because I am very interested in the Food Pairings and Beer Dinners class being taught by Gwen Conley. It will be a busy 6 weeks! I am looking forward to writing about these classes before I embark on the internship portion of the program.

Financial Management for Breweries

  • Instructor: Matt Dolman, Dolman & Associates
  • Days and Times: Tuesdays, July 29 – September 2, 6:30-9:30pm, 6 meetings
  • Units: 2
  • Description: Building a brewing business from the ground up requires strategic and thoughtful planning, as well as industry research and financial knowhow. Learn how to effectively research the industry, build accurate financial projections, and develop a full-fledged business plan for potential investors that are specific to the brewing industry. Case studies from the brewing industry are the focal point of the course.

Food Pairings and Beer Dinners

  • Instructor: Gwen Conley, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey
  • Days and Times: Thursdays, August 14 – August 28, 6:30 – 9:30pm, 3 meetings
  • Units: 1
  • Description: The craft brewer combines the connoisseurship of the gourmet, the scientific, technical and business sophistication of the tech entrepreneur, and the awareness of the value of a local, sustainable community. Focus on the development of a distinctly refined beer palate, and apply the skills and knowledge learned in the Sensory Evaluation and Beer Styles course to the matching of food and beer. Course focuses on sensory development rather than the analysis of the brewing process. Note: Need not be accepted into the Brewing certificate program to register for this course. Recommended prerequisite: Sensory Evaluation and Beer Styles.

 Operations Management

  • Instructor(s): Paul Segura, Karl Strauss
  • Days and Times: Wednesdays, August 6 – September 10, 6:30 – 9:30pm, 6 meetings
  • Units: 2
  • Description: Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution nearly 300 years ago, the practice of finding the most efficient and effective ways to utilize materials and labor in the production of quality product has developed from an intuitive practice into a precise science. Study the key aspects of brewing operations management including plant management, equipment maintenance management, production control, skilled trade supervision, strategic manufacturing policy, systems analysis, productivity analysis and cost control, and materials planning.
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Funkytown : Sour Beers

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I am a big fan of sour beers. Whenever a friend of mine proclaims they do not like beer, I usually buy them a sour beer to see if I can change their mind. Sours defy the confines of perceived beer notions; they are a gateway beer for wine drinkers and fruity cocktail people. Whenever I feel burned out on IPAs and stouts, I reach for a sour beer to blow me away with new and wild flavors.

I have to admit, before the UCSD Extension Barrel Aging class taught by Tomme Arthur and Patrick Rue, I wasn’t really sure what defined the style of sour beer.  Traditional sour beers are lambic, geuzeze (a mix of one, two, and three year old lambics), Berliner weisse, Flanders reds, and fruit beers. The sour taste is just a characteristic of these traditional styles, and you are sure to get a strange look if you try and order a “sour beer” in Europe. In the United States sour beers encompass a broad category of beer that is fermented with some form of wild yeast and bacteria.  Breweries can follow traditional methods of making sour beer by exposing the wort to air in a coolship, or they may inoculate their wort with a pure culture of wild yeast or Brettanomyces (available at White Labs). Some breweries may use a combination of these methods, exposing the wort to open air to collect wild yeast and bacteria from the environment and also inoculating with a known yeast or bacteria culture that will dominate the fermentation. Other breweries may add the wort to barrels and allow the natural yeast and bacteria in the wood to ferment the beer.  Russian River Brewery, for example, uses a coolship to make the 100% wild fermented beer Beatification.

We watched the following video in class which demonstrates the traditional method of making lambic in the Cantillon brewery.  I hope someday to visit this brewery; it is in Brussels, Belgium and was established in 1900.

Micro-organisms involved in sour beer production:

Yeast

  • Wild yeast – Saccromyces contribute most of the alcohol production for sour beers.
  • Brettanomyces – The name means “British Brewing Fungus” and is a type of yeast that produces a lot of acetic acid along with ethanol. It has the ability to ferment long chain sugars and cellulose. Some flavors associated with Brett fermentation include: band-aids, barnyard, and horse stable. If you want to try a 100% Brettanomyces fermented beer, try Crooked Staves Brewery in Colorado or The Lost Abbey in San Marcos.

Bacteria

  • Pediococcus – Produces lactic acid and diacetyl and can be identified by long oily strands on the top of the wort.
  • Lactobacillus – Produces lactic acid and ethyl lactate which contribute fruity and tart qualities to beer.
  • Enterobacter – Produces acetic acid, lactic acid, ethyl acetate, and dimethyl sulfide. Flavors associated with enterobacter include vegetal, smoky, moldy and “baby diaper.” This human pathogen can cause illness but does not survive in the final product due to decreasing pH and increasing alcohol concentration during fermentation.
  • Acetobacter – Aerobic bacteria that are responsible for the production of vinegar. These bacteria metabolize oxygen and alcohol to make acetic acid.

(Source: WildBrews: Beer Beyond the Influence of Brewer’s Yeast, Jeff Sparrow)

Although these microorganisms may be considered contaminates in “clean” beer, they add acids and esters that create the desired sour flavor profile in sour beers.

Sour beers were on the verge of extinction due to Louis Pasture’s discovery of how to obtain pure yeast cultures and increased knowledge of sanitation, but they have been increasing in popularity over the past decade.  Sour beers can teeter on the edge of a quality control disaster; I don’t think many people want to drink straight vinegar.  They are often blended with other sour beers or “clean” (non-sour) beers to achieve the favor profile the brewer is looking to achieve. Blending sour beers is a true art form.

On a trip up to the Bay Area I had the chance to stop by a new sour beer brewery called The Rare Barrel. The Rare Barrel ferments their beer with Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus and never uses standard brewer’s yeast. They brew offsite and transport the wort back to the warehouse for fermentation and blending.  Beer is stored in barrels for aging all around the warehouse and tasting room. I loved roaming amidst the barrels and trying to identify the origin of each barrel. I tried All Systems Go, Batch 2, which was a dark sour beer aged in oak with coffee beans.  My Mom even loved the Sourtooth Tiger, and she does not even like beer!

If you are interested in learning more about sour beers, I would recommend the books Wild Brews and Farmhouse Ales as well as this article on the history of sour beers.

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Inspiration

Joshua Tree

There are so many inspiring students in the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program; I wish I could write out everyone’s story and why they are in the program. I am inspired by the risks people are willing to take to pursue a career in a new field. I am awed by those who are quitting jobs to work for free though the internship program in hopes of landing a career in the industry. I am inspired by each student’s dedication to show up for three and a half hour classes three nights a week after work, and the passion everyone has for the craft of brewing. I swear the people in this program are some of the nicest people I have ever met. My classmates inspire me, but there is also another person who inspired me to enter this field who has a great story.

I met Yazan Karasheh through my husband; they worked together on a senior project in the electrical engineering program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Yazan was in San Diego visiting my husband and attending a craft beer convention when I first met him. He had decided to make a career change after graduating from CU with a degree in engineering and a miserable first job working in the Wyoming oilfields for Halliburton. Yazan’s real passion is for beer; he applied and got into UC Davis’s Master Brewing Program and passed the IBDE Exam. He went on to start working for Upslope Brewery in Boulder CO, but that was just the start of his journey.

Yazan’s ultimate goal was to open the first microbrewery in his home country of Jordan, as he shared with us over dinner several years ago.  He was so passionate about it, and everyday he came back from the convention filled with joy, life, and great beer. Yazan talked about the people he met and about how great the brewing industry is, and I politely listened while squeezing an orange in my Blue Moon. :)   I was struck by how much I wanted to feel this passionate about my career and future plans. Yazan asked me what I wanted to do, and, out of nowhere, I said “write.”  At the time I was just starting my science career, spending long days and nights in a lab, but somewhere deep inside of me the correct answer found its way out.  I haven’t forgotten the conversations from that night; they planted seeds, interest in beer, in following dreams, and in writing.

So cheers to Yazan who started the first microbrewery in Jordan, you can read about his process on his facebook page, and I love this article about the trials he faced in starting a brewery. Thanks Yazan for the inspiration and to my readers… what is it that you want to do?

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To Self Distribute or Not to Self Distribute?

This week marks the start of the Marketing and Distribution class in UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program. The class is taught by Arlan Arnsten, the former Sr. VP of Sales from Stone Brewing Company. This is the first marketing class I’ve ever taken, so when we went over the 5 P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, Placement, and People it was all new and exciting to me.

Our first lecture focused on a topic I was very interested in learning more about: how breweries make the decision to self distribute their beer or sign on with a wholesaler/distributor (those words are used interchangeably in this setting). Although some states do not allow breweries to self distribute, California affords breweries this option. There are a few breweries in San Diego that have made the choice to self distribute such as Belching Beaver, while other breweries have decided to sign on with a distributor – some recently such as Alpine Brewing Co. Stone Brewing Co. took an alternate route and started its own distribution company, distributing its own product and other craft beers.

In class, we brainstormed the benefits of self-distribution versus the benefits of using a wholesaler. A few of the benefits of self distribution are: it creates strong relationships between the brewery and the retailers, it gives breweries greater control of their product, and it can increase the speed of the product to the market.  Self distribution may be the only option for some smaller breweries if they cannot expand to meet demand for their product. Also, a brewery may choose to self distribute as they build their market until customers are demanding their product. We speculated that self distribution may be the wave of the future in San Diego as the craft beer industry grows and wholesalers are crowded out with craft beer.

Using a wholesaler can alleviate some of the problems of self distribution. Self distribution can be grueling hard work and breweries may have to deal with no pays or slow pays. Wholesalers come with finance departments, marketing teams, merchandizing teams, and a steady check for a brewery’s product. They also offer vast networks and distribution channels for the product. Of course, there is the ~30% distribution cost associate with using a wholesaler, but it is debatable if it is actually cheaper to self distribute.

When breweries make the choice to sell their distribution rights, they have over 100 licensed distribution companies in California to choose between. A few major names in the distribution business are: Miller, Young’s Market Company, Southern Wine and Spirits, Craft Beer Guild Distribution of California, AB Sales of San Diego, and Crest Beverage.  It is important for a brewery to choose the right distributor by setting expectations and having a shared vision with the distributor.  I was really interested in California Craft, a distribution company run by two women distributing for 50/50, Almanac, Cascade, and Crooked Staves, to name a few.

We will be ending each class by looking at the branding and marketing strategies of different breweries. This week we studied Brewery Ommegang’s new labels. We discussed what struck us about the labels, how we thought the bottles would look on the shelf, and what sort of marketing strategy the brewery is employing using these labels. The photo below shows the new labels we studied in class and the bottom photo shows the old labels… what do you think?

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(image source)

 

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Spring Quarter 2014 Update:

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When I posted Spring Quarter 2014, students in the UCSD Extension’s Brewing Program did not know if the Operations Management and Marketing & Distribution classes would be offered for Spring 2014. The good news is the Marketing and Distribution class will be offered and taught by Arlan Arnsten the former VP of Sales at Stone Brewing Company starting April 30th 2014. Operations Management will not be offered until Summer Quarter 2014.

I am in the first cohort of students through this program and not having Operations Management offered in Spring Quarter will postpone my completion of the program by one quarter. I am prepared for delays in the program since it is the first time many of these classes are being offered. The instructors for the UCSD Brewing Program are some of the greatest brewing legends in the nation, so if it takes longer for the program to get these instructors, it is well worth the wait. Here is a list of the instructors in the program:

Mitch Steele – Brewmaster at Stone Brewing Company
Lee Chase – Pub owner of Tiger, Tiger and Blindlady Ale, Brewer at Automatic Brewery
Gwen Conley – Production and Quality Control Directory at Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey
Yuseff Cherney – Chief Operating Officer, Head Brewer/Head Distiller of Ballast Point
Nick Cain – Quality Control Director at Ballast Point Brewing
Peter Zien – AleSmith
Jacob Mckean – Modern Times
Christopher McGreger – McGreger Translations
Chris White – White Labs
Earl Knight – Chief Commercial Officer at Ballast Point Brewing
Tomme Arthur – Director of Brewery Operations for Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey
Patrick Rue – The Bruery

On another note relating to Spring Quarter 2014, the Origins and History of Brewing class finished up this week and I can’t recommend it enough. It is taught by Christopher McGreger who flew in from Germany to teach the class. I noticed on the UCSD Extension website this class will be available to the public and not just people in the brewing certificate program, so if you want to try one of the classes in the brewing program, check it out!

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I followed up the class with a trip to the San Diego Museum of Man’s Beerology Exhibit to expand on my new love of beer history. This exhibit highlights a lot of the main themes of brewing history we learned in class.  It was fun to see brewing artifacts in person and to watch video clips from Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ale series.

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