WYOMISSING, Pa. — The craft brewing industry is big business in Pennsylvania, and a recent grant will allow Penn State Berks to develop a program of craft brewing courses, with an emphasis on the use of Pennsylvania-grown specialty grains.
The Penn State Berks Office of Continuing Education was awarded 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, in the brewing process. The timeframe of the grant is July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023.
According to Elaine Berish, principal investigator on the grant and a continuing education area representative at Penn State Berks, the college will partner with Penn State Cooperative Extension to develop a series of noncredit courses that will help home brewers to hone their skills, while incorporating the use of the state’s specialty grains in their recipes. Courses are slated to be offered in the fall semester of 2022.
As the craft/micro-brewing industry in Pennsylvania continues to grow annually, so does its economic impact. According to the Brewers Association website, the economic impact in Pennsylvania was about $5.6 billion in 2019, with more than 3.1 million barrels produced, ranking second highest in the United States. Pennsylvania also ranks third in the country in terms of craft breweries with 444.
Berish states that additional brewing courses and workshops will include topics such as local sourcing, brewing fundamentals, bottling, branding, market distribution and business requirements for opening a brewery.