WYOMISSING, Pa. — Penn State Berks will offer a new craft brewing certificate program in partnership with Penn State Extension for the spring 2023 semester. The noncredit program is designed for students with some brewing experience. It will entail eight seven-week-long remote courses where students will meet weekly with their instructor via Zoom to discuss course content, ask questions, and engage in discussions.
Craft brewing is a popular industry and pastime in Pennsylvania. According to the Brewers Association website, in 2021, the economic impact in Pennsylvania was about $5.4 billion, with more than 3.2 million barrels produced, ranking second highest in the United States. Pennsylvania also ranks second in the country in terms of craft breweries with 486.
New courses include Beer: Past, Present, and Future; Introduction to Beer Production; a course focused on the four major ingredients of beer — water, yeast, hops, and malt; and two capstone courses on the business of brewing beer. There will also be course field trips to breweries, malt house tours, and hops farm visits for hands-on learning experiences.
The program was made possible by the PA Specialty Crop Block Grant from the PA Department of Agriculture, which was awarded in July 2021 to allow the college to develop a craft brewing certificate program utilizing PA Specialty grain. The grant will allow the first course of the certificate program to be offered free of charge.
According to Elaine Berish, principal investigator on the grant and a continuing education area representative at Penn State Berks, “Identifying the right person to serve as the curriculum development coordinator was significant to the success of the program. Many people work in brewing as a secondary career, so it took some time to find that individual who was able to invest time to the development of a new brewing program. We are proud to announce that Jeremy Myers, a 1998 Penn State alumnus with a Bachelor of Science in telecommunications and a seasoned and innovative brewer from the Philadelphia area, enthusiastically agreed to take on the project.”
Myers, former owner and co-founder of Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, served as head brewer from 2010 to 2019 where he earned Philly Beer Scene Brewer of the Year from 2016 to 2018. He created the Mutual Respect Brewers Co-op, a collaboration of smaller breweries that share resources while also maintaining their individual brewery brands. Currently Myers is also a consultant to the Braumanufaktur Bachs in Neunkirchen, Germany, training German brewers in American craft brewing techniques. His brewing credentials include certificates from the Sibel Institute, HACCP Level 2 Food Safety, and qualification as a recognized judge by the Beer Judge Certification Program.