SW Ohio college to offer 1st beer-brewing science degree in the state

Ohio’s first two-year brewing science degree program is scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday, May 23 in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is scheduled to announce the brewing degree — the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Brewing, part of the Midwest Culinary Institute, to be exact — at a ceremony Tuesday morning. The new degree program was only recently approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Cincinnati State officials call it “the first 2-year Brewing Science degree program in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana,” and they said the program was designed with extensive input from brewing industry leaders.

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Employers in the fast growing craft beer industry say the new degree will help fill a key skills gap and will accelerate the region’s growing reputation as a national center of excellence in brewing.

“This is huge,” said Brady Duncan, co-founder of Madtree Brewing Co. “The new brewing degree program at Cincinnati State will not only save us a ton of on-the-job training time, but it will also help put Cincinnati on the national brewing map. You want to be a city known for quality, and this will help all of us in the local brewing industry to raise the bar.”

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We reached out to Mary MacDonald, executive director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, for her response to the news. MacDonald called it “a fantastic opportunity.”

The craft brewers association “was hoping that one or more colleges would launch a brewing science degree program,” MacDonald said. She’s hoping other, similar programs are developed elsewhere in the state.

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Cole Hackbarth, director of brewing operations for Rhinegeist brewery in Cincinnati, said in a release that the new degree “will not only provide students with a good background in brewing, professionally it’s also definitely something that employers will look for, especially for people who want to become a brew master or head brewer.”

In the last six years, more than a dozen craft breweries have opened across the greater Dayton area, helping to revitalize downtown Dayton and providing jobs and tax revenues. Nearly every brewery that has opened has expanded its operations in some way, either buying or leasing more property or starting canning and bottling operations in order to sell packaged beers. And more breweries are in the works, including locations in Washington Twp., Xenia and the Mason-West Chester area.

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