Friday, September 19, 2008

UW Madison To Start Brewing Classes

The post I promised about traveling and beer will go up later today. But some interesting news out of Milwaukee/Madison has broken in on the action.

UW-Madison is starting a brewers school. Sort of. And I have a lot of problems with how the media is portraying this.

"On the surface something like this begs a lot of questions about promoting drinking or what underage students could do with the knowledge ... "

"For a campus fighting its party school reputation a brewery inside the microbial sciences building may seem like an odd addition."

"... it's not the kind of knowledge a student can take home and use in their basement."

Not only does this sort of passive-aggressive backhanding only serve to reinforce the reputation, it shows a stunning ignorance of the science and art of brewing beer. If the media would, instead, see a demo of the machinery in action, maybe interview a brewer or two (instead of a PR person) about the skills and knowledge that will be gained, and maybe take their head out of the sands and realize that much of Wisconsin's economy is based on beer and the brewing industry, they might instead promote this as a great stride forward in growing Wisconsin's national reputation and a brewing powerhouse.

The article does manage to note that the beer and brewing industry employs over 63,000 people in the state of Wisconsin. Brewers, packagers, distribtors; does this also include brewpub employees like servers and bartenders, third party accountants and service professionals who help these small businesses, the bars and pubs and bowling alleys and sports stadiums and retail and grocery stores that sell the beer?

The article mentions that MillerCoors donated the brewing equipment. The article also quotes Miller as saying "There are several places for [graduates of the class] to work within MillerCoors, several areas for them to work." How close is this relationship? Do they have to work at Miller? Is the equipment specific to Miller? Is this equipment standard in the brewing world? Will they also be taught the basics of brewing, or just how to brew on equipment that only breweries like Miller and Coors and Bud can afford to own? Hopefully we'll get some answers soon.


  1. Oddly enough the student newspaper "the Daily Cardinal" wrote a much better article on this subject yesterday. They emphasized that this is not just a beer brewing class, but a fermentation sciences class that requires prerequisite courses in organic chemistry, bio-chemistry and introduction to microbiology (read: I can't take it).
    "...the science of fermentation has great ramifications beyond just fermented beverages."

  2. Oh, I am SO telling the GF to go back to school.

  3. I would love to learn more about this i can not find anything on UW's website about an fermenting science studies


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