The explosion of popularity in beer brewing in Ireland has seen IT Carlow make an early move, creating what it calls a first-of-its-kind brewing and distilling course in the country.
A new four-year BSc (Honours) course in brewing and distilling has been set up in IT Carlow on the back of a two-year study into how to complement a burgeoning industry.
Bidding to become the “centre for teaching, learning, research and innovation” in the brewing and distilling industry, IT Carlow’s president Dr Patricia Mulcahy said she hopes to attract “both national and international learners” to the course.
The production of alcohol in Ireland has been rising for years now. According to the Irish Whiskey Association, the export of whiskey has risen three-fold in value since 2002.
Last year, there were an estimated 63 microbreweries operating in Ireland, rising by half in just one year. The production capacity is growing faster still, rising three-fold between 2011 and 2014.
Saying the sector is in “desperate need” of such an educational outlet, Bord Bia’s Denise Murphy has lauded the creation of the course.
“I personally would be hugely supportive of it,” she said. “Apart from the technical piece, it is great to see modules looking at marketing, management and new product development included in the programme.”
Complementary programmes will run alongside the course for professionals to take up, rather than undergoing the full four-year programme.
Courses in yeast biology, malting and brewing raw materials, the brewing process, distillation and distilled spirits production, and post-distillation downstream processing will each run from 15 to 20 weeks, costing between €750 and €1,050 each.
Though it’s the full degree course that is more eye-catching, with IT Carlow hoping to capitalise on what the Food Wise 2025 report called an “explosion of the craft alcohol market” in the US soon.
“The breadth of subjects and practical work experience will more than equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to fill a range of roles in the rapidly expanding craft brewing and distilling sector,” said Dr Gearóid Cahill, European director of brewing science at Alltech.