The brewery, founded by Auburn alumnus Dale Katechis, has partnered with the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management in the College of Human Sciences, as well as the colleges of veterinary medicine, business and agriculture, to offer the graduate-level program, which started in the fall of 2014 with 20 students.
Courses are offered online through distance education; however, students visit the Oskar Blues facilities in Brevard or Longmont for hands-on training during the course of the program.
“It’s been fun getting rootsy — working with the folks in the place where I brewed my first batch of home brew,” Katechis said. “Getting this program rolling has been a ton of fun, and helping students get into the program and get hands on with Oskar Blues is what we’re all about.”
The newly-created endowment will provide financial assistance to students who are enrolled in the Auburn University Graduate School and have been accepted into the brewing science program. Students enrolled in the program have already earned a bachelor’s degree and are seeking entry into the malting, brewing and/or distilling industries. The Auburn program is the first of its kind in the Southeast.
“Our program was developed as a direct response to the fast-paced growth and interest in craft brewing within the Southeast and nationally,” said Martin O’Neill, head of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management. “At a time when new business start-ups were flooding onto the market, there was a distinct lack of educational opportunity to advance brewing know-how. In partnership with Oskar Blues, Auburn’s program seeks to provide interested parties with a laser-focused and much more applied educational development opportunity.”
Graduates of Auburn’s program will be eligible to sit for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling’s (IBD) General Certificate/Diploma of Brewing examinations. Located in the United Kingdom, the IBD is the world’s leading organization dedicated to the education and training needs of brewers and distillers.
“Auburn has enjoyed partnering with Oskar Blues, who epitomize the best in industry practice when it comes to the world of craft brewing,” O’Neill added. “Over the years, Oskar Blues has thrown its full weight behind the further development of Auburn’s program ensuring both its acceptance and relevance by the wider brewing community.”
Its initiatives include student and faculty development through practical immersion in the Oskar Blues business environment, real time access to Oskar Blues personnel and facilities, as well as its presence on campus with the program’s annual Oskar Blues-sponsored tailgate. The tailgate is held each year on a home football Saturday and will coincide with the announcement of the first Oskar Blues Brewery fellowship recipient.