The first 20 students to take the first Oskar Blues Brew School class are preparing to take the General International Beer and Distribution Certification exam in just a few weeks. One of those students has already been offered, and accepted, the position of assistant brewer at Oskar Blues’ North Carolina brewery.
“I could not be happier,” said new brewer Erik Weber. “This class was key to my access to the amazing people in the craft beer industry, and this is a great opportunity for me to grow with Oskar Blues.”
Weber moved to Fletcher, N.C., with his wife and two children, from Erie, Pa., just over a year ago. He is an avid home brewer and has been a stay-at-home dad. His background is in environmental science.
“We are thrilled to have found a brewer from the class,” said Noah Tuttle, head brewer at the Brevard brewery. “This goes to show how important education and hands-on training is for folks who want to pursue careers in this incredibly fast-growing industry.”
The course is a collaboration between Oskar Blues Brewery and Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), which has a campus nearby. Students have alternated between lecture classes at the college and hands-on learning at the brewery since January.
The IBD is an internationally recognized exam offered at centers throughout the U.S. by the United Kingdom’s Institute of Brewing and Distilling. The exam will be offered at BRCC for the first time in May.
BRCC offers additional Craft Beer Academy Classes, and two other recent Oskar Blues hires, Amy Rubin, Western North Carolina sales rep, and Travis Mannon, packaging, are graduates of the Beer Basics class.
“The Brew School has been extremely well received with an enormous backlog of interest,” said Ben Kish, workforce training development director at Blue Ridge Community College. “We had so many students enrolling, we nearly overloaded our registration system. One of the most encouraging points is we are already seeing students being placed in the industry from our program.”
Registration for the Oskar Blues Brew School summer session will again be online with dates/times to be announced later in April. The summer schedule for Blue Ridge will be online by mid-April with the Oskar Blues Summer Brew School and all the Craft Beer Academy Classes listed.
Oskar Blues Brewery is the 27th largest craft brewery in the U.S., up from 33rd in 2012, according to the Brewers Association’s list of top 50 breweries, released last week. The brewery continues to build on its 52 percent growth in 2012 by posting a 42 percent year-to-date increase through February 2013. The North Carolina brewery now brews the majority of Oskar Blues beer distributed up and down the East coast.
For additional questions about the Brew School, please contact Blue Ridge Community College at (828) 694-1655.