A $50,000 endowment from North Coast Brewing Co. of Fort Bragg, Calif., will launch the Mark E. Ruedrich North Coast Brewing Diversity Scholarship for the brewing program at UC Davis. The gift ensures that, by supporting education and opportunity, North Coast Brewing furthers its goal of promoting diversity in the brewing industry in perpetuity.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to improve our community,” said Jeff Ottoboni, CEO of North Coast Brewing. “The tumultuous events of 2020 reinforced the need for us to make this significant commitment and lead efforts to promote diversity in the brewing industry. Twenty-four hours later, we were on the phone with UC Davis.”
Recognizing UC Davis’ commitment to inclusion and diversity and its reputation for brewing education, the brewery partnered with the Master Brewers Certificate Program at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education to support aspiring brewing professionals. “We have an obligation to our employees, our community and our world to do what is right at all times and in this case, the best way to do that — to create meaningful, long-lasting change — is through education,” said Ottoboni.
“UC Davis is at the forefront of brewing and beverage technology,” said Ottoboni, adding that Patrick Broderick, co-brewmaster for North Coast Brewing, is an alumnus of the Master Brewers Program. “We are honored to work with such a prominent educational institution.”
The scholarship will be named for the brewery’s founding brewmaster and president of the board of directors, Mark Ruedrich. He helped establish the philanthropic values of the company — with the mission “Making the World a Better Place One Pint at a Time.”
The scholarship will provide support for entering students who are committed to diversity, have experience and/or understanding of the barriers traditionally faced by people of color and demonstrate a high potential for leadership in promoting cross-cultural understanding in the brewing industry.
“I am gratified to be a part of this important step forward,” said Ruedrich. “Diversity on every level is all important in our world today and should be fostered and encouraged within the craft brewing industry. This can only lead to richer innovation and creativity.”
“Our industry is for everyone, but like many industries, we can do more to improve diversity,” said Glen Fox, academic director of the Master Brewers Certificate Program. According to a recent study by the Brewers Association, 89 percent of brewers and 76 percent of production staff at the breweries surveyed were white.
“Education will increase diversity and improve the lives of people in our industry,” said Fox. “The support from North Coast Brewing Company will help us provide training for people with a passion in the science of brewing who otherwise may not be able to afford to upgrade their knowledge and skills.”
North Coast Brewing has been a pioneer in the craft brewing industry since 1988. The company is also a leader in philanthropy and sustainability. As a B Corp and a California Certified Benefit Corporation, it is part of a global movement of corporations committed to solving social and environmental problems.
“We know that others in our community and our industry look to us for leadership and guidance, and we intend to continue to set the pace for doing the right thing,” said Ottoboni. “We strongly encourage others to support our mission and emulate our gift, thus bolstering our collective brewing teams for many years going forward.”
For more than 25 years, the Master Brewers Certificate Program has been providing students with an in-depth understanding of brewing science and brewery engineering and preparing them to enter the brewing industry with the potential to rise to the highest levels of leadership within it. To date, the program has graduated more than 850 students from more than 20 countries. For more information on the UC Davis Master Brewers Program and how to support its efforts to increase diversity in the brewing industry, contact Melissa Marbach ([email protected], (530) 757-8734).