It has been less than a week since Horry-Georgetown Technical College announced that it will be offering a degree in brewing in Fall 2015 in what would become the first college degree of its kind offered in South Carolina.
The school’s executive vice president for academic affairs Marilyn Fore says she has received nothing but positive reactions from colleagues and friends in academia, area businesses, and citizens. Fore says developing a curriculum of study that will lead to an associate degree in brewing, distillation, and fermentation will be an interesting endeavor.
Just in case any parents are worried, students must be the legal drinking age of 21 before they can take their first core brewing class.
Fore says she doesn’t foresee any problems with getting the program approved. Fore says her early research into putting together a faculty for the brewing classes indicates that she will be looking for individuals with some very unique qualifications.
“Based upon some perusal of some information that I have just from looking in North Carolina and Niagara College in Canada, I believe there is a limited commodity in terms of those who might be qualified,” she told South Carolina Radio Network.
There are currently three brewing programs being offered at technical colleges in North Carolina.
Fore says she is confident a planned assessment will indicate a need for the program that will train students to take on a varying array of jobs in an industry that is growing in the state.
“Those companies do not only include brewpubs and brewing companies, but also companies that are in the market for distributing beers… that maintain beverages and also sell beverages,” she said.
There are currently 14 microbreweries and 18 wineries in South Carolina.
Gore says two companies in the Grand Strand area have already reached out to the school offering their expertise and expressing an interest in providing learning opportunities for students.
“In terms of the technicalities of what craft beer or what brewing beer is (they are) wanting to help train our students by asking them to come in and have hands-on experience and form internships with them,” Fore said.
A bill has been introduced in the General Assembly that would increase the amount of beer a microbrewery can produce and sell in South Carolina each year. That legislation is aimed at luring California-based Stone Brewing to locate a new, proposed East Coast brewery in South Carolina. Gore says the timing of the bill’s introduction and the new degree are just an interesting coincidence.
But she said it is a further indication of a need for this time of degree in the state. “Our college wants to offer a program that would train individuals that could step into a brewing company would advantage any company that’s looking to come to South Carolina,” she said. “So it is somewhat of a happy coincidence.”