SPSCC is hiring a Director of Craft Brewing and Distilling (is it you?)

South Puget Sound Community College seeks a creative, dynamic, and collaborative individual to fill the position of Director of Craft Brewing and Distilling in the Craft Brewing and Distilling Program.

Read the full job description and requirements >>

The Director is responsible for the marketing and development of the Craft Brewing and Distilling Program and provides coordination and direction to faculty and students in the program. The Director will work closely with the faculty in the program to successfully meet industry standards and incorporate student competencies and curriculum. The Director will work closely with industry partners to coordinate the production and lab components of the credit program.

Key Responsibilities

  • The Director’s general responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
    Recruit, interview, and recommend adjunct faculty hires for the Craft Brewing and Distilling Program; work collaboratively with the Dean of Social Science and Business to provide onboarding and ongoing instructional support to adjunct faculty.
  • Manage national and international program review processes to align programs to industry needs. These partners include IBD, Master Brewers, Heriot-Watt, ACSA, Washington Distillers Guild, CINA, United States Association of Cider Makers, NWCA, NABC, ADI, Brewers Association, and others.
  • Manage the legal requirements for permits and processes related to the Brewing and Distilling program with local agencies including LCB, DOH, and local governments and with the SBCTC.
  • Coordinate internships for students within the program with industry locations including the paperwork associated with granting credit and job outlines and evaluations.
  • Serve as point of contact for students, conduct information sessions, and do outreach.
  • Work with Public Relations to ensure college web page is up to date and roll out marketing strategies around programs through Brewing and Distilling Center.
  • Work with industry partners to coordinate the production and lab components of the credit program.
  • Coordinate off site tours for exposure to industry based on course curriculum needs and schedules.
  • Create self-sustaining program income opportunities that allow the expansion of the programs.
  • Work with college team as part of Design/Build process of Brewing and Distilling Center facility to assure facility meets the needs of the educational outcomes.
  • Work closely with City of Tumwater, TEDC, Chambers, Port of Olympia and other partners as part of the IPZ to create a hub of activity that supports the Brewing, Distilling and Cider making industries.
  • Help identify, coordinate, and manage industry events hosted in the area that support the industry needs for education.
  • Help to identify, coordinate, and manage community-based events that create draws for people to engage with the Brewing, Distilling, and Cider industries and the cross-market opportunities available.
  • Work under general supervision from the Dean of Social Science and Business and Dean for Corporate and Continuing Education to develop outcomes, goals, and timelines for the Brewing and Distilling Center.
  • Develop and manage the Craft Brewing and Distilling program advisory committee.
  • Develop relationships with local, state and regional educational institutions to create pathways for students to continue to pursue education in the field.
  • Help identify and coordinate industry-based training with the CCE office in support of both industry and community in field.

Read the full job description and requirements >>

It’s the Hops

Known for its taste and bitterness, India Pale Ales, or IPAs, continue to be a favorite among craft beer lovers.  It’s the hops – a small, green flower with citrusy, piney flavors – that gives IPAs that unmistakable taste. In the last year, Yakima Valley has grown more hops than any other place in the world, making these hop farms a destination for craft brewers.

Shopping for hops: Brewers’ annual journey to find the best hops


CBS News’ Dana Jacobson reports from Yakima.

The craft beer movement in the U.S. has been powered by hops, the flower that gives beer a wide range of flavor. The American craft beer industry produces just over 12 percent of the beer brewed in America, but consumes a staggering 40 percent of domestically grown hops. Most of that crop comes from the Yakima Valley in Washington state, where top brewers head every September to personally shop for their hops.


Partnership Confirmed for Craft Brewing and Distilling Center

South Puget Sound Community College has signed a letter of intent to partner with Craft District, LLC, to lease space in a craft brewing and distilling center that will serve as the long-term home of SPSCC’s new Craft Brewing and Distilling degree program.

Craft District began work in August to develop a commercial site in Tumwater near the former Olympia Brewing Company brewery. When complete, SPSCC intends to lease up to 10,000 square feet of space that will include classrooms, labs, small scale production space, offices, and a conference room.

According to John Peters of Craft District, the center will also feature production space and tasting rooms for two distilling companies and a local brewery. Tenino-based Sandstone Distillery and Heritage Distilling Company of Gig Harbor, Wash., have each confirmed their intent to occupy the distilling facilities. SPSCC also plans to link its educational program with these commercial production spaces to give students the ability to gain hands-on experience.

“This is exactly the kind of space and partnership we were hoping to find for our program,” said SPSCC President Dr. Timothy Stokes.

“Co-locating our educational program with these successful local organizations will give our students a broad depth of experience and exposure to industry best practices,” he continued. “This great location will also allow us to build partnerships with manufacturers throughout the South Sound that will create a critical employment pipeline for our graduates.”

SPSCC’s new Craft Brewing and Distilling program is launching in April 2018. Students in the program will complete 95 credits in classes covering business fundamentals, fermentation science, compliance and legal issues, and product development and will receive an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree.

In this inaugural year, classes will be held on SPSCC’s Olympia campus, online, and in existing commercial production facilities in Thurston County. They expect to be in the center by fall quarter 2018.

About South Puget Sound Community College

 SPSCC is a public college in Olympia, Wash., that has been serving Thurston County and the surrounding communities for more than sixty years. SPSCC serves around 7,000 students each quarter and offers associate degrees and professional/technical degrees and certificates. In 2016, SPSCC was listed as one of the nation’s 150 best community colleges by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and in 2017 was ranked as the 41st best community college in the nation by College Choice.

Learn more about our progress

Stay-up-to date on program development and additional milestone achievements.  Follow this blog and receive email updates when we’ve got something great to share.

What’s Brewing This Fall?

Beer enthusiasts rejoice! The Corporate and Continuing Education program at SPSCC is offering a number of courses just for you this fall. Check them out!

Backyard Hops: Growing for Home or Market

August 26 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Growing hops on a small scale to supply both hobbyists and the booming regional craft beer industry can be done sustainably and profitably. Join us at the Parsons Family Farm for this hands-on class where we’ll take part in hops harvest while learning the history of hops production in WA State, what hops needs to thrive in the Puget Sound region, basics of planting and care and pests that can affect the plants. We’ll hear from local brewery Top Rung about the difference between using dry hops versus wet hops and why breweries are doing it. Then we’ll follow the hops we harvested to Top Rung for a brewery timed tour and complement our learning with a sample of fresh Hop Beer.

This class is for 21 and over.

Location: Parsons Family Farm 
Fee: $49.00

Brewing Science for the Home Brewer – IPA

Two part class:
Part 1 – Saturday, September 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Part 2 – Saturday, September 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

A 12 hour class aimed at describing the essential brewing science underpinning the process of brewing. In this class, we’re brewing Indian Pale Ale (IPA).

Aimed at both inexperienced and experienced home brewers looking to increase their understanding of the science of brewing. And how better to learn than to take part in actual brewing! On the first day of class, we’ll walk through the brewing process inside Fish Brewing, taking a lunch break on your own at the pub across the street. To allow our IPA sufficient brew time, there will be 3 weeks between the first day and second day of class. You will come back after to see what happened with the beer and learn how to bottle and store your creations. There is a lot of standing so wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers. Must be 21+ to attend.

Topics covered in detail will include; Brewing raw materials Brewing Calculations Brewing practices Yeast handling Beer aging Packaging techniques Beer flavors Brewing equipment design and manufacture Question and answer session

Location: Fish Brewing Company
Fee: $85.00

Behind the Brew with The Olympia Bike and Beer Tour 

September 10 or September 17 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Join us on a special Behind the Brew edition of the Olympia Bike and Beer Tour. Starting at the Schmidt House we will go over bike safety and talk about the origins of beer making in the Pacific Northwest.

After exploring the Schmidt house we will embark on a 12 mile bike friendly route that will take us down to Tumwater Historical Park and around Capital Lake to our first stop and tasting session at the Fish Tale Brewery. Next we travel up to the Capital Campus grounds where we stop for pictures and will talk about how lawmakers have shaped beer in Washington state. Zooming down to the Oly Taproom we make our second tasting stop for some local refreshments before heading over to Port Plaza Park for pictures a top a viewing platform overlooking the marina.

A quick bike ride over to Three Magnets Brewery for our final stop and tasting session before heading back around Capital Lake to our starting point at the Schmidt House.

Bring your bike, helmet and sense of adventure! Don’t have a bike and helmet? Register for the Bike/Helmet Rental Option of this class and we’ll provide them for you!

These tours are fun for everyone! Soda will be provided at tasting locations for anyone under the age of 21. Registration with an adult is required for individuals under 18.

Fee: $40.00

So You Want to Start a Brewery

Saturday, September 23 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Opening a brewery sounds like a dream job that includes days of dreaming up special recipes and tasting your product, but that is not even close to the reality of what it takes to run a brewery. Come and learn what opening a brewery really entails including legal requirements, financing, licensing, cleaning, distribution, and mountains of paperwork. Casey Sobol of Top Rung Brewery will share his journey from garage to brew house, including what he wishes they knew when they got started.

Location: Top Rung Brewery
Fee: $40.00

Registration is open now>>

Register online, by calling us at (360)709-2020 or in person at the Lacey Campus.

Learn more about our progress

Stay-up-to date on program development and additional milestone achievements.  Follow this blog and receive email updates when we’ve got something great to share.


Big program news! Financial aid is now available

There is only one more month until the Craft Brewing and Distilling degree program will be up and running for the first time ever. Be one of the first 30 students in the program with the help of financial aid. Yes–financial aid is now available for fall quarter! Currently, there is still money available for students to use towards their studies and still time to. Apply and register for this great opportunity to obtain an education in the industry.

What has SPSCC been up to?

Now that the program has been officially approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, SPSCC has accomplished all of the necessary steps to make the program financial aid eligible beginning in fall quarter, making it a program that is now more accessible for all interested students.

Steps to Apply

Step 1: Fill out the SPSCC application.

Step 2: Complete your FAFSA.

Step 3: Activate your SPSCC email.

Step 4: Complete the Craft Brewing and Distilling Program application and pay the application fee.

Step 5: Complete New Student Advising and Registration.

FAFSA Information

If you haven’t already done so, you can fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. The SPSCC school code is 005372. You will need to refer to your 2015 tax return to complete your FAFSA application.

Apply now>>

Learn more about our progress

Stay up-to-date on program development and additional milestone achievements. Follow this blog and receive email updates when we’ve got something great to share.


Distinctive Grains, Craft Beverages

Field walk draws a crowd to learn about WSU barley breeding lines, craft malting, brewing and distilling

Barley Field Walk 2017

Sink your teeth into a colorful array of tomato varieties, and the difference in flavor from one to another is obvious and delightful. But what about spirits made from different varieties of grain? Could different barley varieties provide the basis of distinctively flavored whiskeys?

About forty attendees gathered at Hidden River Farms outside of Montesano, Washington, to learn about just that. One possible outcome of the work might be the release of a barley variety specifically suited for craft beverage markets.

Shauna Stewart, Executive Director of the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau, told attendees that the majority of tourists today are travelling for food-related experiences. With strong partnerships up and down the supply chain, such products could create a lucrative market at a time when many grain farmers in south Puget Sound are idling combines due to poor prices and lack of markets.

“Craft spirits, distinguished by variety and region,
could be very attractive to visitors to the region,”

– Shauna Stewart

Barley 2017

Barley fields at Hidden River Farm.

During the event, attendees learned about the end-use characteristics and agronomic performance of seven barley breeding lines and two named varieties. Planted to a total of a half-acre each, upon harvest the varieties will be divided out across a micro-malting facility at Oregon State University; Sandstone, a micro-distillery in Tenino; and a University of Wisconsin lab for analysis. Most of the harvest, about 1,000 pounds of each variety, will go to Sandstone for distilling.

Following distillation at Sandstone, samples of the unaged whiskey will be sent to Tom Collins at the WSU Richland Wine Science Center. Collins’ team will evaluate the product for differences in flavor compounds using GC-MS analysis, followed by evaluation by a sensory panel. The unaged spirits will provide the best opportunity to detect impacts of variety on flavor, before barrel aging introduces variables that could mask subtle differences.

Ultimately, the research team wants to cultivate interest among producers and consumers of craft beer and spirits, and translate that interest into a high-value specialty market tuned in to the contribution that distinctive grains make to craft beverages.

The field walk, and research project, was organized by a diverse collaboration of farmer-distiller-researcher-Extension, including the Evan Mulvaney, Hidden River farms; John Bourdon, Sandstone Distillery; Stephen Bramwell, Thurston County agriculture faculty; Kevin Murphy, WSU barley breeder; and Tom Collins, WSU distillate analysis expert.

Hidden Valley Farm is the site of a research project, supported by funds from the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources BIOAg program, to evaluate germplasm in the WSU barley breeding program for craft malting, brewing and distilling. With a little work, market development, and a lot of supply chain teamwork, researchers also hope the work supports development of a high-value market for western Washington grain farmers.

Ready, set, apply! First 30 start September 18

We’re less than two short months from launching our brand new Craft Brewing and Distilling degree program—and we’re currently accepting applications for the first cohort of 30 students.  Since the next class of future brewers, distillers, and cider makers won’t even begin their studies for one to two years from this fall, now is the time to complete your application and get into the inaugural program!

What’s new about the program?

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken with ThurstonTalk or The Olympian with program updates, but we’ve got some exciting news to share.

Online class model:  We can officially welcome students from all over the country as part of our program!  The program is designed to offer most classes online with just one or two intensive weekends per quarter on-site in the Olympia area.  Whether you’re already a working professional or you live somewhere else in the country, the online-plus-intensive-weekend model makes participating in this program a possibility for anyone.

The only program of its kind:  If you haven’t already heard, ours is the only program in the U.S. that offers a degree in all three areas: craft brewing, distilling, and cider making.  That’s why local, domestic, and international experts are excited to work with us to bring an outstanding level of education to the program.

Industry-focused classes:  All classes in the program are contextualized to be industry relevant.  That means that the business plan you create in your business class and the papers you write for English are focused on industry and themes in craft brewing, distilling, and cider making.  Classes during quarter one of the program include Fermentation (instructor to be announced), Business (taught by Tim Madeley), and English (taught by Nancy Miller).

Program approval received: After Board of Trustees and SBCTC approvals, the program has officially been approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.  With this approval, SPSCC has begun steps to make the program financial aid eligible.  While the first quarter of the program is not financial aid eligible, the College expects that winter and subsequent quarters will be.

Back to school: The inaugural cohort will be selected this summer and will begin classes in mid-September after an exciting program kick-off party.  If you’ve been waiting for applications to open up for this program, don’t miss your chance to become part of the first 30!

Learn More or Apply Now >>

Learn more about our progress

Stay up-to-date on program development and additional milestone achievements.  Follow this blog and receive email updates when we’ve got something great to share.


Tart Cider makes a splash in the small business community

Earlier this month, the founders of Tart Cider, Zoe Van Schyndel and Nicholas Timm, won first prize of $25,000 cash in a Business Plan Competition organized by VIBE, the Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship at University of Washington Tacoma. The win also brings with it up to $25,000 in consulting services for the start-up from local law firms, accountants and commercial real estate advisers.

Tart Cider wins VIBE award

Tart Cider owners accept VIBE award

Veterans and co-founders, Van Schyndel and Timm, met at The Evergreen State College where they learned that they both share a passion for cider. Van Schyndel teaches business at Evergreen and Timm was one of her best students.

Tart Hard Cider is a commercial cidery that produces a hard cider targeted to consumers looking for a refreshing, dry cider. Tart is distinguished by fresh pressed apples and has significantly less sugar than most commercial ciders.

Distribution plans for Tart are centered on U.S.-made stainless steel kegs, rather than bottles, with a focus on environmental sustainability. Production is done at a solar powered cidery with apples from the Pacific Northwest and equipment made in the U.S.


Find them at tartcidery.com

Tart plans to establish its flagship hard apple cider, and then release additional products with a “tart theme” periodically throughout the year. Seasonal ciders will also be part of the team’s offerings with specialty ciders tailored to holidays such as Thanksgiving and New Years.

Tart Hard Cider is a true example that the entrepreneurial spirit and passion found in craft, combined with smart business planning can truly pay dividends.

Artisan Spirit magazine features the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center partnership

Artisan Spirit—a nationally distributed magazine for craft distillers and their fans—highlighted the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center partnership in their latest edition. Tumwater is the epicenter of shared passion and collective work to support the evolution of the craft beer, cider, and spirits movement. These industries need formal and specialized education resources and other business supports to take them to the next level. Partners here are building on the community’s brewing legacy to make it happen.

This fall, South Puget Sound Community College will begin a formal degree program with the guidance of industry operators. Entrepreneurs will leverage the world-class business resources from the Center for Business and Innovation (a partnership with Thurston Economic Development Council and the College). And more developments are on the way in this community revitalization project to bring brewing back (#BringBrewingBack) in a new and expanded way.

Read the article, Creating the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center, in the Spring 2017 issue of Artisan Spirit magazine, by Chris Lozier.

4 reasons to fall in love with whiskey

SPSCC’s non-credit leg, Corporate and Continuing Education (CCE), was definitely on to something when they decided to partner with The Whiskey People for a five-class certificate series covering whiskey.

While trips to wine country have been popular destinations for years, how many times have you tasted—or learned much about—whiskey?  Whiskey-cert-april-17-smallShy of SPSCC’s new Craft Brewing and Distilling program, the 15-hour whiskey certificate series covered more than any beginner could wish to know about whiskey, from terminology and ingredients to origin and pairings.

Didn’t hear about the classes?  Let us recap some of the coolest takeaways and give you four reasons to fall in love with whiskey—and maybe even register for the next offering of the series later this year in September.

Watch the 1-minute class video >>

1. You don’t have to like the same whiskeys as the critics and connoisseurs.

According to instructor and founder of The Whiskey People, Treacy Duerfeldt, an important distinction between being a wine lover and a whiskey lover is how to appreciate the drink.  One part of appreciating whiskey is acquiring a taste for the spirit.  What’s more important, however, is learning what flavors and tasting method you like the best.  Treacy says that, “First you learn it, then you like it, then you love it.”  And once you get there, you can focus on drinking what you like while others can have what they like.  Say goodbye to snooty tasting rooms.  Sip and enjoy!

2. You can squeeze an extra workout into your day with “whiskey yoga”.

The classes offered several techniques to taste a variety of whiskeys, like drinking it straight or adding a little water.  Treacy’s favorite method allows the whiskey to rest in the mouth and rise to body temperature, followed by inhaling through the nose—all before swallowing.  He calls the method whiskey yoga, which releases the deepest flavor elements and gives you more insight to the ingredients and distilling process used.


3. You get to expand your vocabulary with words like “peaty”.

Once you’ve got whiskey yoga under your belt, it will be easier to appreciate the flavor components that are used in your favorite whiskeys.  When it comes to describing the whiskey you’re tasting, there’s no need to get fancy.  Feel free to stick to familiar words like “buttery” or “smoky” or “fruity”.  On the other hand, why not explore a whole new world of adjectives like “peaty”, “husky”, or “kippery” (go on… look them up).  Better yet, why not learn how to use your own words and fully understand and connect to what they mean?

4. You can support small business and local distilleries in Thurston County.

Washington State’s distilling industry has boomed in the past five years.  The Washington Distillers Guild estimates Washington’s 100+ retail distilleries to be the highest of any state in the U.S. and Thurston County boasts various brands close to home, like Sandstone Distillery in Tenino.  And most of the local craft distilleries source their raw ingredients directly from the region, including grains, potatoes, and even hogs (for infusing the whiskey with bacon, of course).

Learn more about our progress

Stay up-to-date on program development and additional milestone achievements.  Follow this blog and receive email updates when we’ve got something great to share.