UNH and New Hampshire Brewers Association host the first annual NH Craft Brewers Conference

With steady growth every year, the craft beer industry is becoming an economic driver than cannot be ignored. To give our state’s young and entrepreneurial students an opportunity to explore this industry, UNH has added a new brewing science minor in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. I know what you’re thinking: every college kid is going to jump at the opportunity to “minor in beer,” but all drinking jokes aside, this is an amazing program.

The school has been very lucky to add Cheryl Parker, formerly a brewer at Throwback Brewery, to their staff for this program. Not only did she lead the set-up of the on-site pilot brewery, but also she’ll be teaching two of the courses required for the minor. With her guidance, students will receive hard-to-find, hands-on experience in brewing, quality control, and more. UNH is one of only a handful of universities to embrace the craft beer industry so far, giving its students a major advantage when entering the job force.

To kick off this exciting new program, UNH has partnered with the Granite State Brewers Association (NHBA) to put together a five-day startup workshop beginning November 6th. Covering everything from regulations and paperwork to marketing and community involvement, attendees will receive a crash course in starting a brewery from people who have already done it. Instructors have been rounded up from the seacoast’s vibrant brewing community, and include men and women from Throwback, 7th Settlement, Stoneface Brewing Co., Earth Eagle Brewings, and Liars Bench Beer Co.

If you’re interested in learning more about the beer industry but not necessarily hoping to start a brewery yourself, consider the all-day NH Craft Brew Conference (CBC) that will wrap up the workshop. On Friday, November 10th, you’ll have over sixteen sessions developed by NHBA to choose from. Whether you’re a pro, a serious homebrewer, a craft-centric bartender, or just a curious resident, you’ll find topics of interest, including: sourcing grains and hops, quality control, distribution, taproom management, licensing, and many more.

The keynote speaker on Friday morning will be Mitch Steele, one of the most respected figures in the craft beer world. Since graduating from UC Davis with a fermentation science degree, Mitch has become an award-winning brewer with a resume that will make your jaw drop. After spending the last ten years revamping Stone Brewing in Escondido (increasing their output by 100,000 barrels per year!), he left to open New Realm Brewing Co. in Atlanta, which is scheduled to open this fall. On our last visit to San Diego, Jeff and I were very lucky to get a private tour of Stone from Mitch, and I can tell you this: he will not be a boring keynote speaker! He has more industry experience and brewing knowledge than anyone I’ve ever met, and equally importantly, he’s friendly, funny, and informative.

The CBC will close with a Brewer’s Banquet on Friday evening, which will feature New Hampshire beers and outstanding food pairings, not to mention a room full of brewers and entrepreneurs. And having just crammed your brain with industry information, you’ll be able to hold a conversation with any of them! See you there!

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