Over the past couple of years, nearly every industry has faced reckoning when it comes to inclusion and diversity, and craft beer is no different. Now, the Oregon Brewers Guild has announced that it will launch courses for underrepresented individuals in a field traditionally dominated by white men.
Mashing Barriers will partner with one intern with a syndicate member brewery every three months, starting in April. Portland-based Von Ebert Brewing is set to be the first act that guides a potential brewer through the 12-week course. And that internship has a bonus you don’t see often these days when it comes to learning on the job: a salary.
Work on the program began in early 2021 and is bearing fruit thanks to the guidance of the nonprofit’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
“Our goal with this program is to partner with our member breweries and help open the door to those who have faced barriers – women, people of color, LGTBQ+ – really anyone struggling to reach,” Christina LaRue, executive director of the union, said in a press release. “It’s been a labor of love for the past year.”
Students will follow a detailed and rigorous curriculum, which includes an introductory week filled with field trips to a variety of businesses in the area that contribute to the brewing process, including Imperial Yeast in Portland, Great Western Malting in Vancouver, Washington, and Woodburn’s Crosby Hop Farm .
Next, the trainees get hands-on experience in all aspects of the brewery, from the brewery to the laboratory to the canning line, as well as an extensive lesson on the hazards of the industry, of which there are many (steam, chemicals, gases, confined spaces and heavy equipment).
Applications for Von Ebert internships will be accepted on the guild’s website through February 28.
Since this is a program that pays for its students, the nonprofit will help with the costs. The union launched its first internship fundraising campaign, Pint Day, in December 2021, and you can expect another to help raise even more money over the next couple of months. Online donations are also accepted.
There’s an additional learning opportunity thanks to City Brew Tours, the national brand that bought the majority stake in Portland-based Brewvana in 2019.
The award-winning curator of Craft Beer Experiences is taking applications for the second annual Talent on Tap Scholarship, which supports people of color who seek to identify women to make positive changes in the industry. The funds can be used for Cicerone certification, admission to brewer science programs, brewing training, and other hospitality certifications.
“We’ve learned a lot about the craft beer industry in the past year, and how it’s not always a safe and welcoming environment for women and people of color,” Chad Brodsky, founder and CEO of City Brew Tours, said in a press release. “We can and must do better.”
Applications will be accepted on the company’s website until February 1.