In the pursuit of hoppiness, countless people across the world continue to crave craft beer. The demand for craft beer grows so much that corporations actively try to shut them down. In order to keep the craft beer industry strong, entrepreneurs need to continually grow their brewery or company. But how does one find trained professionals to handle the work? Pretty much every brewery would only hire individuals with prior experience in the industry, not even giving the chance to hire fresh people to give them experience. So how does one get experience if a brewery will not give experience? In a world where experience matters the most over education, certifications, and proficiency, sometimes it helps to go back to the basics, and the basics start in the classroom. To learn more about the craft beer industry, we look to the institutions that provide training and education to willing individuals, and for that, we turn to Innovation Brew Works.
Located within the Innovation Village Research Park at Cal Poly Pomona, Innovation Brew Works represents the campus building that not only serves pizza and beer to the public, but functions as a full-size brewery where students can learn hands-on about the brewing process as part of the curriculum. While certainly not the first institution to offer a curriculum to major in brewing, Cal Poly Pomona represents one of the few to do so. As an added bonus, the beers produced here do not go to waste. Thanks to the setup of the brewery, a head brewer makes the main batches in the primary equipment to serve in the café, while students utilize small batch pilot systems to test their brews. If a student produces something worthy, they may feature it as a special cask in the café. Otherwise, nothing goes to waste, and the public can walk in to Innovation Brew Works and enjoy a cold one or two.
This past Saturday, Innovation Brew Works celebrated their one-year anniversary, although since they opened in fall 2016, this marked their 1.5-year anniversary. They kept the prices down, ranging from $10 to $30 depending on how much a person wanted to drink, and each admission included raffle tickets. During the anniversary celebration, Innovation Brew Works expanded the area to the outdoor spaces around it to accommodate for the increased attendance and for the live music. While the café remained open for business, they also provided free popcorn. In the late afternoon, guests could meet the head brewer and learn about the brewery, the curriculum, and the background of Innovation Brew Works. Despite the rain, this brewery’s anniversary ran smoothly with no problems whatsoever, a perfect way to enjoy a visit to a brewery without the fuss of crowds and pricey admission fees.
I do not know if they distribute their brews, as I have not seen them anywhere else, not even beer festivals. If you want to see and learn more about Innovation Brew works, check them out on Facebook. If an education in brewing sounds interesting to you, check out their curriculum page linked above for information about how to attend Cal Poly Pomona.