Post-secondary brewmaster program heads west

Ontario’s Niagara College, home of Canada’s only post-secondary brewmaster program, will collaborate with Alberta’s Olds College to bring the program west.

"The program has elements of agriculture, business and hospitality. It is an exceptional program, and will only grow stronger drawing on Olds’ strong agricultural background and Niagara’s strengths in hospitality," Niagara acting president Steve Hudson said in a release Thursday.

Olds College plans to set up what will be Western Canada’s first teaching brewery in the Pomeroy Inn and Suites, a hotel and conference centre now under construction on the campus.

The teaching facility is expected to be ready for its first class of brewmaster students in September 2013.

Project teams from both colleges will work together on "all aspects" of development for the Olds Teaching Brewery to finish the installations and operational testing by the target start-up date.

The two colleges will deliver a common curriculum and courses and will use "identical" infrastructure and brewing equipment to educate brewmaster students, as per the terms of their new agreement signed Thursday at Olds.

The brewmaster program will also be Olds’ first new, two-year diploma program in the past five years, Olds College president Tom Thompson said in Thursday’s release.

"In Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, we also gain a wonderful national partner with impeccable credentials and impressive achievements."

Niagara College launched its two-year brewmaster and brewery operations management diploma program in 2010, in the wake of "unprecedented" success with its commercial Teaching Winery.

The Niagara brewmaster program’s first class of about 20 students is due to graduate in June this year.

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