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that cannot travel to Edinburgh, so he is working with a diverse group of leaders on something called the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center in Tumwater, Washington. City leaders, brewers, cidermakers, distillers and educators are taking steps to purchase and renovate the abandoned Olympia brewery and turn it into a beverage industry education and service center. Possibilities include cooperage renovation, malting, sensory and chemical analysis, cooperative bottling, canning and supply purchasing, welding and tank maintenance, and any education or vocational training needed in the cider, beer and distilling industries. Plans are tentative and subject to change, but the project is moving forward, and Hofmann says people are excited. “We’ve started to at least outline from an industry standpoint what we would need in terms of education,” he tells. “What are the educational deficits in the distilling industry?” Just down Interstate 5 at Oregon State University, Hughes is also asking what U.S. distilling students are looking for, visiting many local distilleries while developing the university’s new distilling program. Hughes says that another one of his goals at Heriot-Watt was to introduce students to ingredients beyond barley, which he did then and is doing now at OSU. “There’s a lot of interest in innovating, whether it’s the process, or the products, or even redefining product definitions,” explains Hughes. “That’s what’s really exciting and that’s something I want to address in our core programs and the research that we do.”

Part of his task is to collaborate with other professors to reform the university’s entire fermentation program, integrating dairy, beer, wine and spirits. He says if students are unfamiliar with other fermentation methods, they miss opportunities for learning and innovation in their own field. Hughes also plans to produce publishable distilling research addressing industry issues, and that will likely lead to a graduate student program, and potentially the first master’s degree in distilling in the U.S. Right now, he says he is not sure how much of a U.S. market there is for a master’s degree in distilling, but he plans to find out. Currently, small American distilleries seem to be less worried about master’s degrees and more worried about their employees’ ability to keep them in business as they face their tax-burdened and increasingly competitive market. But that could change, and with it so will the domestic and overseas focus of university distilling programs. Some schools may focus on innovation, others on tradition, but one commonality that will never change is college kids distilling in their apartments. “We had a black tie dinner one night,” tells Hammerschlag, “and one kid brought a mason jar full of his homemade moonshine to share with all the distillers. I’m not sure they were impressed.” Heriot-Watt University is located in Edinburgh, Scotland. For more information, visit www.hw.ac.uk.

STOCK INVENTORY | CUSTOM DESIGN | CAPSULES | CLOSURES

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Artisan Spirit: Spring 2016  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2016  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.