This news is worth a toast: San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Co. – in partnership with UC San Diego Extension – is launching a scholarship that aims to advance diversity and inclusion across all parts of our city’s brewing community.
The brewery, with deep roots in San Diego’s craft beer culture since 1996, said it has launched its inaugural “Brewing for Diversity” scholarship.
The scholarship will provide full tuition and related fees for one underrepresented student (starting or continuing) to be able to successfully participate in UC San Diego Extension’s existing Brewing Certificate Program.
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The brewing program at UC San Diego Extension was first launched in 2013 as one of the first of its kind in Southern California. The curriculum focuses on the science and tech behind the art of brewing and aims to teach students the skills to advance within the professional brewing industry.
Classes include “Yeast & Fermentation Processes” and “Sensory Evaluation and Beer Styles.” There’s also “Barrel Aging” and “Draught Beer Systems Operation and Maintenance,” to name a couple more of the courses.
The classes – which include part-time, weekend, and evening sessions – are taught by professional brewers and leaders in the craft beer industry. The program can be completed in 12 to 18 months, according to UC San Diego Extension. You can read all about it here.
Ballast Point said its scholarship linked to this program will also help advance opportunities for future professional employment in the craft beer industry for underrepresented students.
Each recipient of the scholarship will also have a chance to intern at Ballast Point San Diego – at either the Miramar facility or Little Italy location – to, in the brewery’s words “
gain real-world insight into brewery production and operations and to become well-equipped with the skills and knowledge to enter the industry professionally.”
The Brewing for Diversity scholarship fund will become an annual offering, Ballast said.
For this inaugural round, though, students who are interested in applying can do so now through May 15 online, through the UC San Diego Extension website here.
Once the applications are received by the May 15 deadline, Ballast Point said a selection committee will review the applications and interview standout candidates.
The committee will include members of Ballast Point, the UC San Diego Extension Program and the Inclusion Committee of the San Diego Brewers Guild.
Ballast Point said the scholarship will be awarded to one student on the week of May 31.
Misha Collins, Ballast Point’s community engagement manager who focuses on diversity and inclusion initiatives, called the scholarship “much-needed.”
“It’s essential to increase diversity within the beer industry, both from an employment and a
consumer standpoint,” Collins said in a press release. “And we have to work toward making sure everybody, from all walks of life, feels welcome. Such a powerful force develops when minds from different backgrounds and cultures come together. This force facilitates possibilities that are endless yet only feasible with change.”
Laura Fandino, UC San Diego Extension’s assistant dean of Professional and Continuing Education, said the initiative will “boost access and opportunity in a career field that has inspired so many.”
According to the Brewers Association, current race and ethnicity demographics of U.S. brewery
employees skew overwhelmingly white for production staff -- 76.2% -- and brewers, 89%.
Ballast Point said those stats show the need for inclusion and diversity.
Virginia Morrison, president of the San Diego Brewers Guild, said the “Capital of Craft” leads the way in craft beer, so San Diego should also “lead the way towards a more inclusive craft beer community.”
The San Diego Brewers Guild said it, too, is focused on inclusion within the city’s craft beer scene through its Inclusion Committee.
Morrison said that committee’s mission is to be a “resource for Guild brewery and affiliate members looking to implement diverse, inclusive, and equitable practices.”
The San Diego Brewers Guild aims to promote the city’s robust craft brewing industry. More than 150 of San Diego’s independent breweries are part of the group, which is also focused on support, collaboration and support within the industry.
Last summer, Paige McWey Acers, executive director of the San Diego Brewers Guild, joined our Scene in San Diego podcast to talk about how the local craft beer industry was surviving the coronavirus pandemic and how brewers were helping one another. You can listen to that episode (Episode 3: Pints & Pivoting) here or by downloading below.