An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

EWU announces program to train people to work in local craft beer industry

Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio

The sequence of courses will give students exposure to all aspects of the process of creating, packaging and selling beer.

Eastern Washington University is taking a step to build the workforce for Spokane’s growing craft brewing industry.

The university has announced it’s creating a professional certificate program for people who want to prepare for a career related to craft beer. Chris Cindric, a senior lecturer in EWU's wellness and movement sciences program, will oversee it.

“We’re trying to target that niche market for people that want to not do an online program, who actually want to have hands-on opportunities and to meet people in the industry, to do tours of breweries, to actually put their hand on a tri-clamp before they actually move into the brewing realm," he said.

Eastern will offer the first of five classes for the 15-credit program this fall. Two of the courses in the sequence will highlight the range of roles in the industry, from the serving side to the brewing side.

“That would be front of house, like the taproom environment, anything to do with service industry and the quality management of beer," he said. "And then, also, back of house, which is production, which is everything from brewing through cellar work, which is guiding fermentation and then also packaging and distribution.”

Cindric says No-Li Brewhouse is donating $10,000 to fund the program.

“One of the reasons that No-Li is very interested in partnering with Eastern in this program is to help create a supplier workforce chain to be able to meet the needs of what they have in the industry," he said.

Besides training potential employees, Cindric says a longer-term goal is to help Spokane do what other Northwest cities have done and link its brewing industry to its tourism strengths.

“We think about Bend, Oregon, an outdoor mecca. We think about Boulder, Colorado, an outdoor mecca. We think about Portland, Oregon and Seattle, both outdoor meccas. A lot of people try to tie their food and drink with play, so there are so many opportunities to build the industry on that front," he said.

Cindric says word about the program is spreading. He says several brewers in Spokane have expressed interest in hosting tours or speaking to classes.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.