SRJC brewing up new beer program

Erik Jorgensen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

A new beer-related program may soon bubble up at Santa Rosa Junior College. “We’re looking at the situation,” said SRJC president Dr. Frank Chong. “We need the resources and we need industry support – like we’ve got for our wine programs – so we can target the needs of the industry.” SRJC currently offers degrees in viticulture and wine making as well as certificates for wine-based business and hospitality.

Chris Wills teaches the Wine Studies Program and runs SRJC’s award-winning Shone Farm Winery in Forestville, founded in 2008. “With the talent we have in Sonoma County, we could have a world-class brewing program,” Wills said. “I think we could offer a certificate program as an alternative to the brewing program offered by UC Davis. There is already talk of an ‘intro to fermented foods’ class, possibly in the sustainable agriculture program.”

Wills said this entry level class would feed into focused courses like cheese making, malting barley, brewing beer and fermenting fruits and vegetables.

“We used to have a Community Ed course in brewing taught by Bryon Burch, who used to own The Beverage People,” Wills said. “I don’t know why it stopped.”

Lagunitas Brewing Company’s marketing director Ron Lindenbusch expressed interest in supporting a fermentation sciences program. “Beer hospitality would be a great  class,” he said. “We’d love to be in it!”

Wills encourages any local brewers to contact him at [email protected] with any feedback on creating SRJC’s new beer brewing and hospitality courses.