Looks like it's time for another of my sporadic updates!
I would like to start by congratulating Dudius and MoreHops on their acceptance to the Brewmaster program! Dudius will be joining us at Niagara College and MoreHops will be part of the first year at Olds College, where we have just started up a sister program!
For whatever reason the school has been near empty over the past few weeks, I don't know if motivation is running low or people have decided to extend their vacations by several weeks - but at least parking has been easier!
In the brew program all is well, the work flow is constant and now with the end of my first year coming up I have to start all the projects that I've been putting off for weeks. In Microbiology we have been learning about yeast propagation and how to up-culture yest from a single colony. Although labor intensive, this allows us to learn the methods necessary to continuing our yeast throughout multiple generations, instead of purchasing new yeast every time we need to pitch. There are pros and cons to both options, and not all breweries have the knowledge or capital to invest in lab equipment. Unfortunately my group was not able to get in the lab as often as we needed to due to other classes being scheduled, but our yeast grew happy and healthy anyways. They grow up so fast, those little cells.
In communications we have started working on our business plans, it has been interesting to see the dreams of my fellow classmates and what they would like to open in the future. I am currently torn between a fictional brewpub and a fictional nano-brewery. Cost wise a nano brewery would certainly be cheaper but with less potential for profit down the road. Decisions, decisions!
In packaging we are working on our final projects - designing a packaging line for an assigned brewery. I have been assigned a 70 000HL/yr Barbados brewery. Since our assignments are all based on actual breweries a little research turned up Banks Brewery in Barbados, which appears to be the only brewery of this size in the area. I have sent an email to the company in the hopes that they will share some information about their packaging line. In other packaging news we were fortunate enough to have a presentation from Sebastien Delgado, the VP of sales for Krones in Canada. He missed the class by about 30 minutes, but there were a few of us in the campus pub when our teacher brought him down to have a few beers so a few classmates and myself were able to pick his brain about packaging and the future of the industry. Very intelligent man, and super friendly to boot!
Our equipment teacher has been absent for 3 weeks at this point, he is off in P.E.I. helping to open a brewery, so we have had guest lecturers for his class. Most recently we had a representative of DME manufacturing come in to talk to us about brewhouse design and automation. DME sure seem to know what they are doing, and I got the impression that they would be a great company to buy from. Next time I have 500 000$ lying around they can expect a call from me.
Next week will be my last week in the teaching brewery for the semester. We are being given a list of things that need to be accomplished as well as a recipe to brew and then we are on our own to complete the tasks. It will be interesting to see if the 8 of us in the brewery can work together to get everything done on time. I am confident it won't be a problem.
In other news I have received my review package for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling exam. To give you an idea of how much information there is to go over, the syllabus is 54 pages by itself. There are going to be some late nights reviewing, I can already tell.
Niagara College was featured on the Rick Mercer Report this past week (think Canadian Daily Show or Colbert Report) and some of the students in my class were shown in the brewery, but mostly it was second year students. We are all there in the end though, for the final hoorah. If anyone is interested the video can be viewed here:
Most of the students in my class have jobs lined up for the summer already, which is fantastic news! All in all the semester is going well, but I am looking forward to working over the summer.