DES MOINES, Iowa—The Iowa Brewers Guild (IBG) is proud to announce its first-in-the-nation Department of Labor registered apprenticeship program for training professional brewers through a combination of on-the-job-learning and online coursework. Applications are now being accepted for an Oct. 1 program launch.
“Until early this year, no apprenticeship program for brewers existed on the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship roster,” said IBG Minister J. Wilson. “But after months of work and close coordination with the staff at the Des Moines Office of Apprenticeship, our application was approved, and a new training program now exists not only for elevating the skills of commercial brewers in Iowa, but as a template for any other guild, brewery or organization around the country to utilize.”
The program is open to existing professional brewers, as well as those looking to shift career paths toward brewing. “The brewing industry is in the midst of rapid growth, and our Board of Directors has recognized the need for adequate training to ensure quality products,” said Wilson. “We created a technical conference back in 2014 and have dabbled in other educational endeavors for both brewers and the public, but this apprenticeship program is a wild leap forward in improving the brewers and the beers associated with the craft brewing industry.”
Apprentices accepted into the program will work at one of several sponsoring breweries located in Iowa, where they will receive on-the-job training from experienced brewers in the following areas: beer production, sanitation/cellar work, filtration/transfer/conditioning, packaging, quality control and promotions.
To add to the 2000-hour apprenticeship’s strength, the IBG has tapped into the resources at the renowned Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago to offer online coursework. Siebel’s 210-hour Master Craft Brewer Theory course is an online program comprised of six modules: malting and raw materials, brewhouse/wort production, yeast and fermentation, quality assurance/quality control, packaging and engineering.
“From the first time we were contacted by the Iowa Brewers Guild, we were excited to see what they had developed, and we wanted to be a part of this program,” said Siebel Vice President Keith Lemcke.
While the brewhouse experience is a paid apprenticeship, program participants will be required to pay for the online coursework, and the IBG will work closely with Siebel to ensure that apprentices are experiencing success in all aspects of programming.
“In the Siebel Institute’s role as the education service providers for the IBG Apprenticeship Program, we are looking forward to working side-by-side with the Guild towards giving participants an amazing experience,” said Lemcke. “I think this will set the standard for craft brewing training for years to come.”
Siebel’s new MCBT course is slated for launch on Oct. 1, and the IBG is now accepting applications for those interested in the full apprenticeship program in hopes of activating the program at that time. Program applicants must pass a brewing aptitude test prior to being accepted into the program, which provides a comprehensive foundation in all facets of the brewing industry.
Apprentices completing the program will receive two credentials marking their accomplishment: a Master Craft Brewer Theory certificate from Siebel, as well as a Professional Brewer certificate from the IBG.
“From grain to glass and from safety to satisfaction, this program is well-rounded in its content,” said Wilson. “After a good deal of work, collaboration and even a few beers, we’re ready—and proud as can be—to introduce this program to the wider brewing community.”
For more information on the program, visit iowabeer.org/apprenticeship.
About the Iowa Brewers Guild
The Iowa Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization with the purpose to showcase and improve the quality of beer brewed in Iowa, foster communication among the state’s brewers, advocate for the promotion of the local brewing community, and lobby for progressive changes in Iowa laws to benefit the craft brewing industry in the state.