South Puget Sound College Offers Unique Craft Beverage Diploma

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The college hopes to expand to offer a four-year degree in program.

TUMWATER, Wash. — A rise in craft breweries and distilleries has prompted South Puget Sound Community College to offer a unique degree.

While some schools offer degrees in brewing or distilling, a school spokesperson said the Tumwater-based college is the only college to offer two-year associate degrees in craft brewing, distilling and manufacturing of cider.

Classes are offered in-person or online, but students are required to attend classroom and lab sessions during monthly three-day weekends.

As some lessons involve product tastings, all students must be over 21 years old.

Alli Sallot, in addition to being the only woman in the program, is like most of her comrades.

“Most of us have kids, mine are both in college,” said Sallot, who holds a master’s degree in physical therapy.

She thought getting a new degree would be a nice new challenge.

“I was bored,” Sallot said, “The pandemic came, it was there. I thought it sounded like a really fun way to combine the science that I really love and a bit of creativity.

Chemistry professor Chelsea Gustafson said her graduates had jobs waiting for them when they received their degrees.

“People drink whiskey. People drink vodka. People drink beer,” Gustafson said. “These students when they leave will be ready to work in the field and produce these types of products that people buy every day.”

Next year, SPSCC hopes to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in craft brewing, distillation and cider making. This would be the first and only bachelor’s degree offered at the school.

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