During the past two years, nearly every industry faced a reckoning when it came to inclusion and diversity, and craft beer was no different. Now, the Oregon Brewers Guild has announced it is launching internships for underrepresented individuals in a field that’s traditionally been dominated by white men.
The Mashing Barriers Program will partner one intern with a guild member brewery every quarter, starting this April. Portland-based Von Ebert Brewing is scheduled to be the first business to guide a would-be brewer through the 12-week course. And this internship features a bonus you don’t often see these days when it comes to learning on the job: a paycheck.
Work on the program began in early 2021 and came to fruition thanks to the guidance of the nonprofit’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee.
“Our goal with this program is to partner with our member breweries and help open the door for those that have come up against barriers—women, people of color, LGTBQ+—really anyone who has struggled to gain access,” Christina LaRue, executive director of the guild, stated in a press release. “It has been a labor of love over the last year.”
Students will follow a detailed and rigorous syllabus, which includes an introductory week filled with field trips to a variety of area businesses that contribute to the brewing process, including Imperial Yeast in Portland, Great Western Malting in Vancouver, Wash., and Woodburn’s Crosby Hop Farm.
After that, interns get hands-on experience in all facets of the brewery, from the brewhouse to the lab to the canning line, as well as an extensive lesson on industry hazards, of which there are many (steam, chemicals, gases, confined spaces, heavy equipment).
Applications for the Von Ebert internship will be accepted on the guild website through Feb. 28.
Since this is a program that pays its students, the nonprofit will be assisting with costs. The guild launched its first fundraiser for the internship, Pint Day, in December 2021, and you can expect another campaign to help raise more money over the next two months. Donations are also accepted online.
There’s an additional educational opportunity thanks to City Brew Tours, the national brand that purchased the majority stake in Portland-based business Brewvana in 2019.
The award-winning curator of craft beer experiences is taking applications for its second annual Talent on Tap Scholarship, which supports women-identifying people of color seeking to make positive changes in the industry. Funds can be used toward Cicerone Certification, admission to beer science programs, brewing training and other hospitality certifications.
“We have learned a lot about the craft beer industry in the past year, and how it is not always a safe and welcoming environment for women and people of color,” City Brew Tours founder and CEO Chad Brodsky stated in a press release. “We can and must do better.”
Applications will be accepted on the company website through Feb. 1.