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South Puget Sound Community College offers unique craft beverage degree

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

TUMWATER, Wash. — A rise in craft breweries and distilleries 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 offering two-year associate degrees in craft brewing, distilling, and cider-making.

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

Since some of the lessons involve product tastings, all students are required to be over 21.

Alli Sallot, other than being the only woman in the program, is like most of her fellow students.

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

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

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

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

“People drink whiskey. People drink vodka. People drink beer,” said Gustafson. “These students as they leave are going to be prepared to work in the field and be producing those types of products people buy every day.”

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

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