Diageo & Irish Distillers back beer and whiskey degree

DIT brews up industry-backed beer and whiskey degree

New BSc course syllabus designed with partners Diageo and Irish Distillers

Dr Jesus Frias, academic leader, Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute, DIT (left), with Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for Higher Education Mary Mitchell-O’Connor; Aidan Crowe, operations director at Diageo’s St James’s Gate Brewery, and Tommy Keane, production director at Irish Distillers (right), at the launch of the BSc in Brewing and Distilling at DIT Grangegorman. Photograph: Robbie Reynolds

Mark Hilliard

Ireland’s future brewers and distillers may well arrive with academic qualifications following the launch of a new degree programme at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

The BSc course at the college’s new Grangegorman campus is aimed at helping fulfil the drinks industry’s ambitions of making Ireland a global leader in research, development and innovation, adding to its established reputation for producing.

It will give students scientific and engineering backgrounds suitable to working in both distilleries and breweries. The syllabus structure and content has been designed with the assistance of programme partners Diageo and Irish Distillers.

Launching the course on Tuesday, Minister for State with responsibility for higher education Mary Mitchell-O’Connor said it was motivated by “a far reaching international ambition to allow Ireland to lead the way as a world centre of excellence for education and research for the brewing and distilling sector”.

It comes alongside a new boom in Irish whiskey production and a sustained global interest in craft and speciality beers.

By 2025, the brewing and distilling sector in Ireland is expected to create 23,000 new jobs, to increase exports by 85 per cent to a value of €19 billion and its value addition to the economy by 70 per cent to over €13 billion, according to the Food Wise 2025 strategy produced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The course, which begins this month, is open to prospective students through the CAO process and to those already working in the industry seeking to bolster their knowledge and credentials. Among the subjects are beverage product development and the science of brewing and distilling.

Participants will also be able to visit Diageo’s St James’s Gate pilot brewing facilities to study the craft of making small batch innovative beers.

“The programme not only aims to develop an in-depth technical and scientific knowledge of brewing and distilling, it also cultivates students’ creative mindset, together building the graduate capacity for innovation,” said Professor Michael Devereux, dean of the DIT College of Sciences and Health.