brewing course has only been open for a year, but it has become so popular the institution is capping applications for this year’s course and intends to expand the teaching space at its Central campus.
The brewery opened as part of the $5million trades building complex early last year.
Campus manager Kelly Gay said the brewing school attracted five students for its first year, and to date it had received five times that for this year’s course.
“We are putting a cap on applications for the course,” Mr Gay said.
“We are working out how to deal with that number of students.”
Brewing tutor Geoff Collier said the institution would spend a further $150,000 on additional space for a retail outlet, tasting rooms and brewing equipment.
Students received practical and theoretical training, and those who completed the course earned a New Zealand Certificate in Brewing (level 4) and were qualified to work as a brewer’s assistant.
The school also offers a Certificate in Brewing (level 5) and a level 6 diploma through Capable NZ for people already working in the industry.
“We don’t want to put out people who just know a bit about making beer,” Mr Collier said.
“We teach them to make 14 types of beer and they are true to style including pilsners, lagers, pale ales and dunkelweizen.”
Mr Collier said the beer was sold commercially in the region, including at The Stoaker Room, Cromwell, which had been supportive of the course.
“Some hops we use come from Earnscleugh’s Plant and Food Research, but most come from Nelson.”
Mr Gay said the locally produced beers were something they and the region could be proud of.
He said it was important the polytechnic did the training on behalf of the industry.
One student on the course accidentally turned the wrong valve, spilling 200 litres of beer out of a vat.
“It is best we do that, [have the students make that mistake] rather than doing it while in industry,” Mr Gay said.
“That is where our training is so valuable,” he said.