The Fermentation Science and Technology Program at Colorado State University has received two new contributions to support innovative technologies in the growing program.
Emerson and Crafted ERP have stepped up to support the FST Program, which opened a cutting-edge teaching brewery in the Lory Student Center thanks to contributions of time, money and equipment of dozens of donors.
Since its inception, the FST Program has been working closely with leaders in the industry. New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Co., MolsonCoors and Anheuser-Busch are among the donors to the program.
The FST Program not only teaches students how to brew beer, but also educates them about various fermented foods and the science behind how they’re made.
The Emerson gift will help to establish a center to provide students with experiences in automation technologies. Additionally, Crafted ERP is donating its industry-leading brewery management software to help students.
Emerson announced a collaboration with CSU on April 9 to build an “Emerson Brewing Innovation Center,” where students will get hands-on experience using the latest automation technologies.
Funded by a joint investment of $600,000 (including $367,000 from Emerson), the center will serve as the main educational hub for the FST program and will reinforce advanced competencies for digital transformation as the industry continues to evolve.
With the number of U.S. breweries increasing at a rate of 321 percent from 2007 to 2017, there is growing demand for highly skilled workers with expertise in fermentation science and proficiency in automation technologies. Emerson’s advanced automation solutions enable brewing companies to optimize operations, detect and address quality issues in real time, reduce downtime and shorten changeovers that occur when one beverage is changed out for another in production.
The CSU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition attracts diverse, top-notch students to address the industry’s growing technology demand.
“Partnerships like these enable us to give our students experience with industry standards and help them prepare for the job market,” said Jeff Callaway, associate director of Fermentation Science and Technology. “The new center will enhance our fermentation science academic program while strengthening ties to the industry.”
Parties on tap
Fermentation Science and Technology students in the “Brewing Science and Technology” class have brewed three beers at three Fort Collins breweries as part of their curriculum this spring, and are hosting public tapping parties in the coming weeks.
The beers include an American IPA at Equinox Brewing that the students named “Aries IPA,” and a Belgian Pale Ale they named “Fungal Overlord” that was brewed at both New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Co. They will be tapping Aries IPA at Equinox at 133 Remington St. on Friday, April 19, at 6 p.m.
Fungal Overlord will be tapped at New Belgium and Odell on Thursday, May 2. The tapping party at New Belgium, at 500 Linden St., will start at 3:30 p.m. with live music and a recognition of the students and the breweries. Then the group will move to Odell at 800 E. Lincoln Ave. at around 4:45 p.m. for a second recognition event.
The students were split into two teams and brewed the same beer at each brewery. The beers were made with different yeast strains, so they will be distinct from one another, in a sort of “battle of the brews.” Equinox, Odell and New Belgium have supported the brewing class and the FST program for more than 10 years.
Opening in the fall
The Emerson Brewing Innovation Center will open this fall in the Gifford Building and will feature two brewing systems that will allow students to gain experience using the latest real-world technologies driving innovation in the industry.
Emerson Impact Partner Lakeside Process Controls will build the systems that feature elements of Emerson’s Plantweb portfolio of “Industrial Internet of Things” technologies used in brewing automation: a DeltaV™ distributed control system, Micro Motion flowmeters, Rosemount™ measurement technology, and ASCO and Baumann valves.
Emerson’s collaboration with CSU is one of more than 350 secondary education partnerships worldwide that support finding solutions to address the skills gap in digital automation technologies.
“We are focused on helping train the digital workforce of the future while advancing education, innovation and diversity in the industry,” said Christian Grossenbacher, vice president of food and beverage for Emerson’s flow solutions business. “The Emerson Brewing Innovation Center will mark the beginning of a strong and continued partnership with CSU.”
In addition to the center, Emerson is donating $10,000 toward a CSU diversity fellowship to help set up the Brewing Innovation Center and a scholarship for the fermentation program.
In related news, CSU selected Crafted ERP to educate FST students on how a software solution can and should complement the data management that accompanies the science and art of brewing and fermentation. Doozy Solutions, LLC, the company behind Crafted ERP, is donating the software, valued at $75,000.
“We run a world-class fermentation science program in a state where we’re surrounded by the pioneers of the craft beer movement from the last three decades and two of the largest brewers in the world,” CSU Instructor and Brewmaster Jeff Biegert said. “Our students expect our program to prepare them with best practices in brewing and fermentation management, and we needed a software that embodied that same expectation. Crafted ERP was the best choice for us, as it meets real-world, enterprise standards, with features that allow for ease of use in a classroom environment.”
Leveraging his 27 years of experience across all aspects of production, Biegert wanted to offer his students more than just the science behind fermentation. He said he wanted to give them a real taste of the production process and all the critical control/data capture points that affect supply chain and inventory management, business decision-making, process analysis and, ultimately, beer quality.
“A proper business software should show you not only what’s happening in production and inventory, but allow each department to see how they’re impacting the rest of the organization,” Biegert said. “It’s information in one location, and, it’s one source of the truth. In my experience, data from different sources don’t always agree, and that can present a real challenge when making quality and efficiency decisions. Crafted ERP is really a holistic solution, exactly what CSU was looking to leverage as we teach the next generation of brewers and food scientists.”
Biegert’s position at CSU is partially sponsored by New Belgium, where he has worked in various capacities over the last 17-plus years. These include brewing, fermentation, feasibility and project management, and Lean Six Sigma process improvement and optimization.
Biegert has intimate knowledge of the manufacturing process, track and trace, inventory reporting and accounting, and SQL data analytics. He assisted with New Belgium’s implementation of manufacturing software as well as the maintenance and integration challenges with New Belgium’s IT and process automation teams for over a decade. He understands the need for a seamless flow of information that’s not interrupted by disparate systems or IT headaches that can come with on-premise software.
There are challenges in collecting data throughout the brewing process and having a system that allows users ease of access to data, and analysis of that data, eradicated those challenges. Because Crafted is both a cloud-native application as well as a single end-to-end solution that required no IT and no integrations, Biegert quickly gained the support of the rest of his CSU colleagues for the selection.
“We are delighted to team up with CSU and to donate our software for such a great cause,” said Kristin Steele, co-founder and principal at Doozy Solutions, LLC.
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.