UC Davis Brewing Program Kicks Off 3rd “Tapping Potential” to Increase Diversity in Brewing

The diversity we love in our beer isn’t always reflected in the brewing industry itself. Fifty percent of the U.S. is female, but according to the most recent survey by the Brewers Association, less than 8% of brewers are women. Similarly, while people of color make up 40% of the population, they represent less than 11% of brewers in the country.

Now in its third year, the UC Davis Tapping Potential Scholarship Program is working to help right-size those statistics by funding diversity-focused, full-ride scholarships to the prestigious UC Davis Online Master Brewers Certificate Program. Scholarships cover all fees and materials for the Online Master Brewers Certificate Program, including a week-long, in-person bootcamp at UC Davis’ state-of-the-art August A. Busch III pilot brewery.

Crowdfunding for the 2023 Tapping Potential Scholarships runs from 10/1/23-10/31/23, and donations can be made through the campaign website. The scholarship application period runs from 10/1/23-11/30/23. Details and an application link are on the scholarship web page.

“There’s room in brewing for a broader range of people, perspectives and experiences and, by educating a more diverse pool of brewers, UC Davis will help make that happen,” said Dr. Glen Fox, academic director of the UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program.

Last year, with generous support from breweries, hop providers and beer lovers, UC Davis Brewing awarded varying levels of scholarships to four brewers from around the world.

Industry sponsors for the 2023 UC Davis Tapping Potential Fund include Barebottle Brewing Company, Sudwerk Brewing Co., Touchstone Brewing Company and BSG. Caroline King’s Bitch Beer, a podcast focused on making craft beer accessible, enjoyable and entertaining for everyone, is Tapping Potential’s official media sponsor. The Sacramento Area Brewers Guild has also been extremely supportive of Tapping Potential.

“Increasing diversity in the brewing industry is important now and into the future,” said Lester Koga, co-founder of Barebottle Brewing Company. “With more backgrounds, experiences and ideas, we’ll continue to improve the legacy of craft brewing in America. UC Davis is leading the charge to create an open and diverse brewing community and we’re excited to help.”

Koga is also a member of the UC Davis Tapping Potential Fund Advisory Council. He’s joined by Dr. J Jackson-Beckham (Brewers Association, Equity & Inclusion Partner), Dr. Missy Begay (Bow & Arrow Brewing, Co-founder), and Garrett Oliver (Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and founder of the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling).

Tapping Potential scholarships will be available to students who are committed to diversity, have experience and/or understanding of the barriers traditionally faced by people from underrepresented populations (based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities…), and demonstrate a high potential for leadership in promoting cross-cultural understanding in the brewing industry.

“There are not many female craft brewers where I am from,” said the 2022 UC Davis Tapping Potential scholarship winner Chijindu Onwuchekwa of Nigeria. “I hope I am able to inspire women from around these parts that they can also brew amazing beer because brewing started with ale wives. We can take back the reins.”

For nearly 30 years, the UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program has been providing students with an in-depth understanding of brewing science and brewery engineering and preparing them to enter the brewing industry with the potential to rise to the highest levels of leadership within it. To date, the program has graduated more than 850 students from more than 20 countries. For more information on the UC Davis Master Brewers Program and how to support its efforts to increase diversity in the brewing industry, contact Dr. Jon Hughes, Director of Brewing and Sensory Science at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education ([email protected]).

Photo courtesy John R O’Neill.

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