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New degree will support brewing and distilling in Ireland

The honours degree at IT Carlow will begin in 2017

THE massive growth of craft brewing and distilling has led to the creation of a novel new degree.

A four-year honours programme has been developed by Institute of Technology Carlow.

It is the first course of its kind in Ireland and will support a key growth sector that is undergoing a major renaissance.

Irish whiskey has been distilled since the 6th century while brewing in Ireland goes back to the Bronze and early Iron ages.

No formal degree programmes have existed in the science of what some consider to be Ireland's greatest gifts to the world - until now.

The Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree programme in Brewing and Distilling is the result of two years of research and development by IT Carlow that has included consultation with industry, representative organisations and government.

Alongside the degree course, the college will offer continuous professional development programmes including yeast biology, malting and brewing raw materials and the brewing process.

The courses will support the "brewing and distilling renaissance in Ireland", IT Carlow said.

Whiskey exports are up by 60 per cent since 2009 with 60 million litres exported every year. The growing Irish beer sector now employs 2,000 people while the 100 new microbreweries are expected in Ireland by 2025.

The first undergraduates will begin the course next September. It includes industry work placement and access to brewing and distilling facilities.

Food writer and publisher John McKenna said Irish craft brewing and distilling were "the two most exciting and dynamic sectors in Ireland's food and drink culture".

"In almost 30 years of writing about speciality food and drink in Ireland, I have never witnessed anything like the energy and creativity that we see today amongst the brewers and distillers," he said.

"But, until now, the industry has lacked a recognised centre of excellence and academic research, and that is exactly what the BSc will provide. It answers the needs of the industry today, and will answer the needs of the industry in the future."

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