Oregon State University’s fermentation science program is one of only two programs nationwide offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. The program is part of OSU’s prestigious Department of Food Science and Technology and it recently received a big boost, a $1 million donation towards building a state-of-the-art research brewery in Wiegand Hall.
Within the new brewing facility, students will learn, as Tom Shellhammer, OSU’s Nor’Wester Professor of Fermentation Science, puts it, “a ‘Grain to Glass’ education.” The facility will also provide space for OSU’s research in the science and industry of craft brewing.
Donor Carlos Alvarez is the chairman and chief executive officer of San Antonio-based beer company the Grambrinus Company, which owns BridgePort Brewing in Portland, a longtime partner of OSU’s fermentation science program. He graduated with a degree in biochemical engineering from the Monterry Institute of Technology in Monterry, Mexico, and, after expanding Grupo Modello by exporting the Corona brand into America, founded the Grambrinus Company in 1986 which imported Modello brand beer into the US for 20 years. He also acquired the Spoetzl Brewery and BridgePort Brewery before founding his own brewery, the Trumer Brewery. Alvarez has also served on the board of trustees for Davidson College and has always been a patron of education. This is only the latest of his philanthropic deeds, and he hopes it will pay off by further vitalizing the already vibrant craft brewing culture in Oregon.