Queensland TAFE brewing training set to launch

TAFE Brewing teachers

John Meehan and Steve Henderson will teach the Queensland TAFE course

18 months after launching, the first tangible outcomes of Queensland’s Craft Beer Strategy are on the verge of launching, including TAFE brewing training.

While no formal announcement has been made in relation to the TAFE Queensland course, the TAFE website is live and expressions of interest are sought from students for the Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) course commencing on 13th July.

The Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Glenn Butcher, who oversees the craft beer strategy, told Brews News that 380 expressions of interest have been received from prospective students.

The course will be taught by brewing industry veterans John Meehan and Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson. Meehan has had an extensive career across CUB and Lion, where he has most recently held the positions of brewing process improvement engineer, and prior to that senior technical brewer at Lion’s XXXX Brewery.

Henderson also runs a brewing consultancy service, Rockstar Brewer, and previously owned the nomad brewery, BrewCult.

The 20-week, Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) course involves one day of theory and two days of practical training at Queensland BrewLab, another initiative announced in the strategy.

Queensland BrewLab

The Queensland Government said it has committed $1.1 million over five years to deliver the BrewLab, established at the Health and Food Sciences Precinct in Coopers Plains.

The Minister said that the BrewLab will include a sensory lab and quality assurance services, where brewers can have their beers tasted by experts and tested for acidity/alcohol volume.

The BrewLab equipment has been installed and commissioned and an official opening of the facility is imminent. The Minster’s office said around 110 people have registered their interest to use the facility.

Licencing reforms

The TAFE course and the BrewLab are the first initiatives to be delivered, 18 months after the launch of the Queensland Craft Brewing Strategy.

While the Minister advised that promised amendments to the liquor act are ‘bubbling away’, Brews News understands that these are unlikely to be introduced into the state’s parliament prior to the state election in October.

The state’s current licensing laws, as they apply to craft brewers, have been under review for almost a decade, initially as part of the Liquor and Fair Trading Legislation (Red Tape Reduction) Amendment Bill 2014.

In 2016 craft beer permits were created under the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, although Brews News understands that these were so impractical no brewers have yet used them.

Brewer frustrations at the impracticality of the state’s laws were highlighted recently when the Queensland Premier announced a new Amazon fulfilment centre in Brisbane and urged the state’s manufacturers to work with the retailer.

“E-commerce companies like Amazon have a key role to play in supporting that growing economy and helping facilitate Queensland businesses deliver their products to the door,” the Minister said in her media statement.

Amazon announced it was entering the online delivery market. However, the state’s licensing laws require brewers listing with the online retailer to send their products to Amazon in Sydney or Melbourne for delivery back to Brisbane.

Despite the prohibition in the state’s liquor act preventing the breweries from delivering their beers ordered through Amazon, the Minister told Brews News there are “no licensing issues with on-line sales”.

“It is not the government’s role to comment on how Amazon handles its logistics,” the statement said.

Update. 29 July 2020.
The Queensland Government published this media release following the commencement of the TAFE course. It is published unedited.

Brewers hit the books in Qld’s first craft brewing TAFE course

Queensland’s next generation of craft brewers hit the books today as part of Queensland’s first formal brewing qualification.

Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said TAFE Queensland’s Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) is designed to skill up the industry and create tomorrow’s award-winning brewers.

“Twelve aspiring and current Queensland brewers will benefit from the introduction of the new course and access to experienced brewing mentors to teach the art of craft brewing,” Mr Butcher said.

“They will gain the qualifications they need for the craft brewing workforce and give breweries access to highly skilled brewers.

“We knew we were on to a winner as soon as we opened the course, where we saw over 300 expressions of interest and eventually 45 formal applications.”

Mr Butcher said two craft beer teachers were also recently appointed to deliver the course.

“Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson is a head brewer, trainer and mentor with extensive experience as a consultant, while John Meehan holds a Bachelor of Science, and has extensive brewing experience in a number of breweries in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

“I’m pleased to have these two teachers with so much industry experience ready to deliver on one of the actions from the Queensland Craft Brewing Strategy, designed to grow the state’s craft brewing sector,” Mr Butcher said.

“And alongside this new course, we have the Queensland BrewLab facility open for business, with a newly installed brewing equipment ready to help Queensland brewers test and improve their beer recipes.

“There are already close to 100 craft breweries in Queensland, each employing about 20 workers, so if we invest in and grow the industry, we’re creating more jobs.”

Minister for Training and Skills Shannon Fentiman said this new course will give Queensland’s thriving craft beef industry the skills boost needed to meet demand.

“Queensland is home to more than 90 home grown craft breweries creating around 1700 local jobs,” Ms Fentiman said.

“In a first for TAFE Queensland, this new course will make sure we have the skills needed to continue to fill the jobs in the rapidly growing craft beer industry.

“Our two new brewing teachers bring over 40 years’ experience, and it’s fantastic that they will pass on their skills to the next generation of brewers.”

TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Mary Campbell said many budding brewers were interested in securing a spot in the highly sought-after course.

“We are excited to have the new course up and running and delighted to have seen so many applications and expressions of interest, Ms Campbell said.

Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson said the students will not only be working with two very keen brewers, they are among the first to use the phenomenal new Queensland BrewLab, a facility established to help brewers improve their brewing skills.

“What a fantastic opportunity to learn the ins and outs of brewing at the new state-of-the-art facility,” Hendo said.

John Meehan said the course provides a unique opportunity to the first group of students, putting theory into practice while using brewing, fermentation and packaging equipment at the new Queensland BrewLab.

“This is the first formal beer-making qualification through TAFE Queensland and a great time to ride the wave of the Queensland craft beer economy,” he said.

To register your interest in using the Queensland BrewLab, visit qld.gov.au/brewlab

To learn more about the craft brewing industry visit the department’s craft brewing webpage.

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