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Learning the Business of Craft Brewing

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By Rachel C. Leslie

For Renee Hamblin, a typical day at Queen City Brewery may involve bottling the latest brew, scheduling the week’s social media posts, or leading a focus group for market research. A food systems major with a concentration in public communication and minor in nutrition and food science, Hamblin saw the brewery as the ideal place to gain hands-on experience in a small business with an eye for growth.

Hamblin is one of 14 students interning with Vermont food businesses this summer as part of the Next Generation Food Systems Internship program. Based in the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the program offers paid internship placements and helps enable local host sites to bring on students.

“Internships provide students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned, and gain knowledge and skills in an applied setting,” said Kate Finley Woodruff, CALS’ Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Services. “students explore careers, network, and build a stronger resume, but beyond that, have a deeper understanding and appreciation for food systems entrepreneurship and its role in community development.”

And what better way to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship than interning with a craft brewery in Vermont? Across the U.S., the craft beer industry is booming, with Vermont ranking first in the nation for craft breweries per capita. According to the Brewers Association, Vermont craft breweries support over 3,000 jobs and totaled $378.2 million in overall economic impact in 2017.

Queen City is one of many craft breweries in the state owned and operated by UVM alumni. Unlike many of the young breweries in town focused on hoppy IPAs, founder Paul Hale ’82 set out to brew high-quality traditional, international beer styles based on nearly 30 years of recipe formulation and research. (Read more about Hale and UVM alumni brewers.)

As the Burlington-based brewery expands with a new event space and bottled beer sales, Hamblin is applying what she’s learned in the classroom and creating a portfolio of work she can share with future employers.

“It’s been really interesting because the internship is so business-focused,” said Hamblin, who is also enrolled in the accelerated Master of Public Administration program in CALS. “Because food systems is such a comprehensive and broad focus of study, it requires the ability to understand consumers, supply chains and systems. Working with Queen City has enabled me to better understand these issues first hand.”

Learn about the UVM Business of Craft Beer Program

-Rachel C. Leslie works in communications for the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This story was first published by the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.