Auburn University & New Realm brew up a Master’s Degree in beer

America isn’t short on breweries, and for that matter, brewers. What it does lack is a clear way to become a professional brewer- or even a highly trained one. If you think about it, there are nearly 10,000 breweries in the United States and only handful of professional brewing programs. Some of the biggest names being Siebel and UC Davis. Now the Southeastern Conference can claim more than just football dominance. 

Auburn University initially offered a Master’s Certificate in brewing science, which has now grown into a full blown Brewing Science and Operations, Master’s of Science Program. And they are doing it with the help of New Realm Brewing Company

To get better at anything you have to learn. Read more on the topic. Do your research. In brewing it’s not that easy. Apprenticeships are impossible to come by, and simply brewing in a bucket in your garage won’t put you on the brew deck at Sierra Nevada, or Firestone Walker, much less your local brewpub. You need science, as much as practical training. New Realm co-founder Carey Falcone knows this, and when this educational partnership came up, he jumped at the chance. 

Calling it a partnership doesn’t do this program justice. This goes beyond textbooks and lectures on brewing science. New Realm built a full 7-barrel commercial brewhouse and taproom open to the public, quite literally on campus. Going as far as changing the city’s licensing laws to do it. Craft beer in America doesn’t get simply get better by brewing it or having more breweries, it becomes world class with more classically trained brewers standing over boil kettles coast to coast. 

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Perhaps that’s the most interesting piece is why New Realm did this at all. A 7-barrel brewery on a college campus isn’t a financial move. Sure, it’s branding but in reality, it’s an investment in future of craft beer. After all, we all want great beer, and most of us just assume it will be waiting for us the next time we go to the bar. 

Drew Kostic heads up not only the brewing operations at New Realm Auburn, but lectures within the program. Kostic went to law school at Duke and eventually became a lawyer in New York City. It’s safe to say he didn’t enjoy it. While in a federal clerkship, Kostic started pursuing a master’s certificate in brewing operations at Auburn. “My passion was beer and brewing, and I don’t think could ever go back to law,” Kostic says. After brewing at Circa Brewing and Oskar Blues, years later Kostic found his way back to Auburn where his brewing career started, actually brewing on-campus, and teaching as Affiliate Faculty in this Master’s program.

Falcone called me in June of 2023 to talk about Auburn and this new found partnership. Something stood out to me in that call – at no point did Carey ever once talk about what the involvement in this program could do for him or the brewery – only what Auburn and this Master’s program could do for for beer. Sentiments Kostic echos repeatedly in his passion for this program. 

“Educated Creativity”

The days are quickly fading where brewers would just dump adjuncts into a brew or throw hops at the wall and see what sticks. Kostic and “AU Brew” are fostering “Educated Creativity” within their Masters program. “We are teaching a balance between science and creativity so you brew better and smarter,” Kostic says. Technology is aiding in this mission as well, allowing students and brewers to learn the business and science of beer pretty much anywhere. 

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AU Brew, is a part of the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, which is home to the brewing science program, Trinchero Estates Wine Appreciate Laboratory, Distilled Spirits Laboratory, Culinary Science, Event Management, and Hotel and Restaurant Management. All a part of Auburn University’s multi-million dollar investment in a world class approach to hospitality, food and beverage management high education. 

AU Brew is a game changer for those seeking a higher education in craft brewing. Falcone leads the brewery not by tell you what you have to do, but asking what prevents you from succeeding. 

Perhaps this program does just that.

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