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Thirst for knowledge takes home brewer’s craft to new heights

Melburnians are no strangers to lockdowns but there’s a silver lining to all that extra time at home during the pandemic – the burgeoning of new hobbies and skills.  

For 29-year-old bank employee Rohan Kennedy, it meant trying his hand at home brewing, with YouTube videos as an initial guide.

“Over the pandemic I found that I had a bit of spare time so I started home brewing,” he said.

“I looked on YouTube to get an idea of how to go about it. There was a home brewing shop near me so I ordered basic equipment and applied what I saw on YouTube videos.”

Keen to see how far he could push his hobby, Rohan started looking for courses in micro-brewing that would work around his day job in project management. Delivered predominantly online (with a mix of on-campus practical work and industry placements), Kangan Institute’s Certificate III in Food Processing fit the bill.  

“I wanted to build on the knowledge I already had,” he said.

“The course has others like me who are passionate about the craft and beer, and others who are working in the industry looking to level up.

“The breadth of questions covered is wide and considered, and it aligns back to my previous experience of studying.

“We’ve got access to a teacher who is working as a craft brewer and able to give good, specific technical advice to some of the challenges we face in small batch brewing. This includes simple tips and tricks that’s helped me improve.”

Now six months into the Certificate III in Food Processing, Rohan has noticed progress in his craft compared to his beginner days.

“I used a particularly bad batch of yeast in one of my earlier brews and one of the side effect was a really awful tasting product,” he recalled.

“My friends were very polite – they all said it tasted good, but it really didn’t. Going through the course it’s one of the first things I learnt – all the ingredients are important, but yeast most of all. Never scrimp on the yeast.”

Rohan says it’s time to get more adventurous with his brews, citing a Baltic Porter brewed with lager yeast as one of his next endeavours.  

“Once a month I’ll set aside a weekend to brew about 20 litres of beer. It’s small scale – I do it for myself and friends. I’ve been able to apply some of the learnings around style and production in that small macro environment and explore ways to do things better,” he said.

“At the moment we’re learning different styles in the course and I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty with some of the eccentric styles and start doing some crazy stuff.”

Beyond home brews, Rohan hopes to run his own microbrewery one day.

“The big pipe dream is to open and run my own microbrewery. To do that I need to make sure I have the right understanding of how to perform and operate. This course is providing a lot of content on that front,” he said.

Launched in February this year, Kangan Institute’s Certificate III in Food Processing has gained interest amongst beer enthusiasts, industry newbies and existing brewery workers.

“Brewing is a thriving industry with huge employment prospects – the CraftBeer Reviewer recently reported that there are 550 physical breweries across Australia, while Goldstein Research revealed that the craft beer market is predicted to grow 5.3 per cent by 2025,” said Nicole Broe, Director – Food and Fibre at Kangan Institute.

“The blended delivery of this course – including online theory, industry placements and practicals on campus – allows us to adeptly support existing workers who are here to upskill as well as those who are exploring a career change.

The Certificate III in Food Processing (FBP30117 ) is a 12-month course with online elements that include interactive 3D walkthrough technology where students may view the layout of breweries and zoom in to explore equipment in close detail. To find out more and to enrol this course, please visit our website or call 13TAFE.

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