Connecticut's craft beer scene is booming. There are more than 120 breweries in our state and that number continues to grow.
But for all the different kinds of people who enjoy a pint, there's not as much diversity behind the scenes. Sacred Heart University is on a mission to change that.
The university has launched a new scholarship for female brewers to help expand the industry.
The school teamed up with Back East Brewing and the state's chapter of the Pink Boots Society to cover tuition for a year of the brewing science certificate program.
NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran talked to Phil Pappas, executive director of the Connecticut Brewers Guild about what the scholarship would mean for women in the brewing industry.
Dan: So, Phil, brewing beer is historically a male-dominated industry. So why is that? And how do you hope this scholarship changes that?
Phil: Yeah, unfortunately, the craft brewing industry has been promoted and marketed towards a lot of males, and a lot of those being white males as well. So in our efforts to further diversify our industry, and provide more traditional educational opportunities overall in the brewing industry, but directed towards women, people of color, the LGBTQ plus community, we have developed now two official scholarships for African-Americans and for women through our Sacred Heart brewing science program.
Dan: So what are you seeing here in Connecticut? Are there more women getting involved in this industry?
Phil: Yes, absolutely. Especially because of how many available jobs there are in breweries, whether it's in the back of the house or in the front of the house, craft beer has become a really great, cool landscape for people to really get into a full, well-paying job. And so we're seeing a lot of opportunities come through breweries on the brewing side and the tap room management, bartending, business ownership, marketing, branding, labeling, everything that you can think of that goes into your pint of beer.
Dan: Now, as we mentioned, Sacred Heart also recently started a scholarship for Black brewers. So why is it so important to continue the efforts to diversify craft brewing?
Phil: I think it's extremely important to further diversify our industry because we need to provide more opportunity to be a leader in the manufacturing industry, and be a leader in the state of Connecticut to attract more diverse people in the industry and across the state on both sides of the glass. Craft beer is such an awesome industry to be involved with. It's fun, the tap rooms are exciting. And we really went from only having about 20 breweries a decade ago to now 120 plus going on 130. And those opportunities need to be made available to women, people of color in the LGBTQ plus community to get more people into the industry to get more involved to provide good paying jobs for everyone.