A Campus Concept from Bob Parker and Rob Toplak


To create a teaching brewery and gathering space facilitating interdisciplinary education, employment, and community centered on the science, technology, and business of brewing beer.


Teaching Brewery and Taproom:  A craft-brewery-scale brewery and taproom would provide a wide variety of educational opportunities for students.  Learning to brew on a commercial system would prepare students for employment in the brewing industry.  Students from all backgrounds could contribute:  business/financials, supply chain/operations, legal, sales, marketing.  The taproom provides front-of-house customer service and management experience.

Pitt Campus Engagement:  brU Pitt provides a space for students, staff, faculty, and alumni to connect and collaborate.  It would be a classroom for ENGR 1933, and has the potential to support Pitt as an event space, to support campus functions, and even link to athletics.

Community Engagement:  Pittsburgh houses a vibrant craft brewing community, and brU Pitt could provide interns and employees.  The ENGR 1933 class could support the community by engaging in community-sponsored projects for local breweries.

Education – Present and Future

Our academic goals would be two-fold:

  1. to provide elective coursework and a certificate for the Pitt undergraduate (and potentially graduate) community
  2. to launch an in-person professional certificate program focused on professional brewing (akin to UC Davis or the Siebel Institute of Technology)

Campus-wide Classes:  ENGR 1933, “Science, Technology, and Culture of Craft Brewing”, and ENGR 1920, “Study Abroad:  Belgium”, occur each spring term. 

Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Brewing (planned):  Covering brewing and operations, quality analysis and control, business and law, and requiring an internship, students would learn the necessary skills to open their own brewery.

Study Abroad, expanded (planned):  Additional destinations (e.g., England/Ireland/Scotland, Germany) would provide a different view of international brewing culture than the Belgium trip provides.  Alumni-focused opportunities may also be possible so those who want to learn more about brewing, or who couldn’t take the class or trip while at Pitt can now have a similar experience.

Alignment with the Plan for Pitt

brU Pitt can move forward the following Plan for Pitt objectives through the indicated (Activities):

  • People
    • 1.3 – Enriching the student experience with transformative opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive (Teaching Brewery)
    • 1.5 – Updating our physical and operational environment to encourage risk-taking, exploration, and collaboration (Teaching Brewery and Taproom)
  • Programs
    • 2.2 – Create more preeminent teaching, learning, scholarship, and research experiences (Educational Programs)
    • 2.4 – Broadening our academic opportunities to include more nontraditional students and settings (Teaching Brewery, Community Engagement)
    • 2.5 – Expanding opportunities for civic and global engagement (Community Engagement)
  • Purpose
    • 3.1 – Extending networks and supports to help students graduate on time, secure meaningful employment, and realize early career success (Community and Alumni Engagement, Teaching Brewery)
    • 3.2 – Enhancing the professional trajectories and personal success of our alumni (Teaching Brewery, Education Programs)
    • 3.3 – Fueling economic development throughout the region and economic growth throughout the commonwealth (Educational Programs, Teaching Brewery)