Ballast Point Brewing – Brewing For Diversity Program Awards Two Scholarships
(SAN DIEGO, CA) – Ballast Point has awarded two full scholarships as part of its inaugural Brewing for Diversity partnership with the UC San Diego Extension Brewing Program. The scholarship program grants underrepresented students full tuition and related fees for those starting or continuing in the UC San Diego Extension’s Brewing Certificate Program as well as the opportunity to complete a paid internship at Ballast Point in San Diego to gain real- world insight into brewery production and operations. The selection committee, composed of members of Ballast Point, UC San Diego Extension, and the Inclusion Committee of the San Diego Brewers Guild, was originally tasked with presenting one recommended recipient from the strong pool of applicants. Finding it difficult to narrow down from the final two after reviewing the committee’s notes and the candidate’s personal essays, it was decided that both candidates should receive a scholarship in the program’s kick-off year.
The 2021 Ballast Point Brewing for Diversity scholarship recipients Elia Gómez Smith and Skylar Holewinski both demonstrated a deep passion to learn and augment their professional backgrounds in science and brought diverse perspectives and accomplishments to the table.
Skylar has a 15-year professional background in formal research with a focus in biopharma clinical trials. She finalized her degree in biology from UC San Diego later in life, at age 36. After 18 years of working towards her diploma, it became personally important to Skylar to find a viable path to utilize and strengthen her degree in a hands-on format. When she saw an announcement for the scholarship and the time flexibility of the program in brewing, it felt like a natural next step — and a different way to think about science. The Brewing for Diversity scholarship presented her with a fresh perspective on brewing as a creative and social path to gaining experience with science and experimentation. She views the opportunity as a means to enhance her knowledge of brewing as both art and science and to ultimately advance diversity in communities.
Elia is a first-generation immigrant and the youngest of eight siblings born and raised in Mexico. Her passion for fermentation and well-being developed early: Elia’s father was a Physical Chemist and her mother was often fermenting foods in the family’s kitchen. With a formal education in STEM and a BA in Chemistry, she currently works in medical case management and continues her studies in traditional Chinese medicine and home brewing. Elia seeks to invigorate the elements of inclusion, health, and belonging in the beer industry, and sees an enormous opportunity to increase the appeal of fermented beverages through experimentation to a broader audience including women and cultures that may not drink these products brewed using traditional techniques.
According to the Brewers Association’s brewery employee diversity data, current race and ethnicity demographics of U.S. brewery employees skew overwhelmingly white for production staff (76.2%) and brewers (89%), and exceedingly male with only 7.5 percent of brewers in the
U.S. identifying as female. In recognizing the need for more equitable representation, Ballast Point set out to develop a partnership initiative focused on promoting a more united community, reinforced by a deeper understanding and appreciation of inclusivity and equality.
“We collectively want Ballast Point to represent the community we live in and the people that enjoy our beer, and that means taking action,” said Ballast Point CEO, Brendan Watters. “Our partners in this initiative also believe we have to actively work together for the things we care about in order to bring about real change. I can’t wait to see how Elia and Skylar — and future scholarship recipients — grow and challenge the industry.”
UC San Diego’s brewing certificate program was the first of its kind in Southern California and was originally developed in 2013 by Teresa Grosch who made it a point to reach out to female homebrewers, scientists, engineers, and those who may not have considered the brewing industry as a career option. Taught by leading professional brewers and other industry professionals, the program consists of part-time, evening and weekend sessions that offer academic and practical training for entry-level brewing professionals and can be completed in 12 to 18 months.
“We were honored to meet all of the scholarship finalists and couldn’t be more proud of Skylar and Elia,” said Laura Fandino, Extension’s Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs. “Both candidates possess exemplary leadership qualities, passion for fermentation science, and desire to positively impact the interaction between communities and the craft beer industry as a whole.”
The Brewing for Diversity scholarship application window for 2022 is open now through May 2022. Interested applicants can visit UC San Diego Extension for more information.
About Ballast Point Brewing Co.
What started in 1996 as a small group of homebrewers who simply wanted to make great beer evolved into the team of adventurers known today as Ballast Point. A pioneering brewery born within the hallowed, hopped walls of San Diego’s Home Brew Mart, the complete art of the craft swims in the DNA of Ballast Point and informs both what’s inside and on the can. On March 2, 2020, Ballast Point officially returned to its iconic independent roots under the new ownership of San Diego-headquartered, Kings & Convicts Brewing Co., and continues to be an internationally recognized leader in the industry with 6 taproom locations in California and Chicago. From bringing a hoppy twist to a porter or adding four types of malt to its amber ale, to creating the breakthrough gold-medal winning Sculpin IPA, Ballast Point is known for adding its touch and asking if there’s a better way. With an emphasis on R&D and innovation, Ballast Point brews over 50 styles of beer and is distributed in select markets across the US and internationally. For more information, visit www.ballastpoint.com and follow our journey on Instagram and Facebook.
About UC San Diego Extension
UC San Diego serves the lifelong learner by addressing the career skills and personal development needs of individuals, organizations, and our global community. UC San Diego Extension offers year-round continuing and professional education to 100,000 enrollees annually, which translates to more than 30,000 students in over 4,400 courses delivered in- person, online, and 3D-virtual reality classrooms. Certificate and degree-related programs, community partnerships, public-service lectures, and special events meet rapidly evolving academic, specialist, and personal enrichment needs. As an integral part of UC San Diego, UC San Diego Extension programs are developed with advisory boards and taught by working professionals who adhere to the same rigor and standard of excellence upheld by the University.
About San Diego Brewers Guild Inclusion Committee
The Inclusion Committee of the San Diego Brewers Guild aims to be a resource for Guild Brewery and Affiliate members looking to implement diverse, inclusive, and equitable practices into their business practices; to spearhead outreach in communities currently underrepresented in craft beer; and to educate craft beer consumers on how to be agents of change in the community. See https://www.sdbeer.com/inclusion.