British Columbia

New scholarship at B.C. university aims to bring more diverse people into the craft beer industry

The Diversity In Brewing Scholarship will be awarded annually to a Kwantlen Polytechnic University student in the Brewing and Brewery Operations program who identifies as Black, Indigenous, a person of colour, or LGBT.

Breweries are pitching in funds that will be awarded to a Kwantlen Polytechnic University student

The Diversity in Brewing Scholarship will be given annually to a Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) student in the school's Brewing and Brewery Operations program that identifies as Black, Indigenous, a person of colour or LGBT. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

B.C. craft beer industry worker Bruce Gill says they don't feel comfortable at some of the many, many breweries in the Lower Mainland.

"I work in the industry, and honestly, there are not too many places I really go to, where I feel like I am completely, 100 per cent safe as a queer person, as a trans person," said Gill Friday on The Early Edition.

A new industry scholarship could help change that.

The Diversity In Brewing Scholarship is a new award that will be given annually to a Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) student in the school's Brewing and Brewery Operations program that identifies as Black, Indigenous, a person of colour or LGBT.

Gill, who said they were asked by the scholarship account co-ordinator at KPU to share their input on queer inclusivity in the industry, hopes the scholarship will "foster a truly inclusive community and set students up for success right out of the gate."

The scholarship is funded by B.C. breweries and Gill said, so far, 15 have pledged money toward it. The scholarship website says the goal is to have 25 breweries commit to donating a minimum of $200 to reach the goal of a $5,000 annual award.

The Diversity In Brewing Scholarship is sponsored, so far, by 15 B.C. breweries. Organizers hope to get 25 breweries on-board. (Shutterstock)

The prize will be given, for the first time, this upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

"We need to have more people of colour, Black people, Indigenous people and more queer people behind the scenes, in the tasting rooms, as sales reps, to truly, truly be inclusive and diverse," said Gill.

KPU's Brewing and Brewery Operations program is the first brewing program in Canada to be recognized by the Master Brewers Association. It is located at the university's Langley campus although, due to the pandemic, KPU's website says the majority of classes will be held online for the fall term.

To hear Bruce Gill discuss the scholarship, as well as current beer trends, on The Early Edition, tap here.

With files from The Early Edition

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