Brew class to begin at Rocky Mount Mills

Transfer Of The Keys

Evan Covington-Chavez shakes hands with Dr. Bill Carver, president of Nash Community College, on Thursday at the Brewing Distillation and Fermentation Classroom at the Rocky Mount Mills.


By Amelia Harper

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Officials at Rocky Mount Mills handed over the keys to the classroom to Nash Community College President Dr. Bill Carver on Thursday in preparation for classes to begin in the college’s ​360 Degree Brewer facility on Monday. 

Nash Community College’s ​360 Degree Brewer facility will feature state of the art brewery, distillation and fermentation equipment​ in ​1,000 square f​eet of instructional space​​. New equipment for the brew lab, which should  arrive Monday, will include a hot liquor tank, a mash tun, a boil kettle and distillation equipment, which, Carver said, will make NCC the only community college in the state to possess this equipment, although four community colleges in the state offer brewery programs.

“Drum roll, please ... we do have a still,” Carver joked during the ceremony.

Eight students are enrolled in the brewing, distillation and fermentation associate degree offered at NCC, said Thomas Clawson, NCC’s brewing, distillation and fermentation instructor and college brewmaster. The first graduate of the program is slated to earn his degree in May.

“This degree prepares students to work in a brewery, in distribution, at a tap room or allows them to start their own business in the field,” Clawson told the Telegram.

In addition to the degree program, Nash Community College offers other continuing education programs through the 360 Degree Brewer program, which include a course series emphasizing principles in OSHA safety, stainless steel welding, fermentation, chemistry, plumbing, equipment maintenance, electrical systems, entrepreneurialism, microbiology and marketing.​ Students in these classes will be able to take full advantage of the new classroom and lab space available at the Rocky Mount Mills, which is owned by Capitol Broadcasting Co.

Carver said he is interested in seeing the craft beers that will be produced in the facility and the work that will be done there.

“I look forward to how many students and entrepreneurs will benefit from this facility,” Carver said. “Students will be able to learn a new craft and skill in this room.”

Evan Covington Chavez, development manager for the Rocky Mount Mills, said she feels the new location is the appropriate place for the class to be held.

“This building was formerly the carpenter’s workshop,” Chavez said. “People were always crafting something here, and it is fitting that crafting will still be done. We are excited that you are finally moving in.”

Dr. Trent Mohrbutter, vice president for instruction and chief academic officer at NCC, said  the program created at the college includes instruction not only in the creation of beers, but also also in the marketing and business aspects of the industry.

“Our goal is to create a holistic brewer who can transition into the workforce not just as an employee, but also as an employer or entrepreneur,” Mohrbutter said.

Carver said he is excited to see the program expand in this way.

“When we first decided to add this program to our other culinary arts offerings, I told the mayor that we would eventually make Rocky Mount into a foodie town. Today’s event shows what can happen with a dream and a little bit of money,” he said.