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2014 April 14 - 12:00 am


Coming in the Monday, April 28,  2014  Community College Week issue:

Just a year ago, Leah Tyrell was slinging slices, burgers and nachos as a waitress at Asheville Pizza and Brewing. Now, she’s canning and brewing beer for the company, one of a growing number of local women working in the brew industry here. It can be a tough, backbreaking job, but Tyrell is up for the challenge. “I love the hard work,” she said. “I take a lot of pride in the beer here. I've gotten a lot stronger from working here.” Historically, beer has been a business about men — the customers, brewers and distributors have mostly been male. And advertising targeted the male market. But the business is changing on a national and local level. Western North Carolina is home to about 30 small and regional craft brewers that employ more than 250 workers, a number that is growing. Community colleges are beginning to tap into the brewing industry. Last fall, Blue Ridge Community College began offering an associate degree in brewing, distillation and fermentation will be one of the few of its kind. The school joined Asheville-Buncombe Technical College and Rockingham Community College in offering training in the craft beer industry. More women have joined the beer workforce in a variety of jobs, in support roles and in management and ownership of breweries.

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