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Four Penn State Researchers Approved For $300K In Beer Grants

Four Penn State-affiliated researchers were approved for a combined total of $290,400 in beer grants by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB).

In total, $1.2 million was approved for 18 projects in the state of Pennsylvania. The aim of these projects is to increase Pennsylvania-made malt and brewed beverages and to enhance the state beer industry. 

According to 2018 data from the Brewers Association, Pennsylvania is ranked first nationally in the amount of craft beer produced per year — at 3,719,475 barrels. Pennsylvania ranks in the Top Ten in several production and economic impact categories, as well.

Philip Jensen, an adjunct professor of food science, was approved for two grants totaling $83,790 and $82,840, respectively. 

His first project, “Use of Wheat and Rye Middlings (Four Milling Byproducts) in Beer Brewing,will explore grain byproducts in the brewing process. Middlings are a byproduct of polished flour production that is commonly sold as animal feed, though it could present a cheaper solution for brewers to preserve grain flavors in lower-ABV beers. There will be full-scale testing with local brew-pubs throughout this process.  

His second project, “Use of β-Glucosidase Enzymes to Improve Flavor and Aroma Yield from Hops,” will evaluate the use of glucosidases to increase flavor and aroma extraction from hops throughout the brewing process. Through this research, there is the potential to reduce hop costs while maintaining hop flavor and aroma quality and intensity. 

Maria Graziani of the College of Agricultural Sciences was approved of $56,258 for her project, “Craft Beer Value Chain Development: Expanding Hops Processing in Western Pennsylvania.”

This project doubles as research and outreach, as it is aimed to increase the market share of local hops by increasing the shelf life of locally sourced hops. This is attainable by improving processing and storage methods, increasing brewers’ access to local hops, and expanding local hop growing. This project is the first of its kind in the state.

Darrell Cockburn of the College of Agricultural Sciences was approved of a $53,514 grant for “Gluten-Free Beer Production in Pennsylvania Using Unmalted Grains.” This research evaluates the use of unmalted grains and enzyme supplementation for several non-barley/wheat gluten-free grains to develop the best practices for producing sufficient levels of fermentable sugars and free amino nitrogen in gluten-free beer. 

Law professor, Ross Pifer of the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law, also received approval for a $13,998 grant for “Educating Agricultural Producers on Legal Considerations Associated with Hops Production on Leased Land.” The aim of this is to create educational materials and to address commodity-specific legal issues. This project will increase Pennsylvania cultivated hops and increase economic development in the agricultural and beer industry.

In 2016, Act 39 created the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board. It authorizes the PLCB to approve up to $1 million annually for the development of the state beer industry.

More than $800,000 in state beer grants were awarded in 2018, as well as another $704,985 in 2017. The Promotion Board recommended utilizing some of the unallocated grant funds in previous years for the projects in 2019, which caused the total to exceed $1 million.

“Pennsylvania’s craft brewers are some of the most innovative, entrepreneurial people in the food and beverage industry,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a press release. “These grants will support the innovation that has made Pennsylvania number one and will help keep us on top.”

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a freshman writer from York, PA. She intends to major in biology and minor in political science. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected]

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