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      A new degree is brewing at HGTC

      Horry Georgetown Technical College has been working to add an Associate's Degree in craft beer brewing.

      The Area Commission approved the college's statewide employment needs assessment for graduates or positions requiring an Associate in Applied Science in Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation last week.

      The school has already identified local companies that would benefit from students skilled in brewing.

      They now will begin the process of researching the statewide needs for these positions.

      We asked Dr. Marilyn Fore, Senior Vice President of Academic Studies of the college, about the degree.

      She told WPDE NewsChannel 15 that it's a two-year degree that crosses multiple disciplines.

      "The degree is what we would really call a cross curriculum degree, which means the students would not only understand aspects of brewing and fermentation, but they would have an understanding of sanitation, horticulture, crops, distribution processes, management, sales, and engineering course," said Dr. Fore.

      If everything goes according to plan, the college will enroll around 24 students per semester.

      There may be some restrictions on those who can participate in the program. Dr. Fore said students will have to be 21 years or older, be able to handle heavier equipment, and be able to work under extreme temperatures.

      The smaller numbers of students admitted is important since it will be both classroom and hands-on learning experiences.

      HGTC has already been talking with local breweries, including the New South Brewing Company in Myrtle Beach, to help with the hands-on training portion.

      Starting salaries for "Master Brewers" is between $25,000-$30,000.

      The school could create the degree as early as fall of 2016.

      At this time, the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation is looking to recruit The Stone Brewing Company from California.

      The group said this degree will only help to recruit Stone Brewing and other businesses.

      "It shows companies like Stone and other breweries that there is a workforce here that can support their industry that they will come here and they'll have trained, qualified employees in place, said Morgan Dendy with Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

      Click here to learn more about our area's efforts to attract the Stone Brewing Company.