April 1, 2023 | Food Innovation center | Nebraska innovation campusCraft Brewing Workshop

Registration is now closed
brewing in pilot plant

Join us on April 1, 2023

for a Craft Brewing Workshop at the Food Innovation Center
on Nebraska Innovation Campus

Attendance for this event is limited to UNL students and selected employees

Craft brewing is a rapidly expanding industry in Nebraska.  From 2010 to 2017, the number of gallons of in-state brewed beer produced annually tripled, according to the Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild, from less than 500,000 gallons to more that 1.4 million gallons.  Nebraska has also gone from a only a handful of licensed craft breweries ten years ago to the current number of 67 breweries spread throughout the state, which is good for an economic impact of $351 per capita for adults over 21.  Consequently, there have been increasing number of employment opportunities in many industries related to craft brewing and a need for young graduates to fill some of these positions.


The University of Nebraska university system is uniquely positioned to educate talented individuals to staff the burgeoning craft brewing industry in Nebraska and keep those individuals in state.  To date, however, brewing-specific education has yet to be addressed by the state’s largest university.  It is our intention to begin to fill this gap in craft brewing-related education.  This project would be the first steps in a multiple year process to bring brewing-related careers to the fore at UNL.

First 100 registered UNL students attending are eligible for $100 stipend!

Learn more about UNL Food Science & Technology's Fermentation Minor

8:30 coffee and pastries
9:00 Welcome Terry Howell Jr, Executive Director of the UNL Food Processing Center (FPC) and Andy Rasmussen, Microbiologist and Fermentation Scientist Workshop overview, introduction to the FPC and the new fermentation science minor
9:30 State of NE Items Casey Foster, Ag Program Manager, Nebraska Department of Agriculture Nebraska Department of Agriculture welcome to the workshop
9:45 Industry Overview Brianne Schuler, Executive Director, Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild Overview and importance and growth potential of Nebraska Craft Beer Industry, intro to the Nebraska Brewers Guild
10:15 Break
10:30 Brewing Overview/ Career overview Mitchell Elmblad, Head Brewer, Brickway Brewery and Distillery Introduction to the brewing process, Mitchell's journey in the industry 
11:00 Ingredient quality/selection Josh Christensen, Owner of Christensen Hop Farms Nebraska ingredient production for craft brewing
11:30 Craft Breweries as economic drivers Caleb Pollard, Co-founder, operator and owner of  Scratchtown Brewing Economic impact of craft brewing in rural NE
12:00 Lunch/Meet and Greet
12:45 Tour of the pilot plants Terry Howell, Jr.
1:15 Fermentation outside of beer Nathan Hoeft, Owner and Brewmaster of First Street/Ensign Beverage Production of fermented beverages other of beer in Nebraska
1:45 Tourism opportunities Shirley Wichman, Industry Relations and Education Coordinator for Nebraska Tourism Commission Brewing/beverages as a driver of Nebraska tourism and hospitality
2:15 Wrap-up Terry Howell, Jr. and Andy Rasmussen

Event Sponsors:

The Food Processing Center

Nebraska Brewery Board

Brewery Guild

In-Kind Sponsors and Presenters

Mitchell EmbladMitchell Emblad
Brickway Brewing
Mitchell is the Head Brewer and distiller at Brickway Brewery & Distillery in Omaha, Nebraska. He has currently served in his role for 5 years at Brickway and a total of 9 years as a professional brewer. Mitchell previously held management roles in the retail, grocery, and restaurant industries for 15 years in Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. In his brewing career, he has over 40 national beer and spirits awards to his resume, including a prestigious gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for the Jalapeno Pineapple Pils.
Jessi HoeftJessi Hoeft
Ensign Beverage

Jessi Hoeft is the co-founder of Ensign Beverage and First Street Brewing Company out of Hastings, Nebraska. Her brewing background goes back to 1995 when she brewed her first batch of kombucha. 
Jessi currently serves as the Board-Chair at UNL Food Processing Center; Director at Little Blue NRD, and Director Co-VP at The Hastings Community Foundation.

Josh ChristiansenJosh & Ronee Christiansen
Christiansen Hop Farm
Christensen Hop Farm was established by Josh & Ronee Christensen in 2017.     We began with about 700 plants in our backyard.  We have quickly grown to two farms encompassing 6 acres, with 9 varieties of hops.  With decades of experience in farming a variety of crops and livestock, we now want to focus our knowledge and talents on growing great hops in Nebraska.    We’re excited to supply brewers with hops with our local terroir.

Nathan HoeftNathan Hoeft
First Street

Nathan Hoeft launched No Coast Brewing in 2012 in Hastings, Nebraska. He started producing beer under the DBA First Street Brewing Company in 2015. Diversification of the company came in 2017 when he helped launched the brand Ensign Beverage, which has a focus on producing low sugar, non-alcoholic, fermented beverages. Nathan has taken his self taught homebrewing skills and developed brands that are distributed statewide.   
Nathan has been active with the Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild and is currently serving as president. 

Shirley WichmanShirley Wichman
Nebraska Tourism
Shirley Wichman works for the Nebraska Tourism Commission as the Industry Relations Coordinator. Shirley loves to share her passion for Nebraska with whoever will listen. She and her husband, Willie, both native Nebraskans, enjoy traveling the back roads, visiting with the locals and of course, cheering on Nebraska athletics.
Caleb PollardCaleb Pollard
Scratchtown Brewing
Caleb Pollard is owner/operator at Scratchtown Brewing Company with his three business partners in Ord, Nebraska. Starting in 2012, and opening their doors in 2013, Scratchtown has been dedicated to a dual purpose: brewing world class beer in rural Nebraska, and catalyzing positive change through investment and business activity.