A new law paves the way for Napa Valley College and other California schools of higher learning not only to teach brewing, but to sell the resulting beer to support their programs.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing on Monday of Senate Bill 228 removes the ban on beer sales for instructional brewing programs on California campuses, effective Jan. 1. The bill, introduced by state Sen. Bill Dodd, gives brewing educators the same privileges as winemaking instructors who already can sell the products of their programs, as NVC’s wine program does.

“California is an internationally recognized leader in the production of wine and beer,” Dodd, a former Napa County supervisor, said in a statement Wednesday. “Many of these products are made by students who learned their trade in our public colleges. We need to ensure that we are able to meet the future workforce demands of the California and teach students practical skills.”

NVC officials had awaited the passage of the beer-sales bill as they pondered debuting a brewing science course at the main campus in response to rising interest in craft beers. The program could start as early as 2018.

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Although the program likely would begin as a fee-based, non-credit class, leaders at the two-year school supported the Senate bill as a way to let students absorb the complete beer-making trade – sales and marketing as well as fermentation.

“We figure a lot of our students are going to work for Downtown Joe’s or other individual brewers, and if they have some knowledge of branding and sales, they would become better employees,” NVC president Ron Kraft said in April.

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