Weihenstephan The faculty for Brewing Science and Beverage Technology at the Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan, a small town north of Munich in the Freising District of Germany, has historically been considered the epicenter for education in the world of brewing. In 1021 Weihenstephan was established by Benedictine monks as an abbey and beer brewery. Commercial beer brewing commenced in 1040, making Weihenstephan reputedly the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world. When the Benedictine Abbey ceased in 1803 and the property was taken over by the Bavarian State Government, it became the founding location for the Agricultural and Brewing College. Later, in 1907, the Weihenstephan research brewery was established. The college achieved full university status in 1920 and was allowed to issue doctorate degrees. In 1930 it was merged into the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Current fields of study at Weihenstephan have since been broadened to include forestry, horticulture, nutrition, biotechnology, food technology, and appliance engineering. The campus is now a large modern university referred to as the Center of Life Science with 80 professors and over 3,000 students. The campus has two breweries: the original Research Brewery and the Bavarian State Brewery, with an annual output of over 200,000 barrels, and a distillery. There are five high-tech, small-scale research breweries on campus for student projects as well as commercial consulting projects for Brewing Science majors to use. As an interdisciplinary major, there are two different educational paths for students. The 4 and a half year Masters in Engineering program is highly academic and requires the students to publish a thesis of significant scientific relevance in the brewing disciplines of process engineering, malting, mechanical engineering, microbiology, business administration, packaging, or energy technology. Course work in microbiology, biochemistry, mechanical engineering, brewing and malting technology, fermentation science, analytical chemistry, accounting, business administration, food chemistry, process engineering and microbiological quality control are among the 45 required classes necessary to graduate. The graduates are considered among the elite in the brewing world, as the program is highly competitive with less than 20% of the accepted students meeting the graduation requirements.
Also offered at the University of Munich is the 2-year Diploma Braumeister (Graduated Brew master) program. Students can qualify for this program if they have completed a journeyman-training program at a brewery administered by a certified brewing engineer and a total of 3 years working in the industry. The classes that correspond to the Braumeister program are at the lower division level and the degree does not require a thesis. All classes in both programs are taught entirely in German.
Among the industry services provided by Weihenstephan are the yeast bank, technical consulting, and financial consulting. The Weihenstephan yeast bank, established in 1940, supplies yeast to breweries around the world. It has the largest collection of bottom and top fermenting strains in the world. The various strains were differentiated using modern research methods conducted by the graduate students at Weihenstephan. Yeast is shipped to breweries in various forms: yeast in agar, yeast on cotton, one-liter flask, or pressed cakes. Throughout the world, many yeast strains are known largely by their Weihenstephan catalog numbers. This is especially the case with Bavarian weissbier yeast, which some brewers and enthusiasts persist in simply calling “Weihenstephan yeast,” even though Weihenstephan makes hundreds of other yeast strains available.
As far as technical consulting goes, the majority of brewing machinery technology developments is initiated by the major German brewing machinery manufacturing firms. Most of these companies send their new developments to be tested and have their results certified by the Brewery Testing and Research Institute (Staatliche Brautechnische Prüf und Versuchsanstalt) at Weihenstephan. The institute is staffed with 51 technical staff members that focus primarily on analytical chemistry.
Financial Consulting to the brewing industry is offered by the Financial Advisory Group Weihenstephan (Unternehmungsberatung Weihenstephan). Founded in 1976, this company was purchased by Delloite Touche Tohmatsu and continues to offer financial consulting to the brewing and beverage industry worldwide. The company specializes in brewery valuations, supply chain management, structural reorganizations, and controlling.
The Abbey Brewery of Weihenstephan became the Bavarian State Brewery at Weihenstephan in 1921. The brewery is particularly well-known for its hefeweizen, which is exported worldwide.
Geschichte Weihenstephans (History of Weihenstephan). http://www.weihenstephan.de/weihenstephan/wegweiser/campgeschi.html/ (accessed November 2, 2009). Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan (Weihenstephan brewery). http://www.brauerei-weihenstephan.de/ (accessed November 4, 2009). Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan (Research Center Weihenstephan). http://www.wzw.tum.de/ (accessed November 4, 2009).
Geschichte Weihenstephans (History of Weihenstephan). http://www.weihenstephan.de/weihenstephan/wegweiser/campgeschi.html/ (accessed November 2, 2009).
Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan (Weihenstephan brewery). http://www.brauerei-weihenstephan.de/ (accessed November 4, 2009).
Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan (Research Center Weihenstephan). http://www.wzw.tum.de/ (accessed November 4, 2009).