Toasting his Success


Walsh-Whiskey-Brian-Gleeson-Award-IT-CarlowNenagh Brewing and Distilling Student Awarded Walsh Whiskey Bursary

As the son of a baker, he already knew a thing or two about yeast, albeit in artisan bread. Now Brian Gleeson, a student on Ireland’s first Honours Degree in Brewing and Distilling at Institute of Technology Carlow, has put his knowledge to the test and been awarded the Walsh Whiskey Distillery €1,000 bursary prize for achieving the highest grades in first year.

The 2nd Year BSc. in Brewing and Distilling student is the son of Edward and Margaret Gleeson of Gleeson’s Bakery in Nenagh. Brian applied for the course as a mature student after travelling and living in the US where he saw first-hand the explosion of the craft beer industry.

“I always liked science and studied chemistry and biology in school. When I lived in the United States, I started home brewing and continued this when I returned to Ireland. In fact, along with my class mate Alexsi, who has travelled from Finland to study on the programme, we brew our own beer which we call 7A.  We also founded the Brewing and Distilling Society in Institute of Technology Carlow and have organised a number of events and visits by different craft breweries and distilleries’, commented Brian. ‘I love this course and am thrilled to receive the bursary. When I graduate in two years’ time, I’d like to work with a whiskey distillery’.

Walsh Whiskey Distillery, which boasts one of Ireland’s largest distilleries and a visitor centre in Royal Oak Carlow, last year announced it would award an annual €1,000 bursary prize to the Brewing and Distilling student who achieved the highest grades at the end of his or her first year. The bursary, according to Bernard Walsh, Founder and Managing Director of Walsh Whiskey Distillery, recognises Institute of Technology Carlow as ‘a centre for teaching, learning, research and innovation in brewing and distilling’. Ms Lisa Ryan, Distillery Manager at Walsh Whiskey said, ‘We are delighted to be a collaborative partner with the Brewing and Distilling Degree course at Institute of Technology Carlow. The development of the programme is warmly welcomed by the industry which is in real need of qualified staff’.

Dr. David Ryan, programme director for the degree course at Institute of Technology Carlow commented, ‘The degree programme is an incredibly exciting and timely development for Ireland’s brewing and distilling sector which is experiencing exponential growth with up to 50 distilleries and well over 100 breweries now in operation or in development. Our graduates will support the industry in the region, nationally and globally and this bursary from Walsh Whiskey inspires first year students to get off to the best possible start in their studies’

Launched last year, the four-year honours Bachelor of Science degree programme in Brewing and Distilling was developed by Institute of Technology Carlow following significant research and consultation with industry, representative organisations, national bodies and government. The programme has received huge support from industry which has consistently reported difficulties in recruiting suitable qualified staff.  The programme is one of only four in the world to achieve professional recognition by the prestigious Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), the world’s leading professional body for the brewing and distilling industry.  Graduates of the degree will be eligible to sit the Masters level professional qualifications of the IBD.