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MSEM students team up with Maine Brewers Guild for Industry Consulting Project

Association partners with USM as a result of group’s recommendations

Maine is home to 60 craft brewers. A growing industry, it’s a source of revenue and jobs (1,500 in 2014 according to the Maine Brewers Guild) for the state. Yet, the small brewers have a number of disadvantages, including quality control, for the formulation and brewing process. Understanding process control and having access to the right technology prohibits growth for many of these brewers.

This past summer a group of Tufts M.S. in Engineering Management students teamed up with the Maine Brewers Guild, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the craft beer industry in Maine.” The project? Assess whether a “shared services” entity could help address small brewers need for quality control with the fermentation process.

Stemming from the team’s feasibility recommendations and business plan, the Maine Brewers Guild announced a major partnership with University of Southern Maine involving access to their $500,000 quality assurance lab facility for brewers.

Faculty advisor and Professor of Supply Chain Management, Gerry Brown, explains, We’re delighted that Maine Brewers’ Guild and USM were able to act on the feasibility study our engineering students did last summer. It’s great to see student practicum work turn into something real, and this is an exciting model of public-private collaboration that we hope to see more of.

The partnership garnered a lot of press coverage – including a piece in the Portland Press Herald that explains the benefits of the partnership: “students get real-world experience by testing various beer formulations and doing quality control analyses while brewers get a nearby and affordable testing facility.”

Group members included MSEM class of 2016 students: Ryan Casey, systems Engineer II at Instrumentation Lab; Jonathan Kinross, Process Engineer at Amgen; Michael Li, systems Engineer at Raytheon; Carlos Martinez, Sr. Automation Engineer at E-Volve Systems; and Brian Massa, Air Force Wide Band Enterprise Terminal Systems, US Air Force.