MadTree Brewing establishes scholarship to increase diversity in brewing industry

Cincinnati’s MadTree Brewing recently established a $5,000 scholarship for students in Cincinnati State’s Brewing Science degree and certificate programs, to promote and support increased diversity in the brewing industry.

The scholarship application is available online at

Funds will be available for scholarship recipients to use for Fall Semester 2021.

Nationwide, the craft brewing industry is a predominantly white, male workforce. Roughly 10% of non-brewing production staff is comprised of people of color and 37% are women.

“We believe change comes through representation. We started with education because we wanted to be a part of systemic change,” said Rhiannon Hoeweler, Director of Strategic Impact at MadTree Brewing.

“By starting at the root of an issue-– like easing the financial barrier for education-– we help make it easier to join the industry. And the more we diversify the brewing industry, the better we will make it,” Hoeweler added.

“This scholarship is one way to invest in our beliefs and spark change.”

In addition to the student scholarship, MadTree is contributing a $5,000 donation to support the sustainability classes and labs that are part of the Brewing Science curriculum. Topics covered in these classes include management and treatment of solid waste and wastewater in brewing processes.

“We thank MadTree for their thoughtfulness and generosity in helping students in Cincinnati State’s Brewing program,” said Cincinnati State President Monica Posey. “Investing in our students has a great return for the workforce and our region.”

Cincinnati State and MadTree have a strong relationship, with several Cincinnati State Brewing program alumni working at the brewery.

Brittany Frey, Production Manager at MadTree (seen at work in the photo above), is one of the first graduates from the College’s Brewing program. She sits on the board of Cincinnati’s chapter of Pink Boots Society, an organization that assists and encourages women beer professionals.

Carla Gesell-Streeter, Program Chair of Cincinnati State’s Brewing Science program, also is a board member of the Cincinnati Pink Boots Society.

Frey said, “The Brewing program was very competitive, and you always wanted to do your best.”

“We had great instructors who had been in the industry for awhile and it felt like I was getting more than I was paying for. By the time I left the program, I felt confident that I had made a good step forward.”

Danielle Sickmiller, Cellar Lead at MadTree, was a classmate of Frey’s and MadTree’s first intern in 2018, when she spent a summer with the brewery’s production team to gain hands-on experience.

“The staff was super-supportive and I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” said Sickmiller.

“During my co-op, I felt like there were opportunities to grow here and really I wanted to work at MadTree after getting my degree from Cincinnati State.”

(Article by Richard Curtis, Cincinnati State Interim Media Coordinator. Photo from MadTree Brewing.)