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Oct 21, 2014

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Siebel Institute closed briefly

Brewing schools resumes operations after change in ownership

Jan 17, 2000 - Siebel Institute of Technology, the last of the founding brewing schools of the 1800s, ceased most of its operations last week.

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Since this story appeared, Siebel reopened. Read the story.)

In a letter addressed to friends of the Chicago-based institute, chairman and CEO Bill Siebel said that all courses, programs and other education activities ended effective Friday.

"The industry has undergone many changes over the last few years," he wrote. "The sum for us has been a sharp decline in enrollments over the last two years. I do not see this picture changing this year and I am unable to cope with further losses."

Siebel was more than a North American brewing school -- it attracted students from more than 60 countries around the world. Bill Siebel noted that it was a victim of changing times. "International breweries have decreased their participation due to economic conditions in Asia and Latin America while the ongoing consolidation of the larger breweries has meant that they can't spare the people to attend outside training courses," he wrote. "The mid-tier breweries in North America have now disappeared and it was the middle range breweries that depended most heavily on our services. And of the many small breweries in North America there are too few that can both afford and appreciate the need for further training."

He notes that he has been talking about the overcapacity of brewing education supply for several years. His efforts to partner with other institutions failed, however.

Some other activities of the Siebel Institute will continue. Dr. Gary Spedding, vice president of Laboratory Services, plans to take over the laboratory service and laboratory media portion of the business.

Siebel wrote that there is a possibility that a new Siebel Institute could resume courses. The faculty is currently looking at how they might reorganize the school, possibly as a not for profit company.


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