Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Dr. Thomas Shellhammer Oral History Interview #2, February 14th, 2017

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so name, date of birth

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer introduces himself and provides his date of birth, professional title, the current date and the interview location.

Keywords: Brewing chemistry; Brewing science; Fermentation science; Hops research; Hops--chemistry

Subjects: Beer; Beer and brewing; Corvallis (Or.); Hops; Oregon State University; San Jose (Calif.)

00:00:28 - Childhood memories in California

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Partial Transcript: So, you were born in San Jose, and what are some of the

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer describes his early memories of food preservation, the climate in San Jose and his father’s work as a field biologist. He details his involvement with his father’s research in the Sequoia National Park, and how it eventually led to them publishing a paper together. He discusses living in the national park during the summer for this research.

Keywords: Academic papers; Academic publications; Fruit leather; Only children

Subjects: Field biology; Fire ecology; Food Preservation; Food--Preservation; San Jose (Calif.); San José State University; Sequoia National Park (Calif.); U-pick farms

00:05:59 - Early interests in art and science

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Partial Transcript: So were you interested in science. I guess to ask, were you interested

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer discusses how his parents’ professions influenced his interest in both the arts and sciences. He describes his mother’s career in art history and art education, and the numerous projects she had in sharing art with students and the public. He details the visits he took with his parents to art museums locally and in Europe, and the impact that travelling to Europe had on his mother.

Keywords: Art outreach; Art outreach programs; Arts education; Outreach programs

Subjects: Art History; Art and science; Art galleries; Art--Europe; Art--History; Arts--Education; Historic preservation; Public schools--California

00:10:03 - Agriculture and technology in California / Demographics in San Jose, CA

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Partial Transcript: What about, thinking about the culture and some of you memories

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer describes the development of Silicon Valley during his childhood, and its relevance to political turmoil at the time. He discusses his interactions and awareness of agriculture growing up, and how human and mechanized labor is involved now. Shellhammer then notes the demographics of his childhood neighborhood in San Jose, and how the influx of immigration to the area resulted in massive diversity there.

Keywords: Asian immigration; Computer development; Corporate agribusiness; Hispanic communities; Immigration--Asia; Technology development

Subjects: Agribusiness; Agriculture; Agriculture--California; Diversity; Farm mechanization; IMMIGRATION; Personal computers; Refugees; Silicon Valley (Calif.); Vietnam War; Vietnam War, 1961-1975

00:16:04 - Academic interests

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Partial Transcript: So at that point, were you- what were you interested in scholastically?

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer discusses his academic strengths throughout his lower education, and the achievements he came to through them. He also details his participation in school sports, and how that connected him to school staff around the bay area. He notes the different arenas where he played tennis growing up, and how his activity in the sport has changed.

Keywords: Gifted students; High school valedictorians; Math and science; Standardized testing; Standardized tests; Talented and Gifted students

Subjects: Science education; Science--education; Sports Clubs; Student-athletes; Talented students; Tennis; Tennis clubs

00:19:06 - Undergraduate studies at UC Davis

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Partial Transcript: Did you want, or did you think about going to school in

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer describes how he chose to attend UC Davis over US San Jose, and the benefits of studying at a university with some distance from home. He notes how the comparison of urban and suburban cultures influenced his decision to attend UC Davis, and how he might have thought differently after visiting Europe. Shellhammer then details how his academic interests from adolescence played into his eventual choice to study fermentation science, and his parents’ advice in choosing a path of study. He compares his approach to art with his daughters’, and he describes the different art forms he tried while in college.

Keywords: Art classes; Fermentation science; Landscape architecture; Sensory analysis; Student independence; Urban colleges; Urban settings

Subjects: Art and science; College towns; Field biology; Genetics; Independence; Landscape art and architecture; Oenology; UC Davis; University of California, Davis

00:28:00 - The fermentation science program at UC Davis

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Partial Transcript: So this is Davis in the mid-1980s.

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer discusses the specific focuses of the fermentation and food science program at UC Davis, and how the title of the program has changed over time to match those focuses. He describes the research projects he got involved in during undergrad, and the presence of brewing in the program while he studied there. He explains which courses were most influential during his undergraduate studies, along with his early interaction and knowledge of the brewing process.

Keywords: Brewing process; Brewing science; Fermentation science; Food engineering; Home brewing; Malting; Wine science

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Cellular biology; Coors Brewing Company; Food science; Oenology; UC Davis; University of California, Davis; Wine Sensory evaluation; Wine--Chemistry

00:32:55 - Early experiences in cooking and wine

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Partial Transcript: Did your mom, in addition to making fruit leather- was there wine making

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer describes his parents’ interests in wine and cooking while he was growing up, and how his development of cooking and reading skills were connected. He notes the different diets his family went on, and how it taught him about the body’s adaptation to different nutrients. Shellhammer then discusses how his oenology courses matched up with his academic interests, along with how the advising department in the fermentation science program prepared him for graduate school.

Keywords: Cuisine variety; Dieting; Fermentation science; Graduate school; Graduate studies; Wine science

Subjects: Art and science; Beer; Cooking; Reading, Developmental; Spirits, Alcoholic; Wine; Wine making; Wine tasting

00:37:52 - Connection of agriculture to UC Davis

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Partial Transcript: Did you feel the influence of agriculture in Davis?

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer explains the connection between UC Davis and the surrounding agriculture, and how it differs from other agricultural areas. He compares the attitudes and self-involvement of farmers with winemakers, along with the different approaches to agriculture at UC Davis and Ohio State University. He recounts the degrees he received at US Davis, and how the food science program has grown since he left. Shellhammer then describes the different summer jobs and internships he had in winemaking and food science during college, and how that contributed to his transition into food engineering for graduate school.

Keywords: Food engineering; Future Farmers of America--California; Graduate schools; Graduate studies; Grape farming; Production agriculture; Self-importance

Subjects: Agriculture; Champagne; Davis (Calif.); Dole Food Company; Future Farmers of America; Grape industry; Napa Valley (Calif.); Oenology; Ohio State University; Plant genetics; Viticulture; Wine making

00:43:37 - Student demographics in UC Davis fermentation science program

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Partial Transcript: What was the difference, or was there a difference- what do you

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer compares the specific interests his undergraduate and graduate cohorts had in fermentation science, and how that dictated their career focus in the brewing and wine industries. He notes how male-dominated the fermentation science program was at the undergraduate level, and how more women were involved in higher studies. He discusses the race and gender demographics in fermentation science at UC Davis and OSU now, and how they compare to international Master Brewers programs.

Keywords: Alcohol sales; Fermentation science; Gender and brewing; Marketing--alcohol; Master Brewer programs; Minorities in industry; Production brewing; Race and brewing; White domination

Subjects: Alcohol; Alcohol consumption; Anheuser-Busch Companies; Diversity; Food science; International students; Male domination (Social structure); Minorities; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Wine making

00:51:09 - Doctoral work in food engineering

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Partial Transcript: So what about the shift as you moved from food sciences

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer describes his Master’s studies at UC Davis in the food engineering department, and the learning curve he experienced on the engineering side of his degree. He recounts his work for General Mills following his graduation from the Master’s Program, and how he went back for the PhD in food science. He notes other internships he had during that time. Shellhammer then describes the transition to living and working at General Mills in Minneapolis, and the major differences in culture from the west coast. He notes why he moved back to California for his PhD.

Keywords: Food engineering; Food science internships; Graduate school; Graduate studies; Midwestern culture

Subjects: Biological engineering; Chemical engineering; Food engineers; Food science; General Mills, Inc.; Internships; Long-distance relationships; Midwestern United States; Minneapolis (Minn.); Product development

00:57:03 - Transition to living in Ohio / Early professional experience

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Partial Transcript: So you went back, and you finished up in '96, and then you went to Ohio.

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer notes when he completed his PhD at UC Davis, along with the research project he did for his dissertation. He describes the different ways he maintained involvement in the fermentation science program, and his hopes to pursue a career in education. He discusses how he and his family ended up moving to Columbus, Ohio for his work in the food engineering department at Ohio State University. Shellhammer then describes the importance of agriculture, food processing and manufacturing in Ohio, and how that influences the university culture. He characterizes the landscape of Ohio, and the absence of beer culture there.

Keywords: American Brewers Guild; Biodegradable packaging; Craft beer; Fermentation science; Food engineering; Manufacturing--Ohio; Master Brewer programs; Production agriculture; Temperance movements

Subjects: Agriculture; Biodegradable plastics; Biodegradable products; Columbus (Ohio); Food Packaging; Food Preservation; Food engineers; Food--Packaging; Food--Preservation; Ohio State University; Social tensions; Teaching

01:07:44 - Beer culture in Corvallis, OR / Joining the OSU fermentation science program

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Partial Transcript: But here- so, mid-2000s

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer discusses moving to Corvallis to join the OSU fermentation science, and the large contrast in craft beer culture between Columbus, Ohio and Corvallis. He describes how he found out about the OSU fermentation science program, and how he eventually got hired. He compares the atmospheres of Corvallis and Davis. He details the challenges of joining a smaller, pre-established academic program, along with the difficulty of working in a lower-ranked university. He notes the serendipity of joining the fermentation science program as the craft beer industry was growing, and how it gave him the freedom to discuss his career with his community.

Keywords: Academic leadership; Academic program development; Academic programs; Craft beer; Fermentation science; WinCo Foods

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Brewing industry; Corvallis (Or.); Leadership; Oregon State University; Program Development

01:16:08 - Shellhammer's impact on the OSU fermentation science program

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Partial Transcript: What is it- I'm curious though, but they also really identify you

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer describes how his partnership with Jeff Clawson has contributed to the success of the OSU fermentation science program, and how they divide their responsibilities. He discusses the positive response to brewing culture in Oregon, and how that allows the OSU program to grow. Shellhammer compares the fermentation science program with that UC Davis, and how OSU benefits from the strong connection to the surrounding agricultural resources used in brewing. He notes how student enrollment in the program is reflective of the craft beer market at the time.

Keywords: Academic partnership; Craft brewing; Endowments--brewing; Fermentation science; Practical skills; Practicality

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Brewing industry; Endowments; Outreach; Partnership; Science education; Science--education; Teamwork

01:23:27 - Demographic shifts in the brewing industry

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Partial Transcript: So how do you- reflect a little bit on how the industry has changed

Segment Synopsis: Shellhammer assesses how he has aged with the founders of the craft brewing industry and education programs, and how business needs change as a brewery grows. He explains how the larger craft brewers are growing on the verge of macro production, and his predictions for future contraction in the industry. He discusses the optimism of smaller brewers at industry events, along with the separation between brewers and hop farmers. He describes the potential perspectives of multi-generational hop farmers on the brewing industry, along with his advice for people considering joining it.

Keywords: Business development; Business growth; Craft beer; Family support; Hop farmers; Market crashes; Market cycles; Market saturation

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Brewing industry; Business cycles; Hops; Microbreweries; Optimism; Organizational Culture; Supply and demand