Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Jeff Clawson Oral History Interview, February 27, 2017

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Alright, you are on.

Segment Synopsis: Clawson introduces himself and provides his birth date, the current date and the interview location.

Keywords: Brewing science; Brewing--Education; Craft beer; Fermentation science

Subjects: Beer; Beer and brewing; Corvallis (Or.); Davis (Calif.); Oregon State University

00:00:31 - Childhood memories in Davis, CA

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Partial Transcript: So you were up in Davis, but were you born in Davis?

Segment Synopsis: Clawson identifies where he was born and raised in California, along with where his siblings were born. He discusses growing up in San Luis Obispo, and the activities he did with his mother and neighbors there. He explains his father’s role in the UC Davis agricultural extension service, and the various challenges and adventures that accompanied him traveling for work. Clawson notes his mother’s career at UC Davis, and compares the different approaches his parents take to technology today.

Keywords: Agriculture belts; Agriculture extension service; Computer development; Family moving; Family trips; Farm advisers

Subjects: 4-H clubs; Davis (Calif.); San Luis Obispo (Calif.); Sibling relations; Social media; UC Davis; University of California, Davis; Whittier (Calif.)

00:09:07 - Demographics of the Davis community

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Partial Transcript: So you guys were pretty hooked into the university. Was Davis

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes the variety of socioeconomic classes involved in the UC Davis community, and the challenges of dealing with exclusivity. He notes his appreciation for growing up in Davis, as well as his desire to leave when he reached adulthood. He then discusses his trips into the bay area of California, and some of the activities he did there for school or with family. He details the location of his family home in Davis, and the frustration of hot summers.

Keywords: Blue collar jobs; Exclusivity; Hunt's tomatoes; Hunt's tomatoes--processing plants; The Bay Area (Calif.); University communities

Subjects: Blue collar workers; California--Climate; Public schools; School field trips; Social stratification; UC Davis; University of California, Davis

00:15:32 - Importance of agriculture in California and Oregon

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Partial Transcript: Did agriculture feel integral to the town and to your life?

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes the sources of his frustration on living in Davis, and the difficult interactions between kids from farm families and others. He states that he didn’t want to live in a college town because of his negative experiences in Davis, and reflects on the challenges his own children have had with exclusivity. Clawson then describes the culture of Salem, and the unique experience of living near a political center. He also notes his observations of living in wine country.

Keywords: Acceptance; Discrimination--Socioeconomics; Farming families; Wine country--California; Wine country--Oregon

Subjects: Agriculture; Cliques (Sociology); College towns; Dallas (Or.); Future Farmers of America; Social cliques; Social stratification

00:21:24 - Childhood involvement in university culture / Academic skills

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Partial Transcript: So what do you remember about campus culture? Did you do stuff

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes the various activities he, his siblings and friends did on the UC Davis campus, focusing on involvement in sports events and using computer systems. He discusses his perspectives on an academic career while he was a child, and the skills he struggled with in school. He details his interests in going into a culinary program, but how he was encouraged to attend college instead. He explains his lack of motivation in school as the youngest sibling, and how his struggles lead him to taking a gap year for work before enrolling at Eastern Oregon University in 1981.

Keywords: Academia; Academic careers; Computer development; Football games; Student excellence; University events; University functions

Subjects: Cooking; Custodians; Eastern Oregon University; Food science; Personal computers; Reading & writing; UC Davis; University of California, Davis

00:36:19 - Attending Eastern Oregon University / Introduction to brewing

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Partial Transcript: So were you, how did you choose Eastern Oregon?

Segment Synopsis: Clawson discusses the reasons he became interested in Eastern Oregon University, as well as his interest in the local atmosphere of La Grande, Oregon. He details his journey from business to agricultural business management and food science, including how he first learned about brewing. He describes his early explorations of home brewing while in college, as well as his search for a fermentation science program to pursue. Clawson then illustrates how he met his wife at Eastern Oregon, along with the diversity of skills he gained in college.

Keywords: Exploratory coursework; Fermentation science; Home brewing; Sensory analysis; Small towns--culture; Student-led education; Universities--size

Subjects: Agribusiness; Beer and brewing; College radio stations; Eastern Oregon University; Food science; La Grande (Or.); La Grande (Or.). Eastern Oregon College; Marriage; Oregon State University; Small towns

00:49:13 - Differences between Davis, CA and La Grande, OR

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Partial Transcript: What were some of the differences between Davis and La Grande

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes the climate and population density in and around Davis, and how La Grande juxtaposes those characteristics. He discusses his work as a forest fire fighter during summers of his undergraduate education, and the dangers of fires in the state of Nevada. He details the level of cultural activity in La Grande, and how the quiet nature of the town helped him succeed in school. He notes how unified the community was, and how that compared to the community in Davis.

Keywords: California--Bay area; Davis (Calif.)--Climate; Pinyon pine forests; Small towns--community; Small towns--culture; Winter weather

Subjects: California--Climate; Davis (Calif.); Firefighters; Forest fires; La Grande (Or.); Oregon--Climate; Pinyon pines; Pinyon pines--Ecology--West (U.S.)--Congresses; Population density; Small towns; Social cliques; Unity

00:54:44 - Transition to studying at Oregon State University

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Partial Transcript: So you lived there for four years. Did you graduate from Eastern?

Segment Synopsis: Clawson explains how he technically graduated from Eastern Oregon University while attending Oregon State University for a food science minor. He describes the success in taking fundamental science classes, and how being a married new parent taught him to be a more responsible student. He notes his wife’s career in education, and how they’ve both ended up working in different fields than what they trained for. Clawson then discusses how the sister program between EOU and OSU was developed, and how he could have pursued a full food science degree.

Keywords: Commuting for work; General chemistry; Math education; Math teachers; Police academies; Sister academic programs

Subjects: Corvallis (Or.); Eastern Oregon University; Food science; Oregon State University; Prerequisites in education; Western Oregon University

01:00:43 - Observations of Corvallis culture / Interaction with food science community

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Partial Transcript: So what was Corvallis like to you? What did you think about Corvallis

Segment Synopsis: Clawson explains how limitations on finances and social life influenced his ability to participate in Corvallis’ local culture, as well as the difficulty of including extracurricular activities into his busy schedule. He details the areas of campus where he spent most of his time, and how he learned to make wine while at Oregon State. Clawson then describes the diversity of his cohort at Oregon State, and how he was a minority in the food science department. He reflects on the connections he made in the department, as well as noting how he got involved in a beer sensory analysis lab with Mina McDaniel.

Keywords: Gender in science; Home brewing; Sensory analysis; Universities--Clubs; Wine-making; Women in food science

Subjects: Anheuser-Busch, Inc.; Beer and brewing; Corvallis (Or.); Diversity; Extracurricular activities; Food science; Oregon State University; Parenting; Wineries

01:05:00 - Early career and entering graduate school

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Partial Transcript: So did you have a sense of, at that point, how many hops

Segment Synopsis: Clawson discusses his awareness of hop farming and research around Corvallis while he studied at Oregon State, and how his studies in food science influenced that. He details the early work he had in the food industry following graduation along with his living situation during that time. He explains his decision to be a stay-at-home parent while his wife worked, and how he transitioned back into working when his children were old enough. Clawson then describes how he began discussing graduate school with friends and mentors at Oregon State, and how that lead to him pursuing a degree in rangeland management. He notes the differences between agribusiness and rangeland management, as well as how he stayed involved in sensory analysis research.

Keywords: Agricultural science; Hop research; New parents; Norpac Foods, Inc.; Sensory analysis; Stay-at-home parents

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Corvallis (Or.); Food science; Graduate programs; Hops; Low-income housing; Parenting; Rangeland management; Twins; Water quality

01:13:19 - OSU beer research in the 1990s / Challenges of parenting

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Partial Transcript: So at that point, the beer research was really sensory-based?

Segment Synopsis: Clawson discusses the different research projects he was involved in during graduate school, and how these projects contributed to the brewing industry. He describes the reputation of craft brewing during that time, along with his own interest in craft beer. He notes the craft breweries that were present when he was in undergraduate and graduate school. Clawson then details how he ended up working as a faculty research assistant after finishing graduate school, and how he prioritized balancing his work with his parenting responsibilities. He discusses the challenges of working full-time and doing research while being a parent, along with the challenges of being poor. He recounts his memories of the breweries that were established in the 1990s, along with his growing exploration of the industry as a consumer and student.

Keywords: Brewing--books; Craft beer; Craft breweries; Craft brewing; Faculty research assistants; Graduate research; Hops--Chemistry; Sensory analysis

Subjects: BUDGETING; Beer and brewing; Budgets; Dallas (Or.); Hops; Mechanics; Oregon State University; Parenting; Quality control; Twins

01:22:58 - Impact of brewing research on the beer industry

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Partial Transcript: So what about the, was there an understanding of the importance

Segment Synopsis: Clawson re-emphasizes the intention of brewing research for assisting large producers as opposed to craft brewers. He details the different projects being done at Oregon State during the 1980s and 1990s, and how they mainly focused on hop chemistry. He explains why not much attention was given to craft brewers during the 1980s, and how that started to shift slowly during the 1990s. Clawson reflects on his own experiences with craft beer culture in Corvallis, and perception on motivation for research projects. He notes the brands of beer that were used in research in the early 1990s, and how the craft brewing market grew and crashed early on.

Keywords: Aged hops; Craft beer; Craft brewing; Fermentation science; Hop varieties; Hops--Chemistry; Market crashes; Noble hops; Research funding; Sensory analysis

Subjects: Beer; Beer and brewing; Breweries; Funding; Hops; Markets; Oxidation; Sensory assessment

01:27:56 - Establishing the Nor'Wester fermentation science fund

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Partial Transcript: What were those early conversations with Jim Bernau like

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes the goals of the Nor’Wester Endowment fund, and the effort needed to get the fund established. He discusses the amount of support behind the development of the fermentation science program, and the rationale behind its focus. He details the communication that went on with UC Davis faculty to properly set up the program, and his interests in working with the pilot brewery. He notes how Dr. McDaniel had been planning to buy a pilot brewery for the university prior to the establishment of the endowment.

Keywords: Fermentation science; Nor'Wester Brewing Company; Pilot breweries; Sensory analysis; Stakeholders

Subjects: Agricultural products; Beer and brewing; Breweries; Brewers; Endowments; Food science; Hops; Oregon State University; UC Davis; Winemakers

01:33:51 - Transition to running the OSU pilot brewery

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Partial Transcript: So did that become your job at that point? Like you, is that

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes his transition into running the Oregon State pilot brewery from running sensory labs, along with the early management the department had. He discusses the education he received at the Institute of Brewing in the United Kingdom in order to prepare for his new position, and the challenges of being away from home. He details the demographics of his cohort at the Institute of Brewing, and provides his recommendations for students planning to attend the institute. Clawson notes his role as a non-academic faculty member, and the importance of the teamwork he has with Dr. Shellhammer.

Keywords: Faculty research assistants; Fermentation science; Pilot breweries; Research breweries; Sensory analysis

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Breweries; Family life; Institute of Brewing & Distilling; International travel; Oregon State University; Teamwork; United Kingdom

01:38:32 - Early student cohorts in fermentation science

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Partial Transcript: So what about the early students who were in the program?

Segment Synopsis: Clawson notes the programs that fermentation science students transferred from, along with where many of them have ended up. He discusses the male domination of the fermentation science program, and how they encourage women to join as more of them join the brewing industry. He details the student interest in wine, and the overlap between oenology and brewing in the program. Clawson then describes the improved involvement with craft brewing that Oregon State had once the program was established, and the efforts that were made to get more hop farmers selling to craft brewers. He explains how craft brewers understood more of the art than the science early on.

Keywords: Academic program growth; Brewing science; Fermentation science; Male domination in brewing; Market crashes; Market saturation; Oregon Hop Commission; University growth

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Brewing industry; Diversity; Food science; Male domination (Social structure); Oenology; Oregon State University; Wine industry

01:43:55 - Arrival of Dr. Shellhammer to the fermentation science program

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Partial Transcript: So what about, speaking of vogue coming back. So what about

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes the program decision to bring in a head professor from outside the university, and the challenge of trying to build the program with a non-fermentation science specialist in leadership. He explains where Dr. Shellhammer was arriving from, and the challenges he had in developing his own research projects. Clawson then describes the work he was doing at that time to construct laboratory spaces, and how he transferred that responsibility over to the correct facility services. He discusses the definition of responsibilities that he and Dr. Shellhammer had to discuss in the beginning to develop their partnership. He notes how valuable Dr. Shellhammer has been to the program, and the timing of his transition into the pilot brewery.

Keywords: Academic programs--growth; Facility maintenance; Fermentation science; Pilot breweries; Professional faculty; Sensory analysis; Tenure-track faculty

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Endowments; Facility management; Faculty; Food engineers; Food science; Ohio State University; Oregon State University; Research projects

01:48:49 - Clawson's roles in the pilot plant / Work partnership with Dr. Shellhammer

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Partial Transcript: So at that point, you are- at that point in your career, you

Segment Synopsis: Clawson details the various jobs he had in managing the pilot plant when he first started, including teaching and working with food science clients. He compares Dr. Shellhammer’s hands-on approach to his role with the hands-off one of the his predecessor. He notes the importance of the pilot brewery in Dr. Shellhammer’s projects and planning, as well as having academic control. He describes his role in supporting the program as opposed to working towards tenure.

Keywords: Fermentation science; Full-time jobs; Pilot breweries; Research funding; Sensory analysis; Work relationships

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Breweries; Professional relationships; Professional responsibility; Professors; Teaching

01:52:03 - Major changes in the craft beverage industry

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Partial Transcript: So how have things changed? If we look at the last ten years

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes the increased access to craft beer in today’s markets, and the actions of macro producers to take back that market. He notes the different trends he’s observed in consumer preferences, and how that creates challenges with flexibility for craft brewers. He explains how the challenges of encouraging quality control and scientific think in brewing influence the fermentation science program. Clawson then discusses his interactions with various craft and macrobrewers, and the importance of unity throughout the industry. He also analyzes the market growth for cider and spirits in Oregon.

Keywords: Beer exploration; Brewing--education; Business competition; Craft beer; Craft breweries; Craft cider; Fermentation science; Flexibility; Localized industries; Macrobreweries

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Brand loyalty; Brewing industry; Brewing--Quality control; Cider; Microbreweries; Monopoly; Oregon State University; Quality assurance; Quality control; Spirits, Alcoholic; Sustainability; Wine

02:01:07 - Clawson's plans for the future

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Partial Transcript: So programmatically, thinking about where you see things going

Segment Synopsis: Clawson discusses the current projects in the pilot plant, and the time frame for installing the new automated system. He explains the importance of giving students experiences with both automated and manual brewing systems. He describes his current workload, and how his involvement with the program determines when he decides to retire.

Keywords: Brewing--production; Fermentation science; Pilot breweries; Research breweries

Subjects: Automation; Beer and brewing; Breweries; Brewing--Automation; Oregon State University; Oregon State University. Food Science and Technology; Retirement; Teaching

02:05:24 - Growth of the fermentation science program

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Partial Transcript: So what is, the continuing education PACE program has

Segment Synopsis: Clawson discusses the continued education courses that the program offers, and how these courses influence the curricula they teach for university students. He describes the planning currently going on in the program to bring new coursework to students, especially in gaining hands-on experiences with brewing. He details the evaluations the faculty have made of the current teaching system, and how that thinking will lead to more program growth.

Keywords: Academic coursework; Fermentation science; Hands-on learning; Professional and Continuing Education; Teaching styles

Subjects: Academic advisors; Continuing education; Curricula (Courses of study); Oregon State University; Teaching; Teaching--Evaluation

02:09:36 - Impact on beer history / Concluding thoughts

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Partial Transcript: What did we not talk about that you thought that I would ask?

Segment Synopsis: Clawson describes how the brewing industry has changed since he first got involved, and how he’s changed as a consumer of craft beer. He details his interests in specific beers from Canada and different time periods. Clawson then discusses the impact he’s had on the brewing industry through his interactions with students, and how his job has shifted his interest away from homebrewing. He notes his other interests in food science, and the overwhelming amount of different alcoholic beverages.

Keywords: Brewing science; Charcuterie; Craft beer; Craft brewing; Fermentation science; Home brewing; Industry changes; Macrobreweries; Pilot breweries

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Beer--Canada; Beer--Flavor and odor; Brewers; Brewing industry; Cider; Hops; Mead; Microbreweries; Oregon State University; Professional relationships; Retirement; Teaching