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College of Chemistry: Innovations in Brewing


March 24, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Join us on Wednesday, March 24th at 11 a.m. PST for our upcoming Ecosystem panel “Innovations in Brewing.” College of Chemistry R&D Engineer Esayas Kelkile will guide us through the ins and outs of the brewing experience, chatting with Berkeley alumni at Berkeley Yeast, Impossible Foods, and Anheuser-Busch. Don’t miss the chance to ask your questions during this live panel discussion and hear from these innovators about where the industry is going.

Meet our Panelists: 

Colin Cerretani has a BS (Cornell ’07) and PhD (UC Berkeley ’13) in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. In his doctoral work, he applied heat and mass transfer and fluid mechanics to describe tear-film dynamics related to dry-eye disease. After graduate school, Colin spent three years teaching the senior lab class in the Berkeley CBE Department where he worked with Esayas Kelkile to introduce a brewing science unit into the lab. In 2017, he joined Alaskan Brewing Co. As a research engineer, he performed a techno-economic analysis of their patented Beer Powered Beer process, which converts brewers spent grain to energy in a biomass boiler system. He also served as a process engineer and managed the Engineering and QA Departments before returning to the Bay Area in 2020 to join Impossible Foods. He currently works as a senior scientist in the Product Innovation Department developing new products.

Esayas Kelkile is a R&D Engineer for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1996 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. His responsibilities as an R&D engineer include working directly with capital projects by providing leadership, engineering designs, and acting as a project manager during major and minor projects within the College of Chemistry, specifically for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Esayas also manages the undergraduate teaching laboratory, is responsible for the operation of experimental equipment, and provides guidance and instructions to GSIs in the safe operation of equipment. He is a beer enthusiast and has been working with students in the art of making beer the past six years.

Rachel Li came to the brewing industry while at graduate school at UC Berkeley. Working in Professor Jay Keasling’s laboratory, she developed brewer’s yeast strains that produce hoppy flavors and aromas during fermentation. In 2017, Rachel co-founded Berkeley Yeast to engineer new yeasts for better and more sustainable fermented beverages.

Rahul Batra is a Senior Manager of Innovation at Anheuser-Busch. He currently oversees Beyond Beer Innovation, focusing on the development of new-to-world brands in seltzer, flavored malt beverages, wine and spirits, and non-alc. After completing a year-long rotational program at AB post-graduation, he spent the following two years at the corporate headquarters in St. Louis where he worked in Revenue Management and Sales for the Wholesaler Operations Division. He has spent the last two years on the Innovation Team in New York City, where he works cross-functionally to build and scale new-to-world brands from concept to prototype to product on shelf. In his free time, Rahul enjoys rapping, juggling, and spending time outdoors.