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Students Tour Local Businesses Using Microbiology to Produce Products


Microbiology students at Surry Community College visited three local establishments to better understand how microorganisms are used in industry.

The students enjoyed touring Surry Cellars, the college’s winery, with David Bower, enology instructor, Mayberry Spirits with distillery owner Vann McCoy, and Thirsty Souls Brewery with owner Dr. Jan Kriska.

Vann McCoy demonstrates part of the fermentation process as students Tamara Gaines, Raven Coleman, Lexi Brown, and Sarai Garcia observe at Mayberry Spirits, a small-batch craft distillery in Mount Airy that produces unique single-malt sorghum whiskies made in a copper still.

“The students learned from first-hand descriptions and demonstrations, about the specific processes used in wine, liquor, and beer making,” explains Becky Critz, SCC Microbiology Instructor. “They were able to directly connect concepts discussed in class such as how yeast use the sugar in fruits, vegetables, and grains to produce alcohol.”

The students report learning a lot from the field trips.

“It was good to be able to physically see the process of fermentation from beginning to end,” saysTamara Gaines.

The visual learning aspect of the field trip made science come to life for the students.

Student Sarah Stone said, “I learn better if I can see it in front of me. So, watching and seeing them describe the process made things click in my mind that had been discussed in class.”

Brooke Collins, Daisy Pope, and Haley Casey gather around a vat of grapes at the Surry Community College winery, Surry Cellars.

Participating students included Sydney Heath and Lorena Osorio from Dobson; Daisy Pope from East Bend; Haley Casey, Brooke Collins, and Zeuz Narvaez from Elkin; Lexi Brown from Hamptonville; Sarah Stone from King; Raven Coleman from Lowgap; Kyle Casstevens, Tamara Gaines, and Chrystal Peele from Mount Airy; Elizabeth Jessup from Pilot Mountain; Madison Bowman from Pinnacle; Angela Hudson, Brook Hudson, and Harleigh Peele from Westfield; and Sarai Garcia from Winston-Salem.

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