Shannon Morse and Saiprasad Sreekumar Ajitha sample beer brewed by their fellow students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

At the recommendation of the Board of Regents, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is no longer allowing students in a new course to brew beer on school grounds.

Mines officials said the course will continue to be offered and that the school is looking to move beer-making activities off-campus, possibly to local breweries.

"It is our preference that any production take place off campus under the umbrella of somebody else's license," Nathan Lukkes, the board's general counsel, said Tuesday.

The decision comes a little more than a week after the Rapid City Journal published a front-page story about the class. About 50 students signed up for Brewing Science and Engineering, and later brewed beer of their own in a lab setting. It consists of a three-credit course and a one-credit lab.

"This is a change in location, the class and all the robust lab work and scientific study that go with this class remain in place today and will for the future," school spokesman Charles Michael Ray said Wednesday.

Mines officials deferred to the board for further comment.

The class, Lukkes said, was thought to be protected by an exception to state alcohol regulations that allows individuals to produce malt beverages for personal use without a license. 

In the board's review a proposal for a similar course from a different, unidentified school, Board Vice President Jay Perry wrote in an email Wednesday, "a more clear understanding of applicable state statues emerged and resulted in a new approach to how these courses are taught on campus."

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Perry also said the original proposal for the course at Mines mentioned the brewing lab, that only students ages 21 and older could enroll in the class, and that no alcohol would be consumed as part of the course.

State regulations do dictate that alcohol produced for personal use may not be manufactured in a public place or place of business.

A bill allowing post-secondary schools to produce and store alcohol without a license was introduced in the South Dakota House of Representatives this year but was withdrawn by its primary sponsor, Rep. Tim Reed. Reed, R-Brookings, said in a phone call Wednesday that South Dakota State University currently offers a similar course and would prefer to brew on campus.

He added that SDSU officials told him that the growing popularity of microbreweries has sparked their interest in alcohol production research.

Reed explained that he withdrew the bill partly because of concerns raised by executive branch officials. 

“Any time that you start having alcohol on campus and sampling it," he said, "that will cause some concern.”

In prioritizing other legislation, Reed said a conversation with Gov. Kristi Noem's administration regarding the bill was put on the back burner and the bill was later withdrawn. It could be re-introduced next session, he said, after those talks occur.

Students who passed the class will still receive credit.

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