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A Brewing Passion: Junghoon Yoon
This story is part of a series highlighting 50 intriguing alumni as part of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Craft beer expert Junghoon Yoon was undeterred when his home country of South Korea denied his request to establish a brewery — a privilege reserved only for the larger beer companies.
But when Yoon turned his focus to East China, he encountered new obstacles.
“The Chinese government thought anything at the craft level was shady business,” Yoon said. “I had to show them American and European protocols to prove craft brewing is part of a legitimate industry.”
After three years of planning, Yoon was granted permission in 2010 to open a craft production brewery in Yantai, China. He imported his products into South Korea until early 2017 when he was finally given the OK to launch a second brewery in Seoul, the Platinum Craft Brewing Company.
Yoon’s passion for beer making was evident during his early years as an international student in the United States. Introduced to homebrewing through a friend, Yoon studied at UC Davis Extension’s Master Brewers program and then earned a hospitality degree at UNLV.
“My education as a brewmaster allows me to understand the science and recipe behind each beer,” Yoon said. “But my hospitality education allows me to understand how beer plays an important role in the industry.”
Sharing his craft with others is also important, says Yoon, who teaches a “beer sommelier” course to hopeful hospitality students at the Doemens Academy in Seoul.
“This is where my UNLV education comes into play because I understand what these students want to do,” he said. “The Harrah Hotel College has one of the top programs in the world, so I’m very proud to share my education with these students.”
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