Sustainable Brewing

Craft beer accounts for nearly 8 percent of beer sales nationally, and sales are increasing exponentially. Craft brewing in Michigan has a $1 billion economic impact, making the state impact 10th in the country. West Michigan has developed a strong reputation for the craft, and as the site of the nation's first higher ed program in sustainable craft brewing, Kalamazoo is becoming an education destination for this rapidly growing employment and entrepreneurial phenomenon.

Launched in 2015 by Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, the program offers many options for completion, including a two-plus-two plan that allows you to earn an associate degree at KVCC, then move on to a Bachelor of Science degree that combines industry art and science with WMU's national reputation in sustainability.

The rigorous science curriculum was developed with input from an external advisory board that includes members from some of Michigan's top breweries. The program includes coursework in chemistry, biosciences, physics and environmental studies as well as sustainability, sales and marketing, and the relationship between food, beverages and culture throughout history.

Beyond the classroom

The KVCC-WMU sustainable brewing program stresses hands-on learning. As a student in this program, you will venture beyond the traditional classroom to gain an understanding of every facet of the industry.

You will learn about the brewing process in a teaching brewery outfitted with the comprehensive functionality of industry equipment and facilities that incorporate sustainable brewing practices.

You will also find ample internship and hands-on learning opportunities in West Michigan, which has one of the country's highest per-capita densities of craft breweries.

After you graduate

Among the places that would hire someone with a degree in sustainable brewing are:

  • Beverage distributors
  • Breweries
  • Brewpub restaurants
  • Food packaging companies
  • Government and nonprofit agencies related to food, beverage and sustainability
  • Hops farms
  • Malting houses

Where is this program offered?

  • Kalamazoo—joint program between KVCC and WMU

Other programs of interest