Launched in 2015, the joint sustainable brewing program was developed at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University by the two schools working in close coordination with a panel of Michigan's top craft brewers and suppliers The program offers students the opportunity to earn a certificate or associate degree at KVCC, then transfer to a Bachelor's degree that marries industry art and science with WMU's national reputation in sustainability.
The goal of the sustainable brewing program is to educate students to be intimately familiar with the technical features of brewing, to have an appreciation for the rich landscape of an industry that has been part of civilization for thousands of years and to comprehend and address the environmental challenges faced by the industry in the 21st century.
The program has two tracks for students to choose from: brewing and operations.
Both tracks share the hands-on training at KVCC and focus in different ways at WMU. In the brewing track, required science and math courses complement a slate of brewing-focused courses in the Sustainable Brewing Certificate at KVCC, while additional courses in sustainability and other elective fields provide the breadth of knowledge sought in the industry. The focus of the operations track is on the business and customer service side of the thriving brewing industry.