Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College have partnered to offer a Bachelor of Science in sustainable brewing.
Why a brewing degree?
- Brewing has been part of human civilization for thousands of years and the industry is growing rapidly.
- Craft brewing is a $2 billion industry in Michigan alone.
- The industry needs an educated workforce that is broadly and intimately familiar with the technical, social and economic aspects of brewing.
- Brewing is an energy-intensive operation that also uses a significant amount of water.
- To grow sustainably, the industry must make decisions about energy use, efficiency, water use, waste minimization and local sourcing of materials.
What will students learn?
- They will develop a solid foundation in the biochemistry and microbiology involved in fermentation.
- They will gain first-hand experience going through the process of brewing, from “grain to glass.”
- They will understand the history and social forces that were the cause and effect of brewing in human civilization.
- They will form a sensitivity for the ethics of sustainability and obtain relevant skills, such as life-cycle analysis.
Description (96 hours)
The sustainable brewing science program is an interdisciplinary four-year curriculum that will help position students to enter the craft beer field in a variety of roles. The goal of this program is to educate students who are intimately familiar with the technical features of brewing, have an appreciation for the rich landscape of an industry that has been part of human civilization for thousands of years and can comprehend and address the environmental challenges faced by the industry in the 21st century. Required STEM courses for the general science track will complement a slate of brewing-focused courses, while additional courses in sustainability and other elective fields will provide the breadth of knowledge sought in the industry. The program is supported and advised by an external advisory board with members from the top breweries in the state.
- Understand the history and social forces that were cause and effect of brewing in human civilization.
- Gain first-hand experience going through the process of brewing, from "grain to glass."
- Develop a sensitivity for the ethic of sustainability that will inform decisions about energy demand, efficiency, water use, waste minimization and local sourcing of materials.
- Make sense of the myriad choices of products in the market.
- Develop a solid foundation in the science that describes the biochemistry and microbiology involved in fermentation and aging.