- Understand the historical and social forces that were cause and effect of brewing in human civilization.
- Gain first-hand experience going through the process of brewing, “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.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the biochemistry and microbiology involved in fermentation and aging.
About the program
Craft brewing has experienced exponential growth during the last two decades and in Michigan contributes around $2 billion and thousands of jobs to the economy. 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.
The joint sustainable brewing program was developed by Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College working in close coordination with a panel of Michigan's top craft brewers and suppliers. In this program, you will gain an understanding of the history and social forces that have shaped the practice of brewing, develop a strong ethic of sustainability and learn the necessary skills to contribute effectively to this dynamic industry.
The sustainable brewing program is a four-year interdisciplinary curriculum at Western's Main Campus, preparing students for roles in the brewing field. Students enrolled in the sustainable brewing certificate programs at Kalamazoo Valley Community College can transfer to WMU to complete their B.S. in sustainable brewing. Due to the rigorous interdisciplinary nature of the program and the large number of credit hours required, the program does not require a minor and offers hybrid or online courses.
Students can choose two possible "tracks" in this program:
Required Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses for the program 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.
To create and maintain a diverse, broadly-trained workforce that can critically evaluate information to make informed decisions, the overarching goal of this program is to educate students to be problem solvers in the operation of brewing-related businesses. This operations track complements a slate of hands-on brewing courses by providing formal instruction in business, food service operation and sustainability.
Ready to take the next step? Apply today!
If you still have questions, we want to help answer them! Contact a Sustainable Brewing Advisor below about general program details and career information, or schedule an advising appointment for specifics about program requirements, course transfers and scheduling.