Craft Brewing – Coming to a College Near You?

It's no secret that America's craft brew industry has hit all time highs. Craft beer is almost anywhere you look these days, from your local watering hole to beer fests that draw in crowds from around the nation. However, it might be somewhere that you didn't expect to find it – in your local education system. There is at least one college in Washington offering brewing courses – is there one in your area?

Central Washington University is making waves by offering a certificate program for would-be brewers, teaching them a ton of important things about the industry, as well as how to run a successful brewery, whether that's a microbrewery or a nano brewery.

This 16-credit course combines several important aspects of becoming a successful brewer. Students will learn things like the technology and science involved with brewing, from techniques for making the best beer to the science of ensuring sterility and safety. Students will also learn more about making sales and merchandising, as well. Of course, certificate holders can go on to hold any number of jobs in the industry, from quality control and tasting to account management for breweries to being a brewer themselves.

Central Washington University is not the only school to offer a course in brewing basics and microbrewery technology. Oregon State University also offers a similar course, as do a handful of other schools across the nation. Interestingly, most of these courses are found in states with a blossoming craft beer industry – Washington has one of the most vibrant craft brew industries in the country, and Oregon ranks highly, as well.

According to Central Washington University, their 16-credit certificate course is expected to become a full major for students, and will offer a degree, rather than a certificate. In addition, other education providers are expected to start following suit. Already, there are a number of vocational schools in the US that offer at least the basics in brewing for students. More advanced courses are on their way, but it will take a little time for them to start appearing on a widespread basis.

This drastic alteration in traditional academic offerings from colleges in the US highlights just how important and fast growing the craft beer scene has become. While you might not have such a course available to you right now in your local area, time will certainly bring you at least a few options.

Posted on March 15, 2011 and filed under Brewing, The Business of Beer.