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Central Wash. University Introduces State's 1st Four-Year Brewing Degree

May 6, 2015 - 7:40 AM
- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog -

In a state boasting more than 200 breweries, you'd think this would have happened sooner, but Central Washington University just announced the establishment of a craft brewing program and now offers a four-year brewing degree. Enrollment is now open. Successful students will earn a Craft Brewing Bachelor of Science. The interdisciplinary program, approved by the CWU Board of Trustees on April 20, is the first of its kind in Washington state.

The degree prepares graduates for careers in brewing production, quality assurance, brewery management, beer merchandising, distribution, brewing technology, packaging, safety, sanitation, sensory evaluation, and entrepreneurship.

“In the craft brewing program, students will get hands-on training in the use of ingredients and processes to make flavorful, distinctive beers characteristic of the northwest and the growing market of northwest beers and craft styles worldwide," said Professor Steve Wagner, program director.

A statement from the university explains the program, noting that there's a lot of science behind beer. The program intends to teach the complex process of brewing, by providing an in-depth knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, physics, and engineering, as well as business and leadership. Extra emphasis will be placed on science-based laboratory skills and other hands-on learning opportunities. Courses also incorporate pilot brewing, field trips, industry speakers, and research activities.

“Industry needs aren’t being met by any program in Washington, which has the second largest number of breweries in the nation,” Wagner said.

According to the University, a 2014 industry survey by the Master Brewers Association of America, revealed that breweries are looking for employees with laboratory, engineering, and business training. They also value management and leadership skills and employees who have knowledge of the brewing process.

The new degree’s core requirements include classes in chemistry, business, safety and health, and physics. Advanced classes cover brewing microbiology, brewing processes and technology, brewing biochemistry, sensory analysis, and merchandising and management.

Enrollment is now open for fall quarter. Apply online at www.cwu.edu.
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