Enrollment at Michigan’s Kalamazoo Valley Community College will likely spike next fall, as it recently announced a new academic program in sustainable brewing. Yes, you read that right: You can now major in brewing.
The “two-plus-two” program puts students through four years, the first two at KVCC, where they'll earn an associate’s degree before moving to Western Michigan University to complete the bachelor of science. The curriculum was created with input from some of the country’s top brewers, including Mike Babb, a former Coors brewer and teacher at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, and advisor Dave Sippel of Arcadia Brewing Company.
Water conservation, waste reduction and energy savings don’t exactly make for the sexiest beer-time conversation, but these issues are some of the most pressing that brewers face today. Making a single pint of beer consumes a staggering amount of energy and water (an average of 7 gallons of water needed for every gallon of beer, to be precise), and while many brewers are already taking measures to reduce their footprint (Sierra Nevada, Boulevard, Odell, and New Belgium, for example), there’s still a long way to go before we see industry-wide change.
That’s why this program is so foward-thinking. The move to create a formal educational system around sustainable brewing is a great leap forward for the future of the industry. More importantly, it’s even more amazing for the students who get to pursue this major. Almost every college student has joked about going to school and majoring in beer, and now a lucky few get to actually live the dream? We're kind of jealous.
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