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Education

Central Michigan University to offer up "beer-making" degree

Inside Mountain Town Brewing Co., one of the sponsors of CMU's program.
CMU
/
Inside Mountain Town Brewing Co., one of the sponsors of CMU's program.

CMU's College of Science and Technology announced this week that it's working to create a certificate program in fermentation science.

The college says the program would be "the first of its kind in Michigan to provide a hands-on education focused on craft beer."

Classes in biochemistry, chemistry and microbiology combined with a 200-hour internship at a production-scale brewing facility would be required.

More from CMU's press release:

“As of 2013, Michigan ranked fifth in the nation in number of breweries, behind only California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington,” Ian Davison, dean of the College of Science and Technology, said. “This growing industry contributes significantly to the state’s economy, supporting jobs in breweries as well as in farms producing barley and hops. In 2012, the Brewers Association calculated that Michigan craft brewing contributed 11,666 full-time equivalent jobs and had about a $1 billion economic impact.”

Here's how the Brewers Association breaks down Michigan's numbers:

An infographic on beer production in Michigan generated by the Brewers Association.
Credit Brewers Association
An infographic on beer production in Michigan generated by the Brewers Association.

CMU officials say they're meeting demand for more education in brewing science.

They say they would be the sixth school to offer such a program in the U.S. The Brewers Association lists five state-sponsored brewing education programs located in California, Oregon, and Washington.

The Associated Press' David Goodman reports that Michigan State University has had a distilling program for some time:

Michigan State University has operated an artisan distilling program for 15 years and last year started a beverage specialization program that also includes beer and wine-making.

Goodman says the explosion in interest in beer-making has led to some changes in agriculture in Michigan as well: 

Rob Sirrine of the Michigan State University Extension said more than 400 acres of hops, beer's key flavoring ingredient, are under cultivation in Michigan. Growers' main market is small-sale in-state brewers, he said.

CMU is expected to enroll its first fermentation science class in the fall of 2015.