Paul Smith’s College to Offer Minor in Craft Beer Studies

A craft beer tap at a cafe. Getty Images/Flickr RF
Talk about a thirst for knowledge
A new course of study is available at Paul Smith’s College: craft beer studies and operations.
The rural upstate New York school will offer the brand-new minor starting this fall as a way for students to tap into careers in micro and craft brewing, the college announced. Coursework for the minor will include business courses in management, marketing and advertising, as well as classes specific to the business of beer.
“Although hands-on, practical brewing will be an aspect of the minor, the main intent is not to create beer brewers,” said Professor Joe Conto. “Rather, the goal is to prepare students for all the management, administrative and operations opportunities the craft-beer industry has created and supports.”
Minoring in craft beer is a new idea for Americans, but in Europe, a minor in craft beer studies would be just that—minor. In Europe, brewers can obtain Master’s and even PhD’s in brewing science, where coursework focuses on flavor chemistry and brewing chemistry. (Keith Villa, for example, who created Blue Moon, obtained a Ph.D. in brewing biochemistry in Brussels, Belgium.)
While Paul Smith’s College’s new craft beer minor might be comical to some, the college is one of the first to capitalize on the rise of craft beer in the U.S. In 2013, craft beer sales volume grew by 18%, and the industry provided 110,273 jobs, an increase of about 2,000 from the previous year, according to a report by the Brewers Association. Sales are expected to increase as craft beer increases in popularity with Americans—now, even Obama has a home brewing kit.

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