New HOPS courses will be on tap this fall at Kwantlen Polytechnic University as KPU launches the first science of brewing program in British Columbia.
The two-year diploma is one of a few dozen in the world that gives students a full-bodied hands-on education in the science and business of brewing.
“We are so excited to be offering the first brewing diploma program in B.C.,” says Elizabeth Worobec, dean of the faculty of science and horticulture at KPU. “Along with practical hands-on training, we’ll be giving students a solid background in the science behind brewing craft beer, including the chemistry and microbiology involved in the process. It’s this much-needed expertise that graduates will bring to the province’s brewing industry.”
With only two comparable programs in the country, the university’s brewing and brewery operations diploma will set out to meet the craft beer industry’s demand for qualified and technically experienced employees. Starting in September, 35 students will begin learning to brew from scratch at KPU Langley’s specially designed brew laboratory.
The program’s interdisciplinary course load will also train students in the psychology of sensory evaluation, finishing and packaging, business ethics and communication strategies. Students will get additional practical experience at local breweries during a summer work experience placement, and learn from experts with the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild and the Master Brewers Association of Canada in guest lectures. Options to bridge the diploma in brewing into a degree in business, science or trades and technology are also on the table.
“KPU is committed to being an active partner in our communities’ economic development initiatives and expanding the distinctiveness and scope of our program offerings to realize our polytechnic university mandate. The brewing and brewery operations program satisfies both objectives,” says KPU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “This program demonstrates our ability to work with industry to quickly respond to the need to develop a skilled workforce for a growing sector.”
The program was partly created in response to the demand of B.C.’s craft brewing industry for qualified graduates. With the provincial and national micro-brewing industry growing at a rate of 20-30 per cent, KPU’s brewing and brewery operations alumni will be met with new job opportunities in beer making, brewery and brewpub operations, retail and marketing.
“KPU’s brewing program is going to be a great boost to the prestige and legitimacy of B.C.’s brewing industry,” says Nick Bolton, head brewer with Surrey’s Big Ridge Brewing Co. “Courses like this are a great way to ensure that the people entering the field have all the necessary knowledge to hit the ground running, and that the products they produce are of the highest possible quality. I think that with the amount of breweries starting up across the province, combined with the training provided by this course, we are going to find that B.C. could quickly start becoming Canada’s brewing capital.”
“Craft brewing in British Columbia continues to experience unprecedented growth, creating new jobs in communities all over the province,” adds Ken Beattie, executive director of B.C.’s Craft Brewers Guild. “Our members require skilled individuals with a passion for, understanding of and training in the business of brewing beer. KPU’s program ensures that our independently owned businesses will have direct access to a skilled and passionate work force.”
Beer graduate image via Shutterstock