Briana Contreras
JRNM 151 student

The brewing industry in the nation produces over $100 billion annually, according to brewersassociation.org. Ohio contains a total of 76 breweries (ranging from brewpubs, craft breweries, microbreweries, and regional craft breweries), profiting over $1.2 billion in 2013. In comparison, the state of Michigan contains 131 breweries and earned slightly over $1 billion in revenue last year.

Fermentation in the United States has taken on an increasingly popular status. There has developed a high demand for beer-making positions that require experience and education of the process.

With this in mind, Michigan’s growing brewing industry has lead to the creation of a course at Central Michigan University. CMU will be the first in the state to plan a Bachelors program in Fermentation Science by fall of 2015. The course is designed to introduce and educate students into the brewing industry, open more job opportunities for students, and boost the state’s industry. The program will include classroom and lab work in biochemistry and microbiology, as well as a 200-hour internship in a production scale facility.

Lorain County Community College student Lou Morales shared their enthusiasm for the development and implementation of fermentation programs at more colleges around the nation.

“I do think this is a good idea for students and our economy,” said Morales. “Our generation not only likes our beer, but can carry on the knowledge from these classes and give us more job opportunities. The program should be at more universities.”

In contrast, student Andrew Alvarez said, “This is a bad idea, I feel, because it may cause more of a chance for alcoholism, liver failure, and the death rate to go higher. Some students may not have that problem, but for the ones who can’t control it may. It seems too shallow and pedantic.”

Despite differing student outlooks on the new program at CMU, the potential of a similar curriculum at other colleges like LCCC has left faculty and staff in interest of the possibilities a curriculum of its kind could offer.

“Educating students in art and science is always a positive. This would teach them a lot about the industry, learn the technique, respect the product, and most importantly encourage safe practices,” said Roseanne Kuncel, a personal trainer in LCCC’s HPER building, “Why shouldn’t they capitalize on an industry they are part of? This will teach these students how to do it correctly! …Ohio should do the same. We could definitely use more industry to help create jobs and boost our own economy.”

LCCC’s Executive Chef Eric Petrus had some thoughts about the program and gave a positive input on the idea of having a course like this on campus, as well.

“This is an education program that teaches useful and beneficial things for students,” he said. “To possibly have a non-credit course here at the college, in the future, would be great for the industry as well as for the campus.”