Call it 'fermentation science': University launches beer-making program

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DETROIT (AP) — Colleges and beer have a long shared history. A
university in Michigan is taking that partnership to a new level with
the creation of a program to train and certify experts in
"fermentation science."

Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant this week announced
plans to launch the program in fall 2015, aimed particularly at
supporting and boosting the state's fast-growing craft brewing
industry, now a $1 billion-plus annual business.

"As of 2013, Michigan ranked fifth in the nation in number of
breweries, behind only California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington,"
said Ian Davison, dean of the College of Science and Technology at the
Mount Pleasant school.

Central Michigan bills its undergraduate program as the first in the
state specifically aimed at providing a "hands-on education focused on
craft beer." Similar programs operate at the University of
California's Davis and San Diego campuses and at Oregon State and
Central Washington universities.

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.

The Central Michigan program will include classroom and lab work in
biochemistry, chemistry and microbiology, as well as a 200-hour
internship in a "production-scale facility."

The university, which is about 150 miles northwest of Detroit, said it
is collaborating with the Mountain Town Brewing Co. and Hunter's Ale
House in developing the program.

Program director Cordell DeMattei said it "will fill a need in the
state and across the region for students to learn the science and
technology underlying brewing ... and provides the training needed by
future leaders of the craft brewing industry."

Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in small-scale, local,
high-quality beer-making.

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.

Behind the growth in demand for high-end beer is a long-running
fascination with the brewing process, one of the oldest forms of human
food processing.

"There's a lot of romantic attachment to beer," said Scott Graham,
executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild. The Lansing-based
group represents the state's microbreweries, now numbering more than
160, and helped win passage this year of laws allowing them to expand.

In-state microbrewers currently have 5 percent of Michigan's beer
market, a share that could easily double or triple, Graham said.



Program details: 1v0aAXG

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