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On tap at KPU Langley: the science of brewing

Jane Fee (left), vice provost academic and KPU Langley principal, celebrates the brewing program’s announcement with dean Elizabeth Worobec, faculty of science and horticulture, at Surrey’s Big Ridge Brewing Co. - submitted photo
Jane Fee (left), vice provost academic and KPU Langley principal, celebrates the brewing program’s announcement with dean Elizabeth Worobec, faculty of science and horticulture, at Surrey’s Big Ridge Brewing Co.
— image credit: submitted photo

A new program will be on tap in Langley this fall when Kwantlen Polytechnic University launches the first brewing and brewery operations 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.,” said 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 BC 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,” said 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 to 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. Some of those jobs will be close to home.

“With a program like this there is a great opportunity for Langley to be in the spotlight of the brewing revolution in B.C.,” said Derrick Smith, the founder and president of Aldergrove’s Dead Frog Brewery.

“We have been employers in Langley for over 15 years, and a new influx of qualified personnel allows us to stay in this community.

“This program gives Langley credibility in the craft beer industry.”

For more information about the program, visit: www.kpu.ca/beer.

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