CWU News

CWU to Offer State's Only Four-Year Craft Brewing Degree

Enrollment is now open for a new four-year craft brewing degree at Central Washington University. The interdisciplinary program, approved by the CWU Board of Trustees on April 20, is the first of its kind in Washington state.

The craft brewing bachelor of science degree prepares graduates for careers in brewing production, quality assurance, brewery management, beer merchandising, distribution, brewing technology, packaging, safety, sanitation, sensory evaluation, and entrepreneurship.

“In the craft brewing program, students will get hands-on training in the use of ingredients and processes to make flavorful, distinctive beers characteristic of the northwest and the growing market of northwest beers and craft styles worldwide," said Professor Steve Wagner, program director.

There’s a lot of science behind beer. The program is unique because it teaches the complex process of brewing, which requires in-depth knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, physics, and engineering, as well as business and leadership. A particular emphasis is placed on science-based laboratory skills and other hands-on learning opportunities. Courses also incorporate pilot brewing, field trips, industry speakers, and research activities.

The craft brewing industry had an economic impact of more than $1 billion in Washington state in 2012, according to Brewers Association statistics.

“Industry needs aren’t being met by any program in Washington, which has the second largest number of breweries in the nation,” Wagner said.

In a 2014 industry survey by the Master Brewers Association of America, a majority of respondents said they’re looking for employees with laboratory, engineering, and business training. They also value management and leadership skills and employees who have knowledge of the brewing process.

The new degree’s core requirements include classes in chemistry, business, safety and health, and physics. Advanced classes cover brewing microbiology, brewing processes and technology, brewing biochemistry, sensory analysis, and merchandising and management.

Enrollment is now open for fall quarter. Apply online at

April 23, 2015