Whitney Sharp
Something exciting is brewing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Langley campus. Construction is well underway on the school’s new, state-of-the-art brewing instructional laboratory to accommodate the recently launched diploma in brewing and brewery operations.
The two-year, full-time program was created with input from local craft brewers and the BC Craft Brewers Guild to meet increasing demands from the industry. British Columbia, the birthplace of craft beer in Canada, has seen steady growth in recent years with close to 100 breweries throughout the province, according to the guild.
Graduates from the innovative KPU program are well prepared to enter the industry taking on a range of roles in everything from brewery operations to licensee and agency sales; brew pub operations and retail sales—even hop farming! The program—unique to the province and one of only a few comparable programs in the country—includes a paid work experience term giving students hands-on experience in local craft breweries, in addition to courses in business planning, product sales and promotions, and professional communications.
While only consisting of four primary ingredients (barley, hops, yeast, and water) beer is a highly sensitive beverage; the brewing process requires precise timing, temperature control, and specific ingredients in order to achieve the desired result. It’s as much science as it is art. Future brewers complete courses in brewing microbiology and brewing chemistry, in addition to hands-on experience in the lab and learning how to operate and maintain relevant equipment used in the brewing process. Topics covered in the program also
include the history of beer and brewing, the impact of alcohol on the human body, and the responsible use of alcohol.
“We are so excited,” says KPU’s dean of science and horticulture, Elizabeth Worobec. “We’ll be giving students a solid background in the science behind brewing craft beer. Graduates will bring this much-needed expertise to the province’s brewing industry.”
During the course of their studies, brewing students learn to evaluate different brews and ingredients in order to better their knowledge of the product and improve their palate, while learning to use specific calculations to manage materials and formulate beer recipes.
The program’s final project combines all the skills that students have learned as the up-and-coming beer connoisseurs formulate and develop their own signature brew, complete with packaging and labels.
For more information about the brewing diploma at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, please visit kpu.ca/brew or email brew@kpu.ca