Kwantlen Polytechnic University/Submitted Jane Fee, from left, vice provost academic and KPU Langley principal, with Nick Bolton, Big Ridge Brewing Co.'s head brewer, and Elizabeth Worobec, dean of science and horticulture, celebrate the brewery program announcement with beakers of beer.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University is serving up exciting news for beer lovers.

The institute is launching a two-year diploma in brewing and brewery operations beginning in September 2014.

The first brewing program in B.C will provide students with hands-on experience using the Langley campus’s specially designed brew laboratory. The lab is currently in development, but it will allow the selected 35 students to brew batches from scratch.

“We found out from our advisory committee that there’s a big need for people who have training,” said Michelle Molnar, the dean’s assistant for the faculty of science and horticulture.

British Columbia has 72 breweries, second only to Ontario, according to a study commissioned by Beer Canada.

“A lot of (brewers) said, ‘people are interested in working for us but they don’t have any schooling and they don’t have any formal training,’ and that’s what we’re trying to provide.”

There will be an option to bridge the diploma into a science, trade or business degree. Also, after the first year of the program, students will fulfill a work placement requirement.

“We’re excited and we’ve had a really huge response already. And lots of people who are thinking about doing it now have the opportunity,” she said, “It’s for serious people who are very serious about this industry.”

Nicholas Bolton, head brewer with Surrey’s Big Ridge Brewing Co., said the program would be a good boost to Vancouver’s brewing industry as well as the students in the program.

“It would make a huge difference. I would much rather take someone with education background, so that I don’t have to train them from the very beginning and explain everything from the basic level,” he said

“Knowing that someone has that kind of knowledge before you come into my brewery would be a huge benefit for them.”

Some of the courses on tap include: brewing microbiology, brewing chemistry, calculations and recipe formulation and business ethics.

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