CWU Offers New Program in Craft Brewing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU Offers New Program in Craft Brewing

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 ELLENSBURG, WA.- Ever wonder how breweries create their one of a kind beers? Well students at Central Washington University will be getting the chance to learn first hand.

A degree in craft brewing is what they're calling it, offering a four year degree to students looking to brew and market their own beer and it's the first degree of it's kind in the state.

They already offer a certificate program that allows students to take several classes on brewing, but professors at the university say this will open new doors for students and several have already expressed interest in the program.

“They're really interested in brewing, either working as brewers or starting their own company, so they've been taking other majors and a few have already come to me and told me they'll be switching to the craft brewing major,” CWU Professor Steve Wagner told us.

We caught up with one CWU grad who created his own major, focusing on brewing and biology, but he's excited to see the school is creating something like that for future students.

“I think with the four year degree that's really going to help students prepare to jump in to brewing or even opening their own company,” Elliott Schmitz said.

Elliot now works locally, at Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg, where he was recently promoted to the nightshift brewer. He attributes his success to the program, traveling all the way from New Mexico to learn the art of brewing.

“I came here specifically for the brewing program, you know very few schools offer brewing degrees, I'm excited to see more of that craft beer movement happening here in Central Washington,” Schmitz said.

Professors told us the courses won't be easy, students will focus heavily on the science behind brewing, needing chemistry and microbiology.

They'll also focus on the business side of building a brewing company from the ground up. Classes begin this fall, but they're accepting applications early they're expecting to get student applications from all over the country.