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Colorado State University Offers Major In Making Beer

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- Colorado State University joins several colleges across the country offering an academic major in beer-making.

Annual sales of craft beers are estimated at $200 million and craft beers employ people in small breweries throughout the world. And the little breweries are a vast source of revenue in addition to creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, CBS News reports.

"It is fun. And it's a lot of work as well," said Jeff Callaway, who left a career in biotech to teach the craft of beer-making at CSU.

PHOTO GALLERY: CSU Offers New Major In Craft Brewing

Callaway said the process of making beer is complicated, "Absolutely. Before the students even get to think about brewing beer they have to learn biochemistry, microbiology, physics, organic chemistry…there's a lot you have to do to work your way into the lab."

Craft Brewing Major Now Offered At Colorado State University
(credit: CBS)

Kate Douglas and Andy Mersch told CBS News they were part of this year's first-ever graduating class. Mersch left a culinary career to get into the beer making industry.

"I like beer-- I like studying beer because it's ubiquitous in society. It's engaging, it's exciting. It's kind of like cooking, but it's lot more in-depth," Mersch said.

The market for jobs in the beer industry is massive, with $19.6 billion composing the craft beer industry, and the total beer market's worth at $101 billion, according to 2014 Brewers Association estimates. Last year, craft brewery sales grew 22 percent.

Craft Brewing Major Now Offered At Colorado State University
(credit: CBS)

"At this point, the craft brewing industry employs about 115,000 people," Jordan said. "To give you some perspective, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors together employ about 24,000 people."

"America is the best place in the world to drink beer right now. This is where the innovation is happening in beer," Jordan said.

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