Jun 01, 2023  
Undergraduate Catalog 2022-23 
Undergraduate Catalog 2022-23

Sustainable Brewing: Operations Concentration (SBOJ)

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Sustainable Brewing is an interdisciplinary four-year program that will help position students to enter the craft beer field in a variety of roles. The goal of this program is to educate students who are intimately familiar with the technical features of brewing, have an appreciation for the rich landscape of an industry that has been part of human civilization for thousands of years, and can comprehend and address the environmental challenges faced by the industry in the 21st century. There are two possible “tracks” that students can choose in this major: Sustainable Brewing major (SBRJ) and Sustainable Brewing: Operations concentration (SBOJ).

Sustainable Brewing: Operations Concentration (SBOJ)

West Michigan has one of the highest per capita densities of craft breweries in the country and Kalamazoo is a destination for educational opportunities in this growing economic engine. In the last decade, the brewing industry has become more competitive, diversified, and multi-faceted. To create and maintain a diverse, broadly-trained workforce that can critically evaluate information to make informed decisions, the overarching goal of this program is to educate students to be problem solvers in the operation of brewing-related businesses. This operations program complements a slate of hands-on brewing courses by providing formal instruction in business, food service operation, and sustainability. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program and the large number of credit hours required, students in this program are not required to have a minor.


  • Understand the historical context of brewing in human civilization.
  • Gain first-hand experience going through the process of brewing, “grain to glass.”
  • Examine the place that food production and distribution occupy in human culture and the environmental impact of associated energy demand, water use, waste management, and local sourcing.
  • Learn fundamental business skills to manage and grow the beverage and food industry and respond to changing markets.
  • Develop critical thinking skills to evaluate how and why the brewing industry can become more sustainable.

Sustainable Brewing

Requirements for both Sustainable Brewing and Sustainable Brewing: Operations (41 hours)

Electives (12 hours)

Chosen from a preferred course list in consultation with and approval by the CAS advising office.


Appropriate substitutions for related coursework or experiences focused on sustainable brewing may be approved by the CAS advising office.


Given the interdisciplinary nature of this program, it is very important that students work regularly with program advisors. Students should work closely with a program advisor to identify appropriate electives. Students should consult the program website for current advising information and appointments. Transfer students should consult the relevant transfer guides and meet with a program advisor to discuss specific course equivalencies.

Academic Standards

Students in this program must earn a grade of “C” or better in all courses counted toward the major, including those transferred to WMU. A minimum of 30 hours counted towards the major must be completed at WMU.

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