Jun 1, 2015

FVCC Launches Montana's First Brewing Science and Brewery Operations Program

This fall, Flathead Valley Community College will introduce Montana’s first brewing science and brewery operations program to prepare individuals for entry-level careers in the rapidly-growing craft beer industry. With only a handful of these programs taught in the nation, FVCC’s program was developed with the input of many local craft brewing businesses to meet the workforce needs at the local and national levels.


According to the Craft Brewers Association, the craft beer industry is growing at a rate of 17 percent annually, currently representing 20 percent of the market share in national beer sales. It is estimated that a new craft brewery opens every 16 hours in the United States and over 115,000 craft brewing industry jobs were created across the nation in 2014. Montana ranks among the top five states in craft breweries per capita.


Students who successfully complete the two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program will have gained practical experience in brewing through coursework and internships at Montana breweries. Graduates will have the skills to demonstrate the fundamental techniques of brewing beer and the understanding of the microbiology and biochemistry concepts involved in beer fermentation. The program also will focus on the production, selection and analysis of brewing materials, including malt and hops; evaluation of beer quality; classification of beer style and characteristics; brewery operations safety; packaging and handling technologies; practical aspects of the brewing process; and business principles, including compliance and licensing.


For more information, contact FVCC Agriculture Program Director Heather Estrada, Ph.D., at (406) 756-4182 or or visit