On campus, foamy beverages tend to aid recreation, not education.
That will soon change at Metropolitan State University. This weekend, Tivoli Brewing Company
will return to its historic home on the Auraria campus near downtown Denver, making it the first full-production brewery on a college campus.
MSU plans to ramp up its beer industry operations program
to coincide with Tivoli's rebirth. Students will learn the in and outs of the beer business inside the $7 million commercial brewery.
Administrators hope both students and Colorado's $10.3 billion beer industry will benefit from the hands-on learning.
"A private company has built a multi-million dollar brewery on our campus," says Michael Wray, a professor in the program. "It's a public business, but then they've integrated classroom space and designed their operations so that we can have our classes integrated into their space."
But will the students take beer class seriously? That's something Wray says the program addresses head on. Only a prerequisite in responsible alcohol service unlocks flashier options in the course catalog like Beers of the World.
The program also treats science as a base to the art and craft of making beer. Students must complete 23 hours in biochemistry courses before moving on to brewing classes.
"Beverage is a fun, celebratory part of our lives, but is something that has to be managed responsibly, not only in service but in sale and distribution," says Wray.
That's why he's glad MSU tends to serve a more mature student than other campuses. The average student is over 25 years old and many work in addition to taking classes. The urban location means Tivoli can draw more than just students to its happy hours.
"It seems to be the right kind of fit," he says.
Tivoli shut down its brewery in 1969 before being reborn in 2012. The old Tivoli building--now a student union for two other campuses along with MSU--will host the new operation.
The Tivoli Brewing Company has already hired MSU Denver students as certified beer servers and brewers' assistants.