Colorado students learning how to make beer a business

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(Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Taves/Metro State University)
<p>An employee of New Belgium Brewing pours beer for a tasting at Metro State University.</p>

Colleges are seeing an opportunity in Colorado’s burgeoning beer industry. They're offering studies in beer.

At Metropolitan State University of Denver, you can take a class called "Beers of the World," part of the school’s growing brewery program. Colorado State University just finished the first year of its new degree program in fermentation science and technology.

In the fall, Regis University in Denver will be accepting students for a new certificate in craft brewing. And, at the Colorado School of Mines, there are beer classes in the biochemical engineering program.

The trend isn't limited to Colorado.

Karl Ockert, technical director of the Master Brewers Association of America, says about 35 universities are starting degree programs in beer making.

"A lot of these breweries are looking for people as they expand in size," Ockert says. "Like Oskar Blues, for instance. New Belgium has grown. Odells. A lot of these breweries -- they started out making beer on a kitchen stove and they woke up one day and they’re making 100,000 barrels a year and they need more expertise."

At Metro State the focus isn't just on making beer, but also how to market and sell it. Ockert says that makes the school's focus unique.

Michael Wray teaches the Beer and Spirits class at Metro State and talked with "Colorado Matters" host Ryan Warner about the trend.

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