Loretto, Pa. — Saint Francis University, the oldest Catholic-Franciscan college in the United States, has launched a new academic program to help students prepare for careers in craft beer, food, and wine markets.
The new Fermentation Chemistry program was developed as part of the College’s plan to attract new students with practical and modern education options.
Fermentation industries have been growing in popularity. St. Francis University’s new program covers the science behind fermentation, business operations, and practical work experience through business partners. The science and lab skills portion of the program is intended to help students adjust to any food industry, not strictly fermentation.
Fermented products aren’t limited to beer and wine, though those markets have seen incredible growth: products using fermentation include bread, cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, and many others.
According to the Brewers Association, in 2020, the craft beer market was valued at $22.2 billion, while the total beer market was valued at $94.1 Billion market. By 2020, there were a total number of 8,764 craft breweries in the United States, with Pennsylvania alone having 444 craft breweries.
The wine industry has seen similar growth with over 11,000 wineries in the US in 2021, growing from 6,300 in 2009 according to data from statista.com. Pennsylvania is now home to over 300 wineries and more than 14,000 acres of vineyards. It is now the state ranking fifth in the nation in wine production.
The Fermentation Chemistry program was developed with help from the Levity Brewing Company. Saint Francis University’s Curry Innovation Center in Altoona is only two doors away from the Levity Brewhouse. The Innovation Center contains a lab with fermentation equipment that will be used for both community brewing classes and social events.
Levity will produce a special Saint Francis University 175th Anniversary Amber Ale, available for sale from July 28 through 31 during Alumni Weekend. Part of the proceeds will fund a scholarship for a female student majoring in Fermentation Chemistry.
The Saint Francis University Fermentation program is also partnered with Woody Lodge Winery. Woody Lodge is producing a Saint Francis University 175th Anniversary wine, which will also be available during Alumni Weekend. Proceeds from wine sales will fund a scholarship for a student majoring in Fermentation Chemistry.