Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - As the UM campus empties out for the summer, I had the opportunity to visit with Dave Kuntz, Director of Strategic Communications, who explained why many students are sticking around, specifically for a new scientific course on brewing beer.

“We have more than 10,000 students who come to us to study all sorts of stuff that folks are very aware of which includes pharmacy and business and education and many other things,” began Kuntz. “However, we also have a really robust and successful chemistry department that in recent years has launched a brewing science program that teaches chemistry through the lens of brewing beer.”

UM Offering Course in Brewing Beer with help from Local Breweries

Kuntz praised the local partnerships assisting with UM to give the students hands-on experience in the craft of brewing beer.

“Thanks to some local partnerships with the Draught Works Brewery as well as the Conflux Tap House, we've been able to make a semester-long course in the spring that provides students with classroom learning,” he said. “Then they get to zip across town and do the actual learning with the brewing process to understand how different chemicals react and how you can take all of the yeast and hops and water and everything that is required to make beer and make those chemical reactions to make the beer that folks drink on weekends like this.”

Kuntz said the effort promises to bring another boost to Missoula’s and Montana’s economy.

UM Understands that Brewing Beer is Big Business in Montana

“There's actually a real workforce component to make sure that the state has the technical experts that are coming out,” he said. “They can make quality products at the brewery. I know that this is appreciated by the breweries too, because just as the University of Montana trains the next generation of teachers, business leaders, and scientists, we also now have this program that's also a pipeline for brewers across the state to help fill some of these jobs and it helped partner with some of these entrepreneurs that continue to open up breweries in every county across the state.”

Kuntz said many students take a personal interest in learning the beer brewing process and the business aspect, as well.

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The Emphasis is on the Science of Brewing Beer

“This has provided a really interesting hook for students to enroll in some of our more science-based courses,” he said. “Because instead of learning all their chemistry courses just through the textbook and through the lab and through the lectures, classes like this also obviously add some interest to the coursework and allow our students to persevere and go a little bit further to in some of these more complex academic programs.”

Click here to find out more about the UM Brewing Science Program.

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