Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College announced plans yesterday for a new program offering training in the craft beverage industry. Yep. Beer university.

The college will have 24 slots available in the program next year, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. The Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast (CBISE?) would be the only program of its kind in the region.

The college still awaits approval from the state.

From the Citizen-Times:

The big Oskar Blues brewery in Brevard plans to open on Dec. 12, and 2013 will see the start of Sierra Nevada’s East Coast brewery in Mills River, with New Belgium’s Asheville expansion coming in 2014.

Major jobs will come with these major expansions — an estimated 400 or so in total at breweries. Institute organizers aim to meet this demand and those at the expanding microbrewery level.

Mike Rangel, president of Asheville Brewing, said he plans to hire five or six more people in his operation and that he knows other microbreweries, like Green Man and French Broad Brewing, plan to hire more to support planned expansions.

Rangel recently hired two people from out of state, both with desirable industry experience.

“We are named Asheville Brewing Co.,” he said. “We would want to have as many people in our company from Asheville.”

The brand-new curriculum plan will feature a two-year associate of applied science degree in brewing, fermentation and distillation.

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The community college will also build a fermentation operation in 8,000 square-feet on its existing Enka campus and will begin clearing the space in January. (College president Hank) Dunn noted that down the road, he could see A-B Tech producing a signature beer that would be the version of University of Florida’s Gatorade and help raise revenue for the school.

Read the full Citizen-Times article here.

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