A university’s beer-making program just got a big refill from one of the nation’s most popular craft brewers. New Belgium Brewing Co., which makes the popular Fat Tire beer, and its CEO Kim Jordan, will each give $500,000 for a $1 million donation to Colorado State University’s fermentation sciences department in Fort Collins. The program trains undergraduates to brew beer.
“Craft brewing has afforded opportunity to more than 100,000 people working in our industry, and it’s important to support the next generation of brewers who will take us into the future,” Jordan said in an announcement released on Monday.
The CSU program is only two years old, but is receiving broad support from both large and small brewing companies. Anheuser-Busch, which has a brewery in Fort Collins where it manufactures Budweiser as a subsidiary of the multinational Belgian-based conglomerate Anheuser-Bush Inbev, gave $250,000 to the school last year. A local brewery called Odell Brewing also donated $100,000 in June. When the curriculum launched in 2013, only two other U.S. universities offered undergraduate students the chance to pursue a major in fermentation science, as Denver magazine reports.
“This program is intended to be a resource for the entire brewing industry, and the fact that we have gifts from numerous sources shows that we are engaging industry and working to create a program that is relevant,” Jeffrey Callaway, director of industry outreach for CSU, said in a statement.
Seventy-six CSU students are currently majoring in fermentation science, up from just 17 who registered for the new major in the first semester after its launch. These students learn about beer, but they also learn about fermentation in cheese, bread and wine. The new funds will support a renovation of the university’s main brewing and teaching laboratory, which will be renamed in honor of New Belgium.
“The success of this program is a direct reflection of the strong commitment it has received from industry partners, and New Belgium provides our students with a wonderful example of a flourishing business where sustainability, innovation and a spirit of community are pillars of the operation,” Tony Frank, president of Colorado State University, said in a statement.
New Belgium is the third-largest craft brewery in the country, according to the Brewers Association, and the eighth-largest brewery. The company's $500,000 donation will be distributed over the next five years through the company's philanthropy program, which aims to award $1 million in grants this year. Beer manufactured by the company is currently sold in 36 states.