Good news for craft beer fans who want to know everything about their beloved brews: Paul Smith’s College in Upstate New York is now offering a minor in craft beer studies.

This new program is available to any full-time students who are enrolled for the Fall 2014 semester, and actual classes in the minor will start in Spring 2015.

Before you start thinking PSC is some giant party school, program head Professor Joe Conto offers this description on Paul Smith’s website:

“Although hands-on, practical brewing will be an aspect of the minor, the main intent is not to create beer brewers. Rather, the goal is to prepare students for all the management, administrative and operations opportunities the craft-beer industry has created and supports.” 

This is the first such program of its kind in the U.S. Several beer certification programs exist, including Central Washington University’s Craft Beer Trade Certificate, San Diego State University’s Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer, and the UC San Diego Extension Brewing Certificate. Additionally, the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College has just started to offer an A.A.S. in Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation.

While interested parties have been able to study at the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy in Chicago since the 1890s, Paul Smith’s new program is yet another indication that the rise of craft beer is far from over.

Professor Conto is also the director of the Hospitality, Resort, and Tourism Management Program at the college. Little by little, he noticed that craft beer discussion was taking up a lot of classroom time. He told The Atlantic:

Beer just began to take up more and more of the semester. It became more and more interesting to the students, certainly, but to me as well. And then I realized, holy cow I could teach a course just on beer. And then I said, ‘Well, really, I could teach a whole major on beer.’ And then I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just settle for a minor.'”

According to the Brewers Association, there were 2,768 craft breweries in the U.S. as of 2013:

craft brewery count

Table: Brewers Association

If you consider the rise in the general brewery category since the late 1990s, overall brewery growth in this country hasn’t been this big since 1873, when there were 4,131 breweries—and presumably far less people to drink all that delicious beer. 

historical number of breweries

Graph: Brewers Association

And in case you needed further proof, the Culinary Institute of America is currently in the process of building a craft brewery on campus that will open in Summer 2015, with plans to integrate brewing, fermentation, and related business courses into its curriculum for future students. What’s more legit than that?

[via the Atlantic]