It doesn’t have to be that way.
Illustration by Tyler Hoehne
Mike Babb was born in Golden, Colorado, in the shadow of the monolithic Coors Brewing Company. He worked at Coors for 20 years, the third generation of his family to do so. During what he calls a sabbatical, he went to Weihenstephan, part of the Technical University of Munich in Germany, where he learned the craft of a master brewer. After teaching at the Siebel Institute, a prestigious brewing program in Chicago, Babb relocated to Michigan. He helped design a new joint higher education degree program at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University that’s set to kick off later this year: a four-year Bachelor’s degree in sustainable brewing. The first 30 credit hours at KVCC will give the students a brewing certificate, with hands on classes in an experimental brewing kitchen, along with an associate’s degree that they can transfer to WMU for a more rigorous scientific focus in the second two years.