ECC Planning a Brewing Program

August 22, 2014 Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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August 22, 2014 Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Erie Community College is planning on starting a brand new program next year at its North Campus.

Don Spasiano, a Professor of Hospitality Management at ECC, says "we think that Western New York could be the epicenter for the craft brewer industry," comparing that possibility to wine in the Finger Lakes region.

That's why he wants to start a new program at ECC, offering a certification in Brewing Science and Service, starting in the Fall of 2015.

The school plans to submit an application to the State Department of Education next week.

It would be a chance for students to take one year of courses, intern at local breweries and tap into the growing job market. The program could even help start a brewery right on ECC.

Spasiano says the program would "not only help produce the product, but also market it, distribute it, serve it."

Local brewers say there actually is not a lot of training in the United States. Dave Collins, the head brewer at Resurgence, had to study in Canada.

He says this program could impact more than Western New York.

"If we had one over here on the east coast, then a lot of brewers could train here and then filter down," Collins says.

Many may be turning this hobby into a career, but the certification would not be all fun and games. On top of courses in distilling and servicing customers, expect to learn a lot of science too. Courses would include microchemistry and microbiology.

"If you know on that molecular level what's happening you're going to be able to craft a better product," Collins explains.

The minimum age to enter the program would be 18 years old -- the same age you have to be to serve alcohol in New York State.

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