media release

New course for those thirsty for knowledge

October 03, 2013

Diane Mar-Nicolle: 778.782.9586;
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017;


Simon Fraser University will soon have a new course on tap. And yes, it has everything to do with beer.

A team of SFU researchers—biologist Zamir Punja, chemist Uwe Kreis and Michelle Unrau from the Dean of Science’s office—has developed a course called the Science of Brewing (Biological Sciences 372) set to launch in January 2014.

The credit course will explore the chemistry, biology and microbiology involved in the brewing process.

BISC 372 is one of the inaugural products of the $2-million INSPIRE initiative that Dean of Science Claire Cupples launched last year to stimulate change in the way science is taught at SFU.

“This pilot course is transformative in so many ways. Not only does it involve a close partnership with industry – in this case, Central City Brewers + Distillers—but students will also ‘learn science by doing science’,” says Cupples. “Students of all disciplines including business, mathematics, science and engineering will be eligible to register.”

Darryll Frost, president of Central City Brewers + Distillers (CCBD), is equally excited about the partnership. “I sincerely believe that collaborating with SFU will lead to advancements on the technical side of brewing, which we greatly welcome.”

“In exchange, we are happy to share our expertise in brewing as two-time winners of the Canadian Brewery Award. It's a win-win situation for SFU and the Central City Brewery.”

Punja and Kreis will co-teach the section of the course based on their respective fields of biology and chemistry. Punja hopes the course will provide opportunities for students to explore scientific, research and business opportunities related to the beer-making industry in B.C. and abroad.

“Putting together aspects of plant biology, chemistry, fermentation technology and packaging/marketing into one course will be both exciting and challenging,” he says.

Unrau, who has helped nurture this project since its inception, sees the potential to expand the program to include a master's or Certificate in Brewing option and to further develop a “science entrepreneurship” program.

Classes will be held at SFU’s Surrey campus, at the CCBD’s former distilling plant and at its recently opened headquarters.

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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