North Carolina has more than 100 wineries, nearly as many craft breweries, and the number of craft distilleries is catching up. The Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Sciences degree at Appalachian State University, begun in 2012, is building an educated, innovative workforce for these and related burgeoning career fields. An interdisciplinary degree within the College of Arts and Sciences, Fermentation Sciences provides students with a strong background in chemistry and biology with a focus in business, marketing and entrepreneurial principles.
Faculty members have developed industry collaborations with local vineyards, wineries, breweries, distilleries and biotechnology businesses to provide students with practical experience. Students leave Appalachian prepared to lead the workforce in fermentation sciences and develop or manage businesses, including experience with food and beverage regulations, laws and social responsibilities.
Employment: Fermentation Science students have been employed at Novozymes biotechnology company, Constellation Brands, The Boston Beer Company, Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, Olde Hickory Brewery, Rogue Brewery and numerous other breweries, wineries, distilleries and biotechnology-based companies nationwide. Students’ employment opportunities at graduation are close to 100%.
Graduate School: Some students have gone to N.C. State University and UNC Greensboro, with upcoming graduates looking to enroll at Virginia Tech, Oregon State and University of California Davis.
Students take courses in chemistry, biology, business and mathematical science and statistics, with additional choices of courses in sustainable development, nutrition and technology, and environmental design.
Core courses include:
- Principles of Fermentation Science
- Social Implications of Fermented Beverages
- Viticulture: Vine Physiology and Vineyard Establishment
- Facility Design and Operation
- Wine Production and Analysis
- Brewing Science and Analysis
- Sensory Analysis of Wine and Beer
- Distillation Technology
- Biofuels and Bioprocessing
- Fermented Meats and Dairy
Nearly every Fermentation Sciences student completes a minor in Chemistry and many pursue minors in Biology or Entrepreneurship.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- The craft beverage industry is expanding rapidly in North Carolina and the Southeast, drawing dozens of small, medium and national business each year. This creates a strong job market and career potential.
- The program has a high level of student engagement and research/independent study.
- Students develop their laboratory techniques with state-of-the-art instrumentation in Appalachian’s Enology Services Laboratory, which provides analytic services to industry, sensory analysis and contract research nationwide.
- The Fermentation Sciences pilot plant offers students hands-on experience in production systems, operations and management, instrumentation and mechanics, and recipe and product development.
Number of Students
Method of Delivery
On campus only
- Brewing Production
- Wine Production
- Distillation Technologies
- Food and Beverage Processing
- Applied Biotechnology
- Bio-manufacturing / Bio-pharmaceuticals
- Process Engineering
- Environmental Remediation
- Waste and Water Treatment
- Agriculture Value Addition
- Development of Sustainable Energy and Resources
- Applied Chemistry / Analytical Chemistry
- Applied Microbiology and Systems Biology
- Business Development and Entrepreneurship
- Federal employment with the USDA, FDA, CDC, NREL
- Graduate studies and research and development in these areas
Dr. Stephan Sommer
Interim Director of Fermentation Sciences
Administrative Assistant Fermentation Sciences