Saint Francis Announces New Fermentation Chemistry Program

Erin McCloskey | 07/27/2022

hands on immersion in fermentation chemistry
The required immersion program in France is a signature element of the Fermentation Chemistry program that intimately explores the many facets of international wine and cheese-making, bringing coursework to life! 

New Program: Fermentation Chemistry

Saint Francis University is pleased to announce the launching of a new academic program,  Fermentation Chemistry, with scholarships and industry partnerships to attract, support, and prepare students for careers in the growing craft beer, food, and wine markets.

The Fermentation Chemistry program is designed to prepare students to work in the growing fermentation industries. Students enrolled in the program will learn the science behind fermentation and how a business operates while also applying their knowledge through practical work experiences. The science background and acquired laboratory skills will provide the expertise for the student to work in any food industry, not just fermentation. The business minor provides the background for the student to understand and coordinate with business managers or the ability to start their own enterprise. While many people focus on beer or wine fermentation, fermented food products include bread, cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, and more!

The program aligns with the university's Francis 2026 strategic plan which states the institution is seeking new initiatives to attract, develop, and retain students aspiring to be productive in altruistic careers. The Fermentation Chemistry B.A. program is a new initiative that will attract new students seeking to combine their love of science with the craft of fermentation. 

Industry Need

The beer and wine industries are growing. In 2020, the craft beer market was valued at $22.2 billion, while the total beer market was valued at $94.1 Billion market. By 2020, there were a total number of 8,764 craft breweries in the United States, with Pennsylvania alone having 444 craft breweries. ( The growth is also seen in the wine industry, with over 11,000 wineries in the US in 2021, growing from 6,300 in 2009. ( Pennsylvania is strongly engaged in the wine industry, now home to over 300 wineries, featuring 14,000+ acres of vineyards, producing more than 2 million gallons of wine annually, and as a state ranking fifth in the nation in wine production. (source:

Industry Partners

The Francis the Innovator portion of the strategic plan states that SFU is "committed to fostering a culture of educational innovation. Developing relevant academic and co-curricular programs, cultivating and harnessing innovative partnerships" The Fermentation Chemistry program is part of a relationship built with the Curry Industries and Levity Brewing Company. SFU recently opened the Curry Innovation Center located in Altoona, PA, just 2 doors from the Levity Brewhouse on 11th Avenue. Included in the Innovation Center is a STEAM laboratory with fermentation laboratory equipment that will be used for community brewing classes and social events. The Fermentation Chemistry program is in a unique position to support University efforts to grow the University's presence in Altoona and highlight thriving partnerships.

Levity Brewing ( is one of two industry partners with the Fermentation program. One of the owners, Jay Herman, teaches in the Fermentation program and has recently hosted a current student for an internship. Levity will produce a Saint Francis University labeled 175th Anniversary Amber Ale that will be introduced during the Alumni weekend July 28-31 and available for sale. Levity will pledge a portion of the proceeds from their annual "Pink Boots" product to provide an annual $1,000 scholarship to a female student majoring in Fermentation Chemistry.

A second partnership is with Woody Lodge Winery (, located nearby in Ashville, PA. Woody Lodge is producing Saint Francis University labeled 175th Anniversary wine. Like the 175th beer products, the wine will be introduced at Alumni weekend and available for purchase. Woody Lodge is also pledging proceeds from the wine sales to fund a scholarship of at least $1,000 for a student majoring in Fermentation Chemistry.

Visit the Fermentation Chemistry Program Page for more details.