HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- The beer crafting industry is growing in western North Carolina.

And The Times-News of Hendersonville reports ( ) that Blue Ridge Community College plans to take advantage of that growth by offering an associate's degree in the craft beverage industry.

School officials expect state approval next week.

The Associate in Applied Science Degree program in Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation will be one of the few of its kind. The school joins Asheville-Buncombe Technical College and Rockingham Community College as the only three schools in North Carolina seeking final approval in the first year.

Dean Chris English compares beer and wine production in western North Carolina with Napa Valley, Calif., in the 1970s.

English says the production will make the area known for something other than its apple crop.

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