Gambrinus chief donates another $1 million for beer education

Carlos Alvarez, founder and owner of The Gambrinus Company of San Antonio, Texas, announced a $1 million gift to the brewing science program at UC Davis.

The gift will fund new brewing and laboratory equipment at UC Davis to create the brewery of the future. Alvarez previously announced a similar gift, also worth $1 million, to Oregon State University.

“As an immigrant from Mexico, I have enjoyed the many opportunities I found in this country,” Alvarez said in a press release announcing the gift, “and I’m very happy that success in the beer business enables me to help in UC Davis’ efforts to educate future craft brewers.”

Brewing education at UC Davis dates back to 1959 when the Lucky Lager Brewing Company of San Francisco donated a small brewery and launched a teaching program with the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. As student interest grew, additional companies began supporting the program. In 2011 brewing science moved into the world-class facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

“This fantastic donation from Carlos Alvarez will allow us to develop our teaching and research capabilities in a way that surpasses anything I could have imagined when I first came to the university in 1999,” said Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences. “I salute Mr. Alvarez’s dedication to education and am thrilled of what we will deliver with his contribution.”


BrewDog confirms it will build brewery in Ohio

Scottish-based BrewDog confirmed today that it will build a new brewery in Columbus, Ohio, with a plan to make it the base of further expansion into the U.S. market.

“Columbus has got a fantastic beer scene already, so it’s going to be fun to brew our beer in this vibrant Midwestern metro,” the company stated at its Internet web site. “We considered so many potential locations in the U.S. but eventually it was how much we loved the people of Columbus and how welcome they made us feel on our visits that put Columbus firmly at the top of our list.”

BrewDog has agreed to buy 42 acres of land to build a 100,000-square-foot “kick ass” craft brewery. It will have a 100-barrel brewhouse, as well as canning and packaging lines and a small bottling line for special edition brews. The site also will be home to the company’s U.S. headquarters, a visitor center, a restaurant and a taproom. The facility is expected to employ more than 100.

“We see the Columbus brewery operation as a sister brewery to our Aberdeen one with an interflow and exchange of knowledge, passion, people, expertise and beer flowing back and forth over the Atlantic,” the company stated.

A prospectus for European investors estimated the U.S. brewery cost at $4.6 million.

It isn’t necessarily a done deal. The company said incentives and site details need to be finalized. “But we are completely committed to making BrewDog Columbus a reality very, very soon,” the company wrote.


Fuller’s Reg Drury dies

Reg Drury, the longtime leader of Fuller’s brewing and operations team in London, has died.

In the final years before he retired in 1999 and later as an ambassador for Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C. Drury was well known to American brewers and played a key educational role in the growing craft movement.

He was responsible for modernizing the brewhouse at Fuller’s, switching from open squares to conical fermenters. He was the first brewer to use such vessels for brewing ale – and today, the process is common place.

During his tenure, Fuller’s was awarded the Champion Beer of Britain prize five times with three different beers.

Simon Emeny, Chief Executive, said: “Reg was a true gentleman and he will always be synonymous with Fuller’s,” said Simon Emeny, Fuller’s chief executive. “He was a legendary brewer, a great statesman and a fantastic mentor and will be greatly missed by those that knew him.”


Karl Ockert to oversee brewing at Deschutes

Deschutes Brewery has announced hiring of Karl Ockert as Director of Brewery Operations. A press release states hewill use his 30-plus years experience in the brewing industry to oversee and guide all functions and activities related to brewing, cellaring, packaging, safety, continuous improvement, maintenance and quality control. Ockert, who spent a total of two decades with Bridgeport Brewing Company, most recently served as an independent consulting brewmaster and the technical director for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.

“Karl’s extensive experience in the craft industry and his incredible technical expertise will help us through a critical growth phase as we look to expand production and bring on a second brewery,” said Michael LaLonde, president of Deschutes Brewery. “He’s a great cultural fit for our team as a whole and we look forward to his guidance and input as we continue to grow.”

Ockert was the original brewmaster for Bridgeport Brewing Company in the 1980s, and after stints at some other breweries (small and large), he returned there in the mid-90s as brewmaster and general manager.

Ockert said, “Deschutes has been a respected cornerstone in the craft brewing world for more than 25 years, due to their consistent quality across the board, along with their ongoing experimentation with new styles, processes, ingredients and more. I’m excited to join their team as the company continues to innovate, expand and break new ground.”