Brewing Student Success 

UNC Football tailgates are spirited social events — but at the Bears’ home opener on Sept. 3, it was also the setting for Bears, Brews and Bites, a fundraising, learning and networking opportunity for students in our Brewing Laboratory Science program.   

This year’s event featured 13 local craft brewers and about 150 participants who enjoyed brewed samples and food from various food trucks adjacent to Nottingham Field before the game.   

Sean Johnson, assistant brewer in UNC’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said this is the seventh year for the event, though it was sidelined during the pandemic.   

“It’s an annual fundraiser for the brewing program at UNC,” he says. “And it’s an opportunity for family-owned smaller businesses and the community to come together. Many of our Brewing Science alumni have careers with these businesses, and it provides our students who are in the program with the opportunity to see behind the scenes of a beer festival, to meet with local breweries and make connections and network.”  

Johnson says that proceeds from the event have made it possible to offer some partial scholarships and to purchase equipment that helps prepare students for their careers.   

“We’ve been able to buy equipment so students in the labs and classes are learning what they need to know to work in the industry, with up-to-date brewing equipment and lab equipment — like new microscopes we were able to purchase last year, so students can work on determining yeast counts and viability in beer.”  

Johnson says the event brings Greeley and UNC together, helping local businesses and making a difference for students interested in a career in brewing science. 

–Debbie Moors

Bears, Brews & Bites