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LSU brew in the works

University teams up with local microbrewery

Friday, July 22, 2011 - 4:06pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — It's official. An LSU beer is in the works at a local microbrewery.

"People are really excited about it," says William McGehee. He's the co-owner of Tin Roof Brewing Company, less than a mile from the LSU campus. The company recently teamed up with the university to work on licensing a beer specific to the purple and gold.

"It was a perfect partnership," says Chancellor Michael Martin. "They're right near campus and they're LSU grads, and they're trying to make this little enterprise go."

The start-up company began brewing their beer less than a year ago, and they've stayed pretty close to their roots. They approached LSU about making a beer for the college town, and school leaders loved the idea.

They're not the only ones. Once word got out about the LSU brew, everyone had a suggestion.

"People want to be involved," says McGehee. "We've had people calling and giving us suggestions for names and what style of beer they'd like."

The beer is still in it's initial stages. McGehee and his business partner, Charles Caldwell, are working to finalize paperwork on the beer before they decide to release the name. Once they start brewing, it will be distributed by Mockler Beverage.

It's great news for the school because LSU will be cashing in on the royalties from the drink. School leaders say they're not sure just how much, yet, but any extra revenue is helpful right now.

"Everyone's conscious about the budget situation," says Charles D'Agostino, executive director of Louisiana Business and Technology Center at LSU. "This isn't going to solve [the problem], but at least its being entrepreneurial, and bringing dollars into the university."

This partnership will do more than bring beer-lovers a new favorite beverage. LSU students will benefit, too.

"It's less about beer and more about education," explains Chancellor Martin.

Students will tap into a number of opportunities in the brewing industry. Tin Roof Brewing Company will actually house classes and internships right at their facility. Students will be involved in the entire brewing process, from grain to glass.

"We're getting to train people and they can go out all around the country, or maybe stay here, or maybe open their own brewery," says McGehee. "One of the biggest things that I wish I had gotten out of college was more practical, real world experience."

Leaders say the experiement is worth a try, hoping a little taste of Tiger Town will go a long way for the university. "It's hard to deny that there is some beer consumed on Saturdays, and as long as it's being consumed, let's see if we can have some of our students benefit from that consumption from a production standpoint," says Martin.


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