UC Davis, Sudwerk introduce Aggie Lager

UC Davis, a world leader in brewing science and education, and Sudwerk Restaurant and Brewery of Davis have entered into a licensing agreement that will offer Aggie Lager on tap at Davis eateries and generate an estimated $25,000 a year for scholarships, campus officials announced today (Aug. 16).

Sudwerk is brewing the beer, which is currently on tap at its own restaurant, Hallmark Inn, The Davis Graduate, 3rd and U Café, Woodstock's Pizza and Original Steve's. UC Davis and Sudwerk are looking to put the lager at other Davis establishments too.

Under a one-year agreement, UC Davis has licensed the use of its name and athletics trademark for Aggie Lager to Sudwerk, which has a long association with the brewing programs and the Department of Athletics at UC Davis.

The agreement will provide the equivalent of one full year's scholarship for an in-state student-athlete at UC Davis -- support that interim Director of Athletics Nona Richardson said is critical to recruit and retain top players as the Aggies develop their program in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

In addition to raising funds for intercollegiate athletics, campus officials said the agreement will help to build awareness of the university in general and its world-class brewing programs.

"The Aggie Lager project is an innovative collaboration between campus and community that highlights a distinguished academic program through the broad portal of intercollegiate athletics," said Cindy Spiro, senior associate athletics director for external affairs and resource development.

Teaching and research in brewing science have been integral components of the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology since 1958. Charlie Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC Davis, says hundreds of students have progressed from the undergraduate and master's programs to senior technical positions in the brewing and brewing-supply industries in North America and beyond.

"Aggie Lager is an exceptional lager that shows off the brewing talents of our alumni and carries our name with pride," Bamforth said. "I am delighted that the sales of beer will support sports on campus.

"In all my teachings I stress the role that beer can play as a worthy component of a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle when treated, as in all things, mindfully."

UC Davis Extension, the continuing and professional education division of the university, also offers popular and respected brewing programs, including an eight-week Professional Brewers Certificate Program, an 18-week Master Brewers Program and short courses in home brewing.

Jay Prahl, masterbrewer at Sudwerk and a UC Davis alumnus, describes Aggie Lager as "a rich golden lager, complex and artfully balanced and reminiscent of Bavaria's most popular style -- the Munchener helles or the Munich light lager." The 100 percent malted beer is mildly hoppy, crisp and clean, he said.

The lager was first presented under the Aggie name nine years ago at the annual Aggie Auction fundraising event for Athletics, where cases of bottled lager continue to be offered for auction. Aggie Lager has also been poured at some small VIP events before or during halftime at football and basketball games.

UC Davis has a close association with Sudwerk, which has produced award-winning lagers sold in California, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Prahl graduated from the Master Brewers Program in 1995 and is a guest speaker for Introduction to Brewing and Beer, the second-most popular course on the UC Davis campus. He and Sudwerk's other brewers, who graduated from the same program, support the teaching of UC Davis Extension brewing courses, which are held in a classroom above the Sudwerk brewing facilities.

Although the association of a university's name with beer is not unprecedented, it is also not without controversy at institutions that work to reduce high-risk drinking among their students.

"UC Davis is proud of its academic programs in and contributions to brewing, winemaking and viticulture," Spiro said. "We are using the utmost care in the association of the university's name with alcohol."

Michelle Famula, executive director of Health and Wellness at UC Davis, says she appreciates the university's long commitment to excellence in fermentation science, viticulture and enology. "I join the university community in the expectation of safe and responsible consumption of Aggie Lager and all alcohol products," she added. "For those who choose to drink, UC Davis advocates that they do so legally and safely."

UC Davis continues to promote its Safe Party Initiative, a collaboration with the city of Davis to reduce problems associated with drinking among college students and to support party safety. UC Davis' Student Health and Counseling Services offers assessment and intervention services for alcohol, tobacco and other drug issues. The campus provides leadership to the community's Davis Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Group.

UC Davis does not sell alcohol at regular concessions at its athletics facilities; the consumption of beer and wine is permitted in some designated tailgating areas before Aggie football games.

Media Resources

Julia Ann Easley, General news (emphasis: business, K-12 outreach, education, law, government and student affairs), 530-752-8248, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

Scott Brayton, Athletics, (530) 752-2699, sabrayton@ucdavis.edu

Brian Otis, Athletics, (530) 754-2479, brotis@ucdavis.edu

Jay Prahl, Sudwerk Restaurant and Brewery, (530) 758-8700, jay.sudwerk@yahoo.com