HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A collaboration between Alabama A&M and Straight to Ale has been brewing for about two years now, and soon, we will be able to try the signature beer students invented with the help of Straight to Ale’s brewers.
They’re not quite ready to unveil the name of the beer, but they say the taste is one everybody over the age 21 can enjoy.
“It’s a terrific opportunity to help the school with branding, a great community partnership because Huntsville supports local, and this is the best brewery I know of in the south so it was an easy collaboration, easy process,” A&M Development Associate Michael Colston said. “If you support local and you like good beer, you’ll enjoy it.”
Officials say this is first HBCU in the nation to have their own beer, and it’s an industry that Colston said has been relatively untapped until now.
“Traditionally the craft beer market has not been well-represented by people of color,” Colston said. “Bringing Straight to Ale a different crowd of people who can get enthralled and fall in love with craft beer, it works out well for both of us.”
The collaboration started with a desire to sell a specialty beer for Bulldog home games. The relationship evolved from there, with students working for the past six months getting hands-on training with the pros at Straight to Ale.
Food Sciences students came in and brewed the beer themselves with the brewers. MBA students designed the artwork for the can.
“[We’re] critiquing and changing and nitpicking and stuff like that, letting them know its not us doing it, this is what the industry calls for, this is pretty common practice. It was cool real-time experience,” Straight to Ale Sales Manager Adam Madderra said.
Madderra said it has been a lot of fun to help the students learn and grow.
They will unveil the name and can art of the new lager on May 20, when Huntsville customers can taste it for the first time at Straight to Ale. Then, on May 24th, they will begin selling the beer in select grocery stores across the state.
A portion of the proceeds made will go back to Alabama A&M’s programs.