UT Future Brewers Club brews insight into crafting beer

Thomas Boswell

For most college students, refreshing ice-cold beers mean a good Friday night — but for the members of UT’s Future Brewers Club, the frothy brews mean a life-long career.

Chemistry senior James Sutton co-founded the Future Brewers Club with two other friends in an effort to unite students of all ages interested in beer. Started in December 2014, the club members hope to provide an opportunity to learn more about the brewing process, business and culture that surrounds the craft beer community.

“When I turned 21, I started developing a heavy interest in beer and brewing specifically,” Sutton said. “It was multi-faceted and the only alcohol related club at UT. I had a lot of room and a large niche to fill that I wanted to fill with my club.”

The club focuses on the social aspects of beer drinking but also educates its members in fermentation processes, brewing mechanics and entrepreneurship, which Sutton said was important to include in the club’s core purpose.

“I want this to be a social club,” Sutton said. “But I didn’t want it to dissolve into something where we just go get drunk. It was important to me that there was an educational link.”

Club meetings feature guests from local craft breweries, such as Zilker Brewing and Oasis, who discuss topics that range from their experiences starting a brewery to the the finer points of making tasty beer. Will Cravens, psychology and liberal arts honors junior and an active club member, said the caliber of speakers attending the meetings impressed him.

“[Sutton] is getting all the top dogs in Austin to talk about their daily routine,” Cravens said. “Each speaker is totally different; they have a totally different perspective on what they do.”

Aditya Mukerji, co-founder and chemical engineering senior, said he enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for craft beer with the other members.

“I really love that someone can walk in there and not know the difference between any style of beer, and, after the meeting, everyone walks away having learned more,” Mukerji said.

In order to give members industry insight, and because UT policy prevents the club from drinking beer on campus, the Future Brewers Club frequently organizes tours in some of Austin’s 20 craft breweries as unofficial meetings. Sutton, who has worked in several of these breweries, said he hopes the tours will inspire club members to pursue careers in beer-related fields.

For the founders, the club’s true mark of success will be the organization’s ability to continue growing once many of the original members have graduated.   

“I think that’s actually really exciting, the club existing after I graduate,” Mukerji said. “It’s nice knowing that people are there to fill our shoes. People have loved beer for thousands of years.”

With the upcoming fall semester around the corner, members of the Future Brewer’s Club look forward to welcoming new members and incorporating new ideas into their agenda. They said they plan to offer more variety, such as private meetings in a brewery’s tap room, to those attending.   

“We are everything from fermentation science to starting your own business, to drinking and tasting beer — that kind of foodie culture,” Sutton said. “Even for the most casual beer drinkers, I think this is a good place to meet people who like drinking better beer.”