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Cheers to OU!

Published October 5, 2023

Cheers to OU!

Brewing Bobcats: OU Alumni Association offers a chance to support small businesses

By Alyssa Cruz | Culture Editor

For Bobcats who appreciate craft beer, the Ohio University Alumni Association has created the perfect opportunity for alums to enjoy a crisp beverage, support a small business and connect with fellow Bobcats.

The Bobcat Brew Trail is an interactive activity available for OU alums to partake in. By visiting its website, interested parties have access to a map denoting Bobcat-owned breweries around the state of Ohio. Participants are invited to visit the locations and check in at the brewery by scanning a QR code displayed at every brewery. After filling out a form, participants must upload proof of the visit such as a selfie of them there or a picture of their selected brew. Every visit to a different brewery works toward a complimentary gift. Six visits warrants a sticker, 12 visits earns a custom stein and a visit to all locations is worth a custom Bobcat Brew Trail t-shirt.

“The Brew Trail work has been an exciting project to connect alumni breweries and Ohio University graduates across the state,” Dana Wright, associate director of student and recent alumni engagement, said in an email.

Laura Sowers, senior associate director of alumni relations and campus partnership, said the goal of the Brew Trail was to create an opportunity for alums to connect, regardless of what campus they studied at.

“The inception of the Bobcat Brew Trail emerged as an effort to connect with alumni residing in proximity to Ohio’s regional campuses, including Zanesville, Eastern, Lancaster, Chillicothe, and Southern,” Sowers said in an email. “Upon discussions with colleagues, it became apparent that Ohio boasts a plethora of breweries owned and operated by alumni.”

Some of the breweries featured in the Brew Trail are located in Athens, such as Jackie O’s Taproom & Brewery, located at 25 Campbell St., and Little Fish Brewery, located at 8675 Armitage Rd. Others are a little further from OU’s iconic bricks.

One of these breweries that is a little further away the Fifty West Brewing Co., located at 7605 Wooster Pike in Cincinnati. Max Fram, the vice president of strategy and operation, graduated from OU in 2012 with a degree in biology.

Fifty West’s beer is distributed in Athens, so students can purchase it at Kroger and Seaman’s as well as The CI and The J Bar.

“If anybody wants to celebrate our beer or our alumni status, that’s where you can do that,” Fram said, laughing.

Regarding the Brew Trail, Fram said he and the team at Fifty West were more than happy to be involved with an activity presented by OU.

“We participate in Ohio Brew Week every year back in Athens, and we are proud alumni,” Fram said. “We were happy to do it.”

Another stop on the Bobcat Brew Trail is Urban Artifact, located at 1662 Blue Rock St., in Cincinnati as well. In addition to being a proud Bobcat, Scotty Hunter is the head of sales as well as the co-founder of the brewery.

Because the program is still relatively new, Hunter said he has not seen a huge response from the public yet, but he is optimistic about the future.

“It’s always good to have more engagement and more eyes, and fellow Bobcats love to support each other whenever they can,” he said.

In the theme of Bobcats supporting Bobcats, Fram praised the mighty brewing community in Athens. With locations in Cincinnati and Chillicothe, he said they are looking to expand, but not necessarily to Athens, because of the robust brewery scene that already exists.

“Athens has a very reputable amount of brewers already, and it’s only a town so big,” Fram said. “I think we would do well there, and I wouldn’t rule it out but I do respect that guys that are there now because there’s Little Fish (Brewing Company), Jackie O’s (and) Devil’s Kettle (Brewing), and they’re all doing a great job.”

Sowers has completed some of the Bobcat Brew Trail and said she had a great experience learning more about the breweries as well as making connections with fellow alums.

“I have really enjoyed learning about the rich history, unique stories, and craftsmanship behind these alumni-owned and operated establishments,” Sowers said in an email. “It’s more about the experience and camaraderie for me.”

The Brew Trail team is optimistic about what the program will look like in the future and is also excited to have the opportunity to witness the Bobcat camaraderie that will take place.

“Through the Bobcat Brew Trail, we’re not only celebrating our education roots but also fostering a lasting bond with our communities, all while supporting local businesses,” Sowers said in an email. “It’s a wonderful testament to the lifelong commitment many of us feel toward Ohio.”

AUTHOR: Alyssa Cruz

EDITOR: Abby Jenkins

COPY EDITOR: Addie Hedges