From humble beginnings in Puebla, a suburb two hours from Mexico City, to a craft brewery in Vancouver’s Olympic Village, Mauricio Lozano (alongside his wife Alicia) is using his expertise as an instructor in BCIT’s Food Technology and Operations Management program to give traditional craft beers a fresh kick at one of the city’s most popular new breweries.
interview by Kellan Tochkin
What got you hooked on wanting to make craft beer?
I did a year abroad in Leeds in the UK. I was studying engineering food science and there was an elective course in traditional alcoholic beverages. I thought I would be learning about wine or spirits. Little did I know I was in West Yorkshire and the course was about northern English beers and that’s when I got fascinated with the subject. I learned how they used only locally sourced ingredients in the beer and that’s what got my hooked on this vision.
How did you end up starting a brewery in Vancouver?
In 2008 my wife and I both went into our Masters programs at UBC. She was studying Architecture, and I was continuing Engineering in food sciences. I was homebrewing at the time and finding more passion with each new batch. With the scenery and way of life Vancouver has to offer, we both fell in love with the city. We finished our programs and decided to stay here for good. Originally, we assumed we would be here for two years, and that would be it. But once we got here, we knew we wanted to plant some roots here. In 2012, there was a surge of craft breweries opening up with regulations being passed in Vancouver City Hall to allow breweries to have tasting rooms. With that, my passion got even large; trying so many different varieties. In 2016, the chance came for my wife and I to live out the dream, and we pounced on it and have not looked back.
“We are the beer faculty here to educate people.”
How does your brewery stand apart from the other craft breweries?
In my engineering career I worked for tons of different companies including some breweries. I’ve been really connected to the food world in the city. After sometime working in the industry, BCIT offered me a part-time job in the food technology and operations program. With that in mind, it made me want to open a brewery that took components of what I was teaching and apply it to beer.
We had a unique idea to give the public. We felt we needed to take a creative approach to naming our beers, so even someone who knows nothing about beer would be able to connect with them. We found adding facts and recipes to the beers really helped educate the consumer regardless of their experience with beer. That is also what gave us the name: we are the beer faculty here to educate people.
If you are afraid of craft beer, Faculty is a perfect place for you. We walk you through each different beer to find a pairing with the wildest of beer drinkers, and that is where our beer stands apart from others. Also using one hundred percent local products. With my connections in the food industry, it made it a bit easier to get the products we need to create our vision of perfect craft beers to stand apart from others.
Your beer takes it a step further combining flavors with different styles of beer.
We knew it was going to be an uphill battle from the start, and in a saturated market using local can only go so far because so many other companies are doing the same. That is why we added another element to our beers. You can go get an IPA or Hefeweizen anywhere. That’s why we added different flavour profiles to each of our beers. For instance, we added mint to our normal Hef to make it a Minzeweizen. Sourweisse is also one we had fun with almost trying to make it like a sour cocktail. Again to make it easy for non-traditional beer drinkers to enjoy.
Faculty Brewing seems to be a pioneer of sorts… What else are you doing differently?
Well, it all comes back to the market. We wanted something for everyone and with that, added an even crazier twist to the plan. With alcoholic addiction so relevant in today’s society, we realized we needed something different to enjoy at home that had an element of excitement to it. That is when Alicia started creating her own Kombucha. Making Kombucha is very similar to beer. You can make it to appease your taste buds or push someone else’s. We sell it at the restaurant to give non-drinkers an option, instead of just pop or water.
From a branding standpoint you guys have really seemed to hit every note.
We knew that with the name Faculty came expectations. It was a place to take beer even further and have it almost like a classroom. We are here to educate people on the phenomenon because so many Vancouverites are getting on board with craft brewing. We have noticed a positive reception to that and are hoping to take the brand to new heights, while staying humble. It is a market that is growing and we plan to continue to stay unique. It takes a lot of heart to do this and we are not doing this for just us and the profits. We are doing this for the people.
Visit Faculty Brewing at 1830 Ontario St. in Vancouver, and online at www.facultybrewing.com