Cal Poly recently partnered with Firestone Walker Brewery to create a new beer specifically targeted for the Mustang community. The beer, Cal Poly Gold, debuted at Cal Poly’s first home football game on Sept. 9.
Co-founder of Firestone Walker Brewing Company David Walker said the collaboration began through Cal Poly. The school reached out due to the deep connections they have with the brewery. Many Cal Poly students learn, intern and go on to work at the brewery.
“Cal Poly blood runs thick in our brewery and obviously we had connections with the university [through] the robust fermentation science program,” Walker said. “What went from a friendly notion turned into something real, and that’s always a win for everybody.”
Cal Poly Gold is an all-malt lager with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 4.7%. According to Walker, lager is the most consumed style of beer in the world.
“We tried many different styles of beer,” Walker said. “We thought we’d make a great traditional American lager, it would be the sort of beer that might’ve been brewed on the Central Coast a hundred years ago.”
The green and gold can depicts the vintage Mustang logo and was designed by Cal Poly alum and Firestone Walker’s art director, Alyssa Hornby. Walker said several alumni worked on this project and that they “feel pretty proud of it.”
In addition to the work of the brewery to create the beer, Cal Poly’s athletics department has also been working to market the beer to the Mustang community. Cal Poly Gold will now be sold at every home sports game.
“The reaction’s been overwhelmingly positive,” Cal Poly Athletics Director Don Oberhelman said. “The branding, the can, the look of it — the fact that we partnered with one of the best breweries in the world was also a part of the success story.”
While the new beer will be sold at games in order to spark some Mustang pride, Oberhelman said the revenue from the sale of the beer will also create opportunities for students.
“It helps fund scholarships for our student athletes,” Oberhelman said. “I would say that’s the most direct benefit, I think, to our university. It’s going to fund some alcohol educational programming for all of our students.”
The beer will also be sold in six-packs in stores across San Luis Obispo. Eventually, Cal Poly Gold will be on tap in restaurants and bars throughout the city.
“It’s going to be another month or two before you do, but you’re going to see Cal Poly on tap handles,” Oberhelman said.
Both Oberhelman and Walker talked about wanting the partnership between Cal Poly and Firestone Walker Brewery to continue to grow through the hard work and dedication of the Cal Poly alumni and students.
“As a brewery, we don’t function without bright, educated folks who want to work here. Cal Poly is a huge resource for us,” Walker said. “I also think it’s good to support local brewing. I always like to say ‘the sweetest beer is the beer that’s drunk closest to the brewery.’”