Grad is Brewmaster Extraordinaire
Peticolas Brewing Company recently received a gold medal at the Great American Beer
Festival for its Royal Scandal brew.
Q&A with Michael Peticolas BA’95
Before he became a nationally recognized brewmaster, Michael Peticolas graduated with a bachelor's degree in government from UT Dallas. He then graduated from law school and opened his own law firm. But Peticolas’ love for making beer soon drew him to a different career. He and his wife, Melissa, now own Peticolas Brewing Company. The Dallas-based brewery recently received a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for Royal Scandal, classic English pale ale. More than 675 breweries competed at the festival that drew approximately 50,000 attendees.
Q: Tell us more about your love for beer and brewing
A: How many people can trace their brewing roots back to their mom? Well, my mom, Jacque Peticolas, started brewing a Mexican-style beer at our El Paso home in the ‘90s. Poured from brown 22-ounce bomber bottles, our homebrewed copper-colored light ales with a hint of apricot hit the spot during the long, hot Texas summers. That’s when we first experienced the satisfaction of drinking and sharing beer made at home that tasted better than the beer for sale down the street.
Years later, a friend, convinced me and my wife to take the brewing plunge. He not only gathered enough of his surplus equipment to brew, but let us keep it all, too. That night, we brewed our first five-gallon batch of beer. Although it would be weeks before we could enjoy the fruits of our labor, we had a ball that night and instantly developed an affinity for the beer making process. Before we knew it, we had upgraded our equipment and enjoyed countless batches of our own homebrew.
Q: How did making homebrews develop into a full-fledged business?
A: After homebrewing for some time and developing a passion for all things beer, we received an offer to invest in a brewery start up. While contemplating the investment, my wife suggested that we do it ourselves. The proverbial light bulb lit up in our heads and from that point on, we started planning a brewery of our own. The more we learned about the brewing industry, the more excited we got about opening a family-owned brewery. I then went on to complete Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering, a 23-week program offered by the American Brewers Guild. After that, opening a brewery became a full-time job for the Peticolas family.
Q: Tell us about your time at UT Dallas and how it influenced you
A: I enjoyed any and all classes taught by Dr. Tony Champagne, a professor in the School of Economic, Political & Policy Sciences. He is certainly one of the most influential educators I came across throughout my years of schooling. I also learned the value of education at UT Dallas. I simply took it for granted throughout my life, but began to truly enjoy the educational process while enrolled at UT Dallas. Almost everything in life can be taken from you. You can lose your house, family members, business, but no one can ever take away your education. I’m proud of the investment I made to educate myself at UT Dallas, in law school, and brew school as well. There is no substitute for education.
Q: After a fantastic first year of operation what is next?
A: We’ve just taken over the spot next door to our brewery, which will allow us to triple our production. We are currently in discussions with numerous distributors in an effort to increase our distribution radius as well. Nonetheless, our primary goal remains making great beer.