Alumnus Turns Passion for Home Brewing into Growing Business
Jan. 11, 2013
From government student, to law firm owner, to nationally recognized brewmaster, Michael Peticolas BA ’95 said he’s made his choices by following his passions.
Peticolas and his wife, Melissa, own Peticolas Brewing Company, a Dallas-based brewery that provides a homegrown option for local beer lovers and recently won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, where more than 675 breweries competed.
Peticolas graduated with a bachelor's degree in government from UT Dallas before attending law school and opening his own law firm. After home brewing as a hobby for some time, he and his wife received an offer to invest in a brewery startup. While thinking about the option, Melissa suggested they try running a brewery themselves.
“The proverbial light bulb lit up in our heads, and from that point on, we started planning a brewery of our own,” Peticolas said.
He said they studied the idea, and he went through a 23-week brewing science and engineering program through the American Brewers Guild. After that, the brewery became a full-time job.
“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.”
Michael Peticolas,BA ’95
In some ways, getting into the brewery business represented getting back to Peticolas’ roots. His mother, Jacque Peticolas, used to brew Mexican-style beer at the family’s 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,” he said.
Years later, the Peticolas Brewing Company has made a name for itself and is growing.
“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,” he said.
Peticolas said that throughout his working life the value of his education at UT Dallas has been obvious. He particularly enjoyed classes taught by Dr. Tony Champagne, a professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
“He is certainly one of the most influential educators I came across throughout my years of schooling,” he said. “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.”
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