The craft beer industry is thriving in Vancouver. While many people know the difference between an IPA and a Pilsner, there are a lot of new craft beer drinkers in need of a bit of beer education. Enter Mauricio Lozano, part-time BCIT Food Technology instructor and proud craft brewery owner.
Mauricio opened Faculty Brewing in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant/Brewery Creek district in August of last year. Faculty Brewing was founded on the premise that educating and empowering craft beer drinkers will benefit the entire industry. Faculty Brewing is the only craft brewery in the Lower Mainland that posts all of its recipes online. They encourage discussion and questions and hope to learn from their customers while their customers learn about beer. Mauricio welcomes comments online or in Faculty Brewing’s tasting room and has been known to change recipes and methods in response to customers’ feedback and suggestions.
“The main difference for us, at least in BC, is that we are the only one who has no secrets; our recipes are posted online. You like our stout, here’s the recipe, make it at home. We want to encourage that. We want to encourage the dialogue. In education, if you discover something, instead of keeping it to yourself, you publish it. You change up the conversation when you have everything available for discussion.”
Faculty Brewing’s open discussion and educational attitude fits well in an industry that Mauricio says is already “super collaborative. You’d be surprised. Everybody helps each other. We look like a big industry but craft beer only accounts for 20% of beer sales in BC. We are this tiny thing holding hands and just getting more people into craft beer.” Mauricio has many examples of sharing and borrowing supplies, from bottles to growler caps to yeast, with neighbouring craft breweries.
Mauricio has always had a passion for teaching and education. For him, teaching is about leaving a legacy and improving society. “Teaching is a good way of promoting critical thinking and improving society. I think I’ve always been keen on learning so I want to participate in other peoples’ learning processes. Also I guess it’s a personality thing. I like talking about things and explaining things and being around people all the time. I was super happy at school so I don’t want to be away from school.”
Many BCIT instructors continue to work in industry while teaching. For Mauricio, it’s about combining passions; he loves education but he also wanted to have a job he loved within the food industry. “I want to love my job. I’ve been home brewing for a while and I’m really passionate about beer,” says Mauricio. “All my life I have been working with fermentation and dealing with microbes, pasteurization, and bacterial growth rates. I wanted to make my passion my job.”
Running a craft brewery has also helped Mauricio in his teaching at BCIT. In his operations management course, Mauricio teaches the same theories and practices that he uses in his business. And it works both ways—the brewery also provides Mauricio with a wealth of real world examples to draw upon for his classes.
“I have to adjust my teaching to new theories but I’m also adjusting my managing style at the same time. I’m teaching these theories while keeping up to date myself.”
He sees a profound parallel between his two professions—thus the name of the brewery. He says a school faculty is a group of people. “It’s inclusive. As long as you participate in the faculty, you don’t have to have all the ideas. You just participate in the ideas and be part of the team. You don’t have to be a teacher to be faculty. Faculty is the whole team. And that is what we want Faculty Brewing to be.”