Peer-Reviewed Beer

Database prof joins Northern Colorado foamfest

Charlie and John Hoxmeier
Charlie Hoxmeier, left, earned degrees in microbiology at CSU and is head brewer at Gilded Goat Brewing Co. His dad, John Hoxmeier, is an associate professor of computer information systems who pours his expertise into the family beer business. Photo by Mary Neiberg

John Hoxmeier’s work has a new style, and it ranges from sour to stout. Sometimes, it’s a bit bitter – or even hazy.

For 27 years, Hoxmeier has worked in the CSU College of Business. He’s an associate professor of computer information systems and teaches students the ins and outs of data.

Yet Hoxmeier brewed up different plans when he envisioned a side venture. After all, this data specialist lives in Northern Colorado, known as the Napa Valley of Beer for its imperial standing in craft brewing (not to mention a big Budweiser brewery). Last year, a study of cities across the nation put Fort Collins at No. 11 in craft breweries per capita; Boulder, Loveland, Denver, and Longmont were also in the top 20 – making Colorado’s Front Range a locus of small-batch brewing.

In 2017, Hoxmeier and his family joined the foamfest by opening Gilded Goat Brewing Co. in Fort Collins. His son, Charlie, who earned a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in microbiology at CSU, is head brewer.

The brewery is already drawing accolades, including medals for its Guten Bock, Goat de Garde, and Gold Rush Brut IPA at the Great American Beer Festival and U.S. Open Beer Championship.

What’s the connection between craft beer and work at the lecterns in Rockwell Hall?

“It’s all about the customer, whether that is a craft beer drinker or a student,” said Hoxmeier, who infuses his teaching with lessons from the brewery. “It’s about yields. It’s about data in the fermentation and brewing process. It’s about customer data. It really comes down to understanding customer preferences and relationships through data.”

The family conducted heady research for their business plan: Traveling by motorhome, they toured breweries and pubs across Western Europe. “It was tough,” Charlie Hoxmeier said. “We had to visit, like, 60 breweries.”