How This Partnership Has Benefited CraftHaus Beyond a Brand

Being University of Nevada at Las Vegas grads, CraftHaus co-owners Dave and Wyndee Forrest really wanted to give back to their school in some way. By working with the school, the Henderson, Nevada brewery is reaping the benefits of releasing a brand for the school.

Rebel Spirit, a Golden Ale, is gaining traction and is on track to be the brewery’s top-selling beer by volume by the end of 2024.

“We envisioned this beer at stadiums, in our taprooms, in four-packs at grocery stores, on campus, and in fine dining restaurants on the Strip,” Wyndee told Brewer recently, “and all of those have come to fruition.”

Forrest said they knew they wanted to add a lower-ABV brand to the company’s portfolio that could please everyone’s palates, from craft beer geek to weekend tailgater, and Rebel Spirit was built to be that brand.

The brewery has a mutually beneficial relationship with UNLV’s Hospitality program as well as the Hospitality Alumni Association, Forrest said.

“We know that the school has our best interests in mind and we do our best to make them proud,” she said.

READ MORE: How CraftHaus Dialed in its Hop Water

They worked closely with Dean Stowe of the Hospitality program and his team was on board the whole process. That process also included a legal team vetting the project and ultimately green-lighting Rebel Spirit. CraftHaus also donates a portion of the proceeds back to the UNLV Foundation.

“(It’s) a way to pay forward the opportunities that the school and program provided for us,” she said.

The brewery also opens up to UNLV students to get an overview of the brewing process from Head Brewer Cameron Fisher, also a Hospitality alumnus.

“They learn about the components of sensory analysis and the art of pairing beer styles with food as well,” Forrest said.

Having this cooperative relationship with the Hospitality Department at UNLV is vital to the local craft beer industry of Las Vegas, Forrest said, because those students are the next decision-makers for the food and beverage industry.

“They understand the craftsmanship that goes into locally brewed beer,” she said. “Students are exposed to sensory analysis, beer history, hospitality, and beverage program design.

“It is a unique opportunity for Hospitality students to be able to use our working brewery as a real-life lab.”

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