Alumni Q&A: Michael Allan Kuzyk

Michael Allan Kuzyk
Kuzyk. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Micheal Kuzyk is a member of the Faculty of Science's inagural Alumni Advisory Board. He graduated from UVic with his BSc in 1994 and PhD with Governor General’s Gold Medal in 2000.

Where I am now: I am in the 8th year of running a craft brewery that my life partner and I started in 2014.

The science I research, in a nutshell: Fermentation! Yeast and acid producing bacteria (for sour beers). I get to manage a library of yeast and bacterial strains and oversee the design and implementation of new beer recipes on a weekly basis. There is never a dull moment - industrial scale fermentation is quite complex. I continually challenge myself to keep learning. I am obsessed with continuous improvement and process optimization while staying true to craft beer ideals (natural ingredients and no additives).

How I got here: I started homebrewing while researching my Doctoral thesis in the 1990’s. It wasn’t until my career pushed me from the lab to a desk that I really started to get interested in the complexity of all grain brewing and propagating yeast. Once I discovered how scientifically fulfilling the process of brewing is, I became a sponge for knowledge. I read everything I could find on the industry and my closest friends never gave up pushing me to open a brewery. I can truly thank them for giving me the courage to actually do it.

A challenge I had to overcome to get where I am: Honestly, it was making the decision to try to start a brewery. I had to reassure myself that I wasn’t turning my back on my scientific career in doing this. Once I realized my background was an asset, my focus shifted to a 16 month process of research, business planning, networking, and raising capital.

One secret to success: Perseverance – believe in your ability to overcome any challenge or obstacle. This was the greatest takeaway from my graduate studies experience and has impacted my entire career path.

Favorite UVic memory: Oh there are so many! Downstairs Felicita’s in the old Student Union Building was certainly a great place to hideaway. But, I think I really cherished playing bocce at lunch in the summers around the Cunningham and Petch buildings. Summers on campus were amazing, it felt like you had the campus to yourself.

Advice for current UVic students: Challenge yourself to get to know as many people in your program as possible. Join extracurricular clubs! The experiences you share and the relationships you make during your time at UVic can be so strong and rewarding. Many of them will last forever.

Most people don’t know that I: Can recognize and name a lot of mountains. I love getting into the mountains and I mountaineered a lot while in grad studies. I only hike now, but I love the mountains and alpine.

Learn more about the Faculty of Science Alumni Advisory Board