Behind the tap handles and frothy mugs, Ol’ Toby Easy Ale made its debut on Sept. 9 at Five Star Stadium. The beverage is now recognized as Mercer Athletics' official beer, carefully crafted with the expertise of Mercer alumna, Kaitlynn Kressin ‘15.
Kressin owns the Macon-based Fall Line Brewing Co. She has a deep connection to Mercer, and she partnered with the Mercer Athletic Foundation to create a beer that would strengthen the bond between alumni and the university.
“We wanted to create that for Mercer, a college that we are proud to be a partner of, and Macon, a city that we are proud to be located in,” Kressin said.
But what sets the beverage apart, aside from the Mercer connection, is the science that bubbles within every sip.
Kressin offered insights into the brewing process, noting that Ol’ Toby is an easy-drinking ale brewed with traditional German Kolsch yeast. This style was selected for its light body, shorter fermentation time, and widespread appeal among beer enthusiasts. For those intrigued by the chemistry of brewing, Kressin recommends hands-on exploration.
“We always encourage individuals interested in chemistry and fermentation to try home-brewing," Kressin said. "It allows for a better understanding of the brewing process and can be a great creative outlet for someone looking to try new things. Not every batch will be a winner, but it's always fun to share your creation with friends."
Another exciting opportunity awaits to help Mercer students understand the brewing process. Dr. Garland Crawford, associate professor of chemistry at Mercer, will be holding a class focused on the fermentation process in the upcoming spring semester.
“The fermentation class will be listed as an upper-level chemistry class (CHM 481), so the expectation is that students will have some background of chemistry coming into the class," Crawford said. "We will look at other ways of how alcohol is produced, what makes each of these alcohols unique to production, etc. We can point at their foundational chemical concepts in this class to get a better understanding of each beverage."
Ironically, Mercer is still a dry campus, which prohibits alcohol under any circumstances. When asked about the implications of serving beer on a dry campus at football games and promoting responsible drinking, Kressin emphasized the importance of safe practice.
“At Fall Line Brewing Co., all of our bartenders are trained and certified in safe serving practices for alcoholic beverages and, as always, we encourage patrons to drink responsibly,” Kressin said.
Dr. Crawford shared his perspective on the academic side of responsible alcohol consumption. He said by demystifying alcohol and understanding its science, it can help students make informed decisions about responsible consumption.
“Our primary path is looking at the science of it, but even then it is especially worthwhile to talk about, for example...how alcohol is metabolized by people," Crawford said. "We want to shoot for responsible use and responsible awareness."
Ol’ Toby Easy Ale blends community spirit with science. In Mercer’s dry-campus setting, it’s a unique symbol of responsible enjoyment and local pride.
Karisha Khadayat is a student at Mercer University and a contributing writer for the Mercer Cluster