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'And Cougar Paw was born' | UH grads, 8th Wonder founders connect love of beer with alma mater

“This is my lottery job. If I had $20 million dollars in the bank, I’d still be doing the same exact thing I'm doing," said co-founder Aaron Corsi.

HOUSTON, Texas — A beer at 8th Wonder Brewery has become very popular during March Madness - all thanks to the Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Team.

The brewery created their own "Cougar Paw" beer about five years ago, and for the owners, it was --  and still is -- very personal. 

It was right on the University of Houston campus where the friendship was made and the brewery was born. 

“We really hit it off and I told him 'hey, I'm working on a business plan to open up a brewery. I would love to bring you in,'" president, co-founder and hype man at 8th Wonder Brewery & Distillery Ryan Soroka said. 

“This is my lottery job. If I had $20 million dollars in the bank, I’d still be doing the same exact thing I'm doing," distillery brewmaster and co-founder Aaron Corsi said. 

Their bond over brew only grew, as they drew inspiration from their roots. 

“I was sitting at a game at Robertson stadium. This is how long ago it was. I was watching Case Keenum play, and I was like I would love to have one of my own beers to root on my team," Corsi said. 

And six months later, a new brew was created. 

“Kind of a no brainer, UH red, Cougar red, so we said let’s design a red ale. And Cougar Paw was born," Soroka said. 

It started as a passion project, but today, Cougar Paw is one of their top-selling products. 

“To see it make it’s way around town to more and more places, more and more stores, more and more bars and restaurants, it’s really rewarding," Soroka said. 

But their Cougar connection doesn't stop there. 

“It’s surreal. It’s indescribable," Aaron said. 

Aaron is now back on campus, as a UH professor, teaching wine, beer and spirits production and beer appreciation.  

“It’s kind of full circle. I learned and gained a lot of my knowledge and my passion about creating beer and business partner at UH," Corsi said. 

Their dreams of offering their own craft on their old campus has come true, especially now with the Cougars basketball team on the big screen. 

“I like to think that people got that red ale in their hand rooting for the boys on Cullen street," Soroka said. 

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