‘Gnarly’ couple tapped as Southeastern Young Alumni of Year
Monday, September 26, 2016
by: Rene Abadie
BREWING LION LOYALTY - Zac and Cari Caramonta, owners and operators of the Hammond-based craft beer production company Gnarly Barley, have been named Southeastern Louisiana University’s Young Alumni of the Year. The couple will be officially recognized at the Southeastern Alumni Association’s Awards Evening to be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, during Homecoming Week.
HAMMOND – It’s rather fitting that an alumni couple who are making their mark in
the craft beer industry will be tapped as Southeastern Louisiana University 2016 Young
Alumni of the Year.
Zac and Cari Caramonta, owners and operators of the Hammond-based craft beer production company Gnarley Barley, will be officially recognized at the Southeastern Alumni Association’s Awards Evening to be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, during Homecoming Week.
“Zac and Cari are true entrepreneurs who met at Southeastern and have made Hammond their home,” said Alumni Association President Mayson Foster. “Their company, Gnarley Barley, and the quality products they are crafting, are being distributed throughout the Northshore and helping to contribute to the local economy.”
The couple – Zac from Mandeville and Cari from Covington -- met at Southeastern as undergraduates. He was a general studies major, while Cari was studying family and consumer sciences majoring in merchandising with a minor in marketing. They married in 2009 and now have a one-year-old daughter named Stevie.
What started as a home-based hobby in their garage became a passion for crafting small batches of beer that received rave reviews at area festivals. That passion led to the formation of a corporation in 2011.
They both new they wanted Hammond – home of Southeastern and a really cool skate park downtown – to also be home to their brewing company. They successfully released their first beers in 2014 from a 10,500 square foot location on Corbin Road. Gnarly Barley now produces three flagship beers and two specialty beers, which are distributed at approximately 300 locations throughout nine parishes. The company plans to start offering the product in cans in time for Mardi Gras next year.
Alumni Awards Evening will include recognition of several Southeastern faculty and staff inclusing Alumnus of the Year for 2016 Billy Kennedy, the current head basketball coach at Texas A&M who graduated from Southeastern in 1986 and served as one of the university’s most successful head coaches from 1999 to 2005.
Tickets for the event are available from the Alumni Association by calling 1-800-SLU-ALUM or through the association’s website, southeastern.edu/homecoming.