Author Topic: There's Gold In Davis, California  (Read 746 times)

S. cerevisiae

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There's Gold In Davis, California
« on: November 04, 2015, 01:41:38 AM »
I spend a good bit of my free time digging into culture collections searching for gold of the microscopic kind.  The culture collections held at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) are the subject of the blog entry that I posted last night.   Brewing with culture collection cultures is experimental brewing in its truest form.

http://www.experimentalbrew.com/blogs/saccharomyces/there%E2%80%99s-gold-davis-california

Offline erockrph

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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2015, 03:58:28 PM »
Really cool post, Mark! Do you have any information on how the lay person can obtain cultures from these banks? I have some starters stepping up with my WLP??? cultures that I got from a comtaminated agar plate. If all turns out well with that experiment, I think I'd be up for delving a little deeper into the dark arts of yeast culturing.
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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2015, 05:04:20 PM »
UC Davis will sell brewing cultures to anyone who can cover the per culture fees (the non-brewing cultures may have laboratory-only restrictions).  You will have to sign a transfer agreement based on the type of transfer you are granted.  As a non-commercial user, you would probably qualify for the "Research Transfer Agreement."  The UC Davis states that the cultures they provide are not for use in human subjects, but I believe that that restriction is for customers who are involved in non-brewing-related scientific research because I have always been upfront about my usage.  While brewers are not UC Davis' primary customers, Dr. Boundy-Mills has shown interest in tapping into the brewing market as a way to create an additional funding source for the collection.  Most state universities are funded via a combination of state discretionary spending along with private and public contracts and grants.  Most state universities are looking for ways to offset state funding cuts these days.

http://phaffcollection.ucdavis.edu/termsofuse.htm

Dr. Boundy-Mills' email address is:  KLBmills@ucdavis.edu
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 05:17:45 PM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline narvin

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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2015, 05:34:31 PM »
So, collectors in the past "donated" commercial strains, and now they sell them with the restriction that you can't use them for commercial purposes?  Seems like that wouldn't hold up legally.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2015, 06:18:21 PM »

So, collectors in the past "donated" commercial strains, and now they sell them with the restriction that you can't use them for commercial purposes?  Seems like that wouldn't hold up legally.
It wouldn't, but they likely wouldn't allow you to be a customer for long if they found out.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2015, 06:45:21 PM »
Nice article Mark. According to a well known guy in our club, Dan McConnell shipped his yeast library to White Labs, where most are in Cryogenic storage. Found this on line, he may of had more.
http://hbd.org/pbabcock/oldsite/yckco/yckcotbl.html#Yeast
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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2015, 06:47:17 PM »
So, collectors in the past "donated" commercial strains, and now they sell them with the restriction that you can't use them for commercial purposes?  Seems like that wouldn't hold up legally.

UC Davis has different material transfer agreements for commercial accounts and yeast propagators.  The per strain price is also higher.   A signed transfer agreement is a binding contract.

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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2015, 06:52:50 PM »
It wouldn't, but they likely wouldn't allow you to be a customer for long if they found out.

Not to mention that a significant violation could result in hearing from their legal counsel if the non-permitted use resulted in a significant loss of revenue (i.e., you purchased a culture under a research transfer agreement and went about propagating it commercially, or you transferred a culture to a commercial propagator).

Offline narvin

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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2015, 01:10:48 PM »
It wouldn't, but they likely wouldn't allow you to be a customer for long if they found out.

Not to mention that a significant violation could result in hearing from their legal counsel if the non-permitted use resulted in a significant loss of revenue (i.e., you purchased a culture under a research transfer agreement and went about propagating it commercially, or you transferred a culture to a commercial propagator).

Seems dangerously restrictive, in the sense that the genetics of a strain of yeast can almost be considered under copyright law.  I can see how the original slant would have restrictions, but any yeast generations afterwards are as free to distribute as they did from the breweries who originally discovered and "bred" the yeast in their brewhouse.
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Offline narvin

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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2015, 01:49:13 PM »
So, collectors in the past "donated" commercial strains, and now they sell them with the restriction that you can't use them for commercial purposes?  Seems like that wouldn't hold up legally.

UC Davis has different material transfer agreements for commercial accounts and yeast propagators.  The per strain price is also higher.   A signed transfer agreement is a binding contract.

You signed the agreement, not me.  Better make sure you filter all your beers before they get out in the wild.  ;)
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Re: There's Gold In Davis, California
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2015, 03:02:47 PM »
You signed the agreement, not me.  Better make sure you filter all your beers before they get out in the wild.  ;)

I never bottle the beers that I make with these strains.   All of it is served at my house, so there is no worry.  While the research transfer agreement is restrictive, I am obtaining the cultures for my own scientific curiosity.  If I did not want to worry about the restrictions, I would have paid the higher per culture fee.   

Maintaining a large culture collection is expensive.  That expense has to be recovered.  If UC Davis is storing their cultures like most other large collections, they are storing them at 77 degrees Kelvin (-196C/-321F) using liquid nitrogen.  I believe that White Labs is using -80C storage, which while much better than how home brewers maintain cultures is not as effective over the long term at maintaining stability as 77 Kelvin storage.

As far as to the argument that the breweries gave the deposits to UC Davis for free so it they be free to distribute, well, that is not how most brewery deposits are made.   For example, let's examine the Wallerstein #36C4 deposit.  I was under the assumption that Jack McAuliffe acquired the strain from UC Davis because of his connection to Dr. Micheal Lewis.  After asking Dr. Boundy-Mills to fact check the initial version of my blog entry, I discovered that that assumption was incorrect.  Jack McAuliffe acquired the strain directly from Wallerstein Labs.   I knew from previous pre-prohibition lager related research that Wallerstein was owned by Baxter Labs in the seventies and that Baxter sold Wallerstein to Gist-Brocades Fermentation, Inc in an effort to limit damage from a patent infringement case brought against Wallerstein in 1977 by Novo Terapeutisk (one of the companies that make up the diabetes juggernaut Novo Nordisk today).  As it just happens, Jack McAuliffe made the deposit in 1977.  The fact that Wallerstein was embroiled in a patent infringement case the same year that Jack McAuliffe made the deposit is no coincidence.  The deposit was clearly made as a defensive move to preserve the culture.