Tasting Notes

Alumni infuse Southern Arizona’s gastronomy scene with the spirit of wonder.

Winter 2024
An array of colorful beer cans and pint glasses

Photos: Chris Richards

Don Guerra ’01 says his breadmaking dreams began in his garage, where he baked almost half a million loaves in eight years, approaching his craft with the disciplined faith of a “bread monk.” The Barrio Bread founder used his long period of study, in part, to refine his “palette of paints” — his grains. 

Guerra is part of the heritage-grain movement, baking almost exclusively with Arizona-grown wheat varietals. And in Tucson, a UNESCO City of Gastronomy home to a striking array of cuisines, he’s not alone in his attention to origin — not even among Wildcats. 

Anna Perreira ’04 opened Yellow Brick Coffee with her brother, David Perreira ’06, after studying the history of the beverage and traveling to Ethiopia, a coffee-growing mecca. East Asian studies alum Andrew McNeill ’13, meanwhile, moved here to join Seven Cups Fine Chinese Teas, a company that forges sturdy bonds with Chinese teamakers. He’s never looked back. 

Former Wildcats Athene Kline and Adam Krantz of Monsoon Chocolate also pay homage to place, dreaming up treats like the prickly pear caramel, a bon bon shaped like the purple mountains surrounding the city. 

In the following pages, we report on each of these alums, whose academic backgrounds vary widely. We also check in with Pueblo Vida Brewing Company’s married team, Eller grads Linette Antillon ’09 and Kyle Jefferson ’09. Pueblo Vida’s history of concocting distinctive beers to benefit Southern Arizona organizations like Many Mouths One Stomach led the university to select the brewery last fall as its first craft-alcohol licensee. 

And we share the story of the mother-daughter duo behind The Meading Room, a farm winery located an hour south of the city in the golden hills of Sonoita. Barbara Christianson and Kylie Daniels ’19 source the honey for their mead from local apiaries. Someday, they hope to pass their land down to Daniels’ daughter. 

Each notable, these businesses represent just a handful of the alumni-operated outfits making a mark on Southern Arizona’s rich food and beverage scene — one that’s left an indelible impression on almost everyone who’s called this university, city or region home.

Subscribe to the Alumni Insider

The Arizona Alumni Insider is a monthly newsletter for University of Arizona alumni. In it you will find information on alumni events around the country, news about university rankings and accomplishments, profiles of Wildcat alumni, donors and students who are making a difference, special opportunities just for Wildcats like you, and so much more.

Subscribe now