Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Local students brew up new brand for Lakewood

Dean Marilyn Wiley of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business shakes the hand of Ryan Meigs, creative
director for Lakewood, while President and Founder Wim Bens holds the trophy (Lakewood Brewing Co.)

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland recently partnered with University of North Texas (UNT) students on a class project that now has the potential to turn in to a new brewery brand.

Teams from Dr. Lou Pelton's Applied Market Problems class, offered by the UNT G. Brint Ryan College of Business, were challenged with developing a new brand concept and comprehensive marketing strategy for the company.

“Great brands have to be rooted in an insights-driven concept to connect with consumers," says Ryan Meigs, creative director for Lakewood. "We made it clear we would be heavily weighing the concept in the final presentations.”

The ultimate goal for student teams was to create market awareness and brand ambassadors that would organically spread the word about their new product and Lakewood as a brand.

“Our initial impressions were that the students were very interested in the project. It seemed like half the class stayed after the presentation to ask questions. We were impressed with the depth of thinking and how quickly they jumped into research mode,” says Meigs. “We even hosted several students on a few occasions at the brewery for tours. They continued to ask thoughtful questions and were very engaged in the process.”

When it came time for teams to reveal their final concepts, both Meigs and President and Founder Wim Bens were there to choose the winning idea.

“All of the presenters had great ideas and interesting thoughts, but we felt “Team Peach” really took their concept and wove it throughout every facet of their presentation. It was clever, and we felt like something our target audience would react to and work well,” explains Meigs.

"Team Peach" consisted of Marco Hernandez, Gina Duronio, Katie Abshire and Bristal Buford. The group took home first place for their brand “No Huckin Way,” a huckleberry wheat beer.

“The opportunity for students to engage in real-world, real-time marketing improves their preparedness for careers and professional development,” says Dr. Pelton.

What first began as an innovative way to incorporate practical experiences into the classroom, has now transformed into a potential new brand for Lakewood to “put in the hopper.”

“The more [our leadership team] talked about the concept, the more it sounded like a good idea. I spoke with one of our brewers and we decided to do a pilot batch,” says Meigs.

Members of “Team Peach” will be able to taste the very same product they conceptualized in the classroom; and if all goes well, store shelves may very well be full of “No Huckin Way,” too.

Lakewood will host the students and UNT faculty on Friday, February 21, to try the beer for the first time.

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