The Monday night of February 23 was special for Professor McNeeley’s Strategic Management students. Prof. McNeeley always makes sure that his students are leaving with some after class thoughts and are developing themselves for the future needs of the industry and life. He also emphasizes on the importance of entrepreneurship, and how it generates employment and leads to global growth.
Anil Joy, a past student of Prof McNeeley’s Strategic Management class, joined us as a guest speaker to tell us about his entrepreneurial venture. Anil and his team are in the process of launching a new beer brand in Chicago, Aleman. The entire team of Aleman, Jim Moorehouse, Brad Zeller, Nate Albrecht, Josh Bearry, and Chris Aldrich, joined him.
Professor Mark Werwath, director of the MEM Program, and a few employees of Chicago Tube and Iron were also part of the session.
“40% of the class indicated that they want to start their own business eventually. We cannot make this MEM program more timely and responsive to your leadership and entrepreneurial aspirations than this.” — Prof. McNeeley
Prof. Werwath articulated the history of liquor in the City of Evanston, and how church time affected the liquor industry in Evanston until 1974. He also mentioned Northwestern’s relationship with “FEW Spirits” (a liquor company), where students were able to improve the firm’s operational efficiency as part of the Process Engineering course.
“Northwestern MEM degree’s job is to turn great engineers into great engineering leaders.” — Prof. Werwath
Anil Joy, who is also Chairperson of the MEM Student Advisory Board, briefed about board’s activities. The MEM Student Advisory Board is a student organization represented by its current students to carry out the networking events, industry relationships, MEM marketing planning and competitions. The board also acts as an effective bridge between the students’ and the faculty/management boards. For those interested, Anil also apprised the class of the open positions in the upcoming elections!
The discussion then moved on to Lagunitas, where Anil shared his business insights from his study of the brand and industry. And thanks to a recent case study of craft beer industry, an extremely interactive session followed.
Students mentioned about growing preference among millennials for organic ingredients in food and beverage products. To this, Aleman said that they are trying to procure organic ingredients from the local farms and involve everyone around them in the business to make them feel connected.
The Aleman team also mentioned about the term “craft beer” being diluted and becoming more of a buzzword in the beer industry, because it seems to be everywhere nowadays. Aleman seems determined to differentiate itself by connecting with people around them in small activities and getting them involved to be socially responsible.
Anil delineated the fact that Illinois is ranked as 34th in the brewery density in the United States–surely there is potential for the brewing business.
The Aleman team showcased the artifacts of the company, including a well-designed tap handle and a corner showpiece. They plan to install these tap handles across bars and liquor stores. The unique looking tap handle is sure to grab attention of many. Aleman also plans to introduce their merchandise, starting with T-shirts and hoodies.
The presentation was followed by a networking event with pizzas and, yes, Aleman’s home brewed beer! The special attraction was, undoubtedly, the mouth watering and home baked brownies (personally, my favorite) and cookies prepared by Prof. McNeeley’s sister. The networking session was full of enthusiasm where all students discussed their startup ideas.
“Aleman Brewery is a brewery with humble beginnings that was assembled by Nate Albrecht, Chris Aldrich, Josh Bearry, Jim Moorehouse, and William (Brad) Zeller to produce beer for a growing population of craft and non-craft beer enthusiasts alike. The collective vision of the Aleman team is that beers with unique flavor profiles, quality ingredients, and local production will be a source of economic impact not only to the stakeholders of the brewery, but to their families, friends and the community as a whole.”
Personally, I had two takeaways from the session and interaction with the Aleman team. First, keep everyone around you involved. Let them make a small difference in your big idea. These incremental improvements would eventually create a big impact. Just open up! In a way, we are trying to replicate this in the MEM Student Advisory Board. We want more students to be active in the advisory board to bring amazing ideas, which would help the MEM community as a whole. Join us in creating a difference!
My second takeaway, which was more crucial, were the brownies. They were so toothsome that I had to take away at least two of them. ☺
Now that you have read this far, make sure to visit Aleman’s facebook and twitter pages (and MEM Student Advisory Board’s facebook page too!). This would help you to stay updated on Aleman’s launch, so that you can go out and crash in some bars to enjoy Aleman [little advertisement]. As for the brownies, contact Prof. McNeeley.
Aleman’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AlemanBrewing/264505396906121?
Aleman Twitter Handle: @ALEMANchicago
Northwestern MEM Student Advisory Board’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/numemsab
Northwestern MEM Program : http://mem.northwestern.edu
Written by : Sneha Aggarwal (LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/snehaggarwal)
Photographs by : Francisco Gonzalez (LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/fxgonzalez)
Edited by : Parikshit Lad (LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/parikshitlad)