From Kickstarter to Kegs

This week we enjoyed having Ohio State Alumni, Walt Keys, as our guest speaker. Walt is the Co-founder and Creative Director at Land-Grant Brewing Company, which him, and co-owners Adam Benner and Quintin Jessee, have been working on since 2012.

Initially they branded themselves as Oval Brewing, a slight nod towards their alma mater. Not long after launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, they found themselves in the right place at the right time when they were introduced to a pharmacist in their network who wanted to invest in a brewery. They were a perfect fit and with even more capital they could now begin the search for real estate that could suit their needs. When they had finally found the perfect place in Grandview, the deal fell through and they were left holding the bag. On top of this, they discovered that a British vodka company had the name Oval, so they asked Oval’s lawyers if they could still use the name since they are not in the spirits business and they basically told Walt’s team to scram. With less legal power they knew that the smartest move was to rebrand. After much brainstorming and discussion they settled on Land Grant Brewing, which still alluded to the land grant which gave birth to Ohio State.

Through the fire and flames, they continued searching Columbus for the perfect spot for their brewery. Two and a half years after their Kickstarter campaign, Land Grant Brewing welcomed beer enthusiasts for a grand opening last October, downtown in Franklinton. Here are some of the key takeaways from Walt’s story:

• Position your brand wisely, try not to alienate potential customers that have different views
• Check the federal trademark website for every name that’s close to yours to avoid branding obstacles down the line
• When obstacles get in your way, fallback to your core mission to get through them
• When big problems happen, say oh well, look forward, and get over it

It was great to hear the story of a local entrepreneur and we’re very glad he could make it out to share with us. If you’re 21 or older be sure to checkout their tap room downtown!

HEY THERE! I'm the VP of Communications for the Business Builder's Club. Feel free to communicate with me anytime!

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