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M.B.A. students help streamline bottling process for NOLA Brewing

Loyola press release - April 14, 2011

Local microbrewery NOLA Brewing and a team of Loyola University New Orleans M.B.A. students worked together to steer the three-year-old company in the right direction for a new bottle processing system. The collaboration was part of the Idea Village’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week Competition, which paired students from several of the nation’s top M.B.A. programs with local entrepreneurs.

The Loyola team, consisting of Christynn Vierra (co-leader), Jay Jayakrishnan (co-leader), Anthony Alessandro, Rachel Dietrich, Mallory Domingue, Stephen McGoffin, Keith Naccari, Alex Prejean, Ari Silber, and Kelly Spears paired with NOLA Brewing, analyzed the company’s plans to invest $300,000 in a bottle processing system, as a way to expand beyond the local bottled beer market. Currently, NOLA Brewing only provides keg beer to restaurants and taverns in three southeastern states.

After analyzing the brewery’s processing, storage and shipping procedures, the students highlighted some significant logistical obstacles that needed to be overcome before NOLA Brewing should invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment.

“Without attending to those problems before purchasing the bottling equipment, they would have never been able to meet the additional production necessary for the bottling or even expanding their keg business,” said M.B.A Entrepreneurial Consulting professor Brett Matherne, Ph.D. “What the students found was critically important before indebting a company for a new piece of equipment to the tune of about $300,000.”

Matherne says that by applying lessons learned in the classroom, students were able to better understand the brewery’s operation and, ultimately, identify potential problems.

“The students created a processes flow chart in order to understand how the brewery operated. This allowed them to not only understand how things worked, but also allowed them to ask questions and find out if all the different components in the process had been fully analyzed,” Matherne added. “Both sides realized that the brewery’s present capabilities needed some retooling. They learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes, you can’t make assumptions and often have to reassess your operations, especially if you are a growing business.”

NOLA Brewing is implementing changes to streamline their operation and still intends to expand both their presence in both the keg and bottled beer market.