The team at Fox Management Consulting (FMC) is lifting a pint glass in celebration after being awarded a $45,000 grant-funded project to help Pennsylvania’s beer and malt beverage industry emerge from the challenges presented by the pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced it had approved grants totaling nearly $2 million for more than a dozen projects across the state that will focus on increasing and enhancing Pennsylvania-made beer, malt beverage and wine industries.
“Pennsylvania industries have to adopt new ways of doing business in the COVID-19 world, and these grants will provide substantial funding to help two vital parts of our agricultural community not only explore ways of improving production methods, but also boost marketing efforts that reach beyond our borders,” Gov. Tom Wolf says in a press release.
As part of the Fox School’s MBA capstone course for the spring 2022 semester, the project will focus on three segments in the beer and malt beverage industry: producers and sellers, distributors and tourism. Each team of students will be assigned a specific segment and will be led by a faculty member, a project executive and several industry advisors.
“All three segments are intertwined but ultimately there are distinct macro outcomes that we are looking for,” says Nicole Naumoff, assistant professor of strategic management and director of sales for FMC. “We will put an accelerated growth plan together for each of those segments along with key strategic factors to measure success along the way.
“Simply put, this project is about how to turn the disruption of the pandemic into an advantage for the beer and malt beverage industry.”
The project will include research, insight and opportunities from across the state that will become the foundation for strategies and a path forward for each segment, no matter the size of the business.
“We have this historic background of beer and malt beverage makers in this state, from big breweries like Yuengling to small master brewers who may or may not have a microbrew pub attached to their facilities,” Naumoff says. “You also have many different-sized distributors who, during COVID, were closed for a time, yet consumers could buy beer and wine at the local grocery store.
“Then there is this emergent trend in beer tourism where people are going to a destination. Much like a wine region, you can identify areas where there are multiple breweries and create opportunities for a beer region.”
There are multiple reasons why FMC is a good fit for this particular project, including past consulting work for a range of clients in each of the project’s segments.
“This project is exactly what we do very effectively—build out strategies for a path forward using market research and evidence to get to different scenarios for success.”
But there is one more advantage for FMC, Naumoff believes.
“We believe the students are actually part of the market that we are trying to get to support these industries,” Naumoff says. “They can actually bring their own experience as consumers.
“After all, it’s an experiential program in an experiential industry and we think that is a really nice fit.”