One of the perks of being at a university is the opportunity to listen to a wide variety of speakers who are brought to campus.
Being part of the business school, one of my favorite kind of speakers are those who tell a story of how they took a chance on starting their own business, and then watched that business succeed beyond their wildest imaginations.
Tonight I had such an opportunity, and it was wonderful.
The reason for recording the podcast on campus is because the two guys who founded the company, Luke Bowen and Trevor Hayward, met at Villanova and are 2010 graduates of our MBA program. While at Nova, they talked about wanting to start a business and settled on the idea of a craft brewery, launching Evil Genius in 2011.
The company is known for its quirky beers and its even quirkier names for those beers.
One of its best selling beers is a chocolate peanut butter porter called “Purple Monkey Dishwasher”; another is called “Shut Up, Meg!”
On their web site, you can see a long list of the clever names of the various beers they have crafted over the years. Among the more unusual names: “Help, I Accidentally Built a Shelf”, “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”, “Laces Out”, “This One Time at Bandcamp”, and “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs? False! Precipitation Consists Almost Entirely of Water”.
They have become part of the fabric of the city of Philadelphia, and it was nice hearing them talk about how grateful they were for their time at Villanova. how they wanted to build a company that reflected their values, the importance they place on culture, making Evil Genius a fun place to work, and one that will be around for the long-term. They noted tonight that they are in the top 5%, by volume, of brewers in the U.S.
After the podcast, there was a reception that featured some finger food, and best of all, Evil Genius beer. I had never tried Purple Monkey Dishwasher, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It was probably the most unusual tasting beer I’ve ever had, but in a good way. I would gladly have it again (and again).
So congratulations to Trevor and Luke; I wish you continued success and I look forward to my next visit to The Lab, your brewpub and tasting room on Front Street in Fishtown.
P.S. And thank you for your continued support of the Villanova School of Business, perhaps it could be renamed the Evil Genius School of Business – it has a certain ring to it…
*image from Evil Genius