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Harpoon Brewery–What If?

(Writer’s Note: Let’s file this one under “what if?” In the crazy and adventurous world of entrepreneurship, there are a lot of “what ifs” involved. “What if” it does work?  “What if” it doesn’t? “What if” we don’t try?  The last kind of “what if” is the worst! In the summer of 2013 we had quite an experience, that I still think back to this day “what if?”)

 

I’m a networker. I play the “name game” a lot prior to meeting new clients to “break the ice” and get into a comfort zone. Once the “name game” turns into “x-degrees of ____”, we’re not strangers anymore and the establishment of a working relationship is highly probable. So when I found out that Rich Doyle,  the co-founder of Harpoon Brewery in Boston, MA graduated from my grade school in NYC (St. David’s School), played lacrosse at Phillips Exeter Academy and then at Harvard University – it was cool! When I found out that one of my lacrosse buddies in the next town from me, Mitch Bradbury, was his roommate at Phillips Exeter – that was really cool! My mind got going, of course.

While during one of our casual backyard lacrosse tosses, I asked Mitch if we could pitch this idea to Harpoon Brewery of somehow combining lacrosse and beer. Obviously, and especially in post-collegiate competition, lacrosse players are known to congregate over beers after playing to “catch up”.  :o) We did our research together and learned of Harpoon’s limited brews/select barrels done in the past. We figured that this could be an interesting product to pitch. Thru Mitch, we got a meeting with Rich Doyle at Harpoon’s new Beer Hall set for August of 2013. We both worked on our idea and presentation to Harpoon. I was excited to meet a founder of a company, who originally wrote the business plan for Harpoon while at business school, and brewed the early batches in his apartment. Entrepreneurs rock!

For inspiration and research purposes. :o)
For inspiration and research purposes. :o)
Some quick label design with the Harpoon 'H'.
Some quick label design with the Harpoon ‘H’.
Old school player with a Red or Crimson "H". Either works for Harpoon and/or Harvard.
Old school player with a Red or Crimson “H”. Either works for Harpoon and/or Harvard.

Below, are the series of package design concepts for a “what if?”

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We were having a lot of fun doing this, as you can see! We wanted to include some sort of historical lesson behind the sport of lacrosse, while covering all positions on the field, etc. But what was was the “flavor” of the beer?  Still, “what if?” :o)

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On our trip to Boston we were going over our product presentation on the Amtrak Acela. Once we arrived to Boston, it was “game time”.

On the Amtrak Acela.
On the Amtrak Acela.

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A little sampling/tasting before the meeting… :o)

We sat down with Rich Doyle for about an hour. Good thoughts and feedback come from it, going forward. There was interest to pursue next steps and structure a deal. During the meeting it was also good to see him reunited with his former roommate at Philips Exeter, and to also talk about our lacrosse experiences, overall.

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Rich Doyle, co-founder of Harpoon Brewery.
Rich Doyle (left) with his roommate from boarding school, Mitch Bradbury.
Rich Doyle (left) with his roommate from boarding school, Mitch Bradbury.

After the meeting, we relaxed a bit and enjoyed more of Harpoon’s best courtesy of Rich Doyle and Harpoon!

The good stuff!
The good stuff!

And after the former Phillips Exeter roommates and lacrosse teammates were reunited, we had another reunion/”guest appearance” show up at Harpoon. It became a party!

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With old club lacrosse teammate & former Princeton Lacrosse stand-out, Chris Massey ’98. Legend. Google him!

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Weeks after our meeting at Harpoon, we had a few communications with Rich Doyle, but nothing really happened.  It seemed that it was put aside.  A year later, we found out what happened which was more important on Rich Doyle’s mind and obviously took over our product idea.

A bit over two years later, the “what if” is always on my mind.  And that’s the case with a lot of other things, that either didn’t work after numerous attempts, or never took the needed next steps.  But “what if”?  Well, I’m happy for the experience and opportunity to meet an entrepreneur, business founder, from the same city and grade school, who also played the best sport on earth. This thing called entrepreneurship has really been an exciting adventure.

But what if it worked?

What if we try it, again?! :o)

**********************************

Etc./Misc:

Tri-Captains of Harvard Lacrosse '82. Rich Doyle (far right).
Tri-Captains of Harvard Lacrosse ’82. Rich Doyle (far right).
St. David's School. Class of '74. Rich Doyle (top row, third student from left)
St. David’s School-NYC. Class of ’74. Rich Doyle (top row, third student from left)
St. David's School. Class of '92. Vinnie Ricasio (third student from left). Yes, I know how to tie a tie, back then! :o)
St. David’s School-NYC. Class of ’92. Vinnie Ricasio (top row, third student from left). Yes, I knew how to tie a tie, back then! :o)

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