A partnership between several MBA student organizations and the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Office of Alumni and External Relations brought together five local entrepreneurs to describe their personal journeys within the adult beverage industry at the first annual Beer, Wine, and Spirits Industry Night. 

The inaugural event took place on October 9 at Georgetown McDonough and included an MBA student homebrewing competition and an industry panel discussion moderated by Jeff Reid, founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative. 

The panel represented a diverse group across the industry, covering beer (Julie Verratti, co-founder and director of business development for Denizens Brewing Company, and Thor Cheston, C ’01, co-founder of Right Proper Brewing Company, wine (Marcus Johnson, JD ’97, MBA ’97, CEO and founder of FLO Brands, LLC, FLO Wine, LLC), and spirits (Gareth H. Moore, MBA ’08, chairman/CEO of Virginia Distillery Co., and John Uselton, co-founder of New Columbia Distillers).

These five entrepreneurs covered a wide range of topics including how they finance their businesses, combat public policy issues, and address gender and diversity challenges. The panelists detailed how they broke into the industry, explained the quirky nuances of distributing their products, and shared strategies for how students could join the industry.

To kick off the event and showcase student interest in the industry, six MBA homebrewers served their own beer and wine creations to compete for student votes and receive high marks from judges made up of Georgetown McDonough faculty and administrators. At the conclusion, two homebrewers took home trophies to honor their special brews. The more than 100 attendees comprised a mix of current students, alumni, faculty, and administrators, including Dean David A. Thomas, and their excitement highlighted the growing passion for this dynamic industry.

This event was made possible through a collaboration between several MBA student organizations (Evening Student Government Association, Student Government Association, Gourmet Society, Beer Appreciation Society, and Wine Society), and the Office of Alumni and External Relations, with the support of the MBA Program Office.