Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 23 No. 18
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Cajun country brings burst to licensed brews

In Louisiana, where gastronomy is high art, the marketing of beer with colleges is the nation’s frothiest. At least three Louisiana institutions of higher learning license their intellectual property to local brewers.

New Orleans’ NOLA Brewing is producing a wheat beer for Tulane University. Starting next month, Green Wave beer will be sold on tap at the school’s home football games and through local retailers in cans bearing the school’s “Angry Wave” logo.

IMG College — its multimedia rights and licensing divisions — brokered the deal, which includes an official beer designation.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has sold beer at home football games since 2009, making the school one of the first to offer alcohol in its venue. In 2015, Bayou Teche Brewing of Arnaudville, La., launched a new brew at a ULL home game — Ragin’ Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale.

Louisiana-Lafayette has Ragin’ Cajuns.
Tulane has NOLA Brewing’s Green Wave beer.
The 17,500-student ULL claims the brew, poured at home games and sold at retailers in Louisiana and Texas, was the first beer licensed by a college. The school, using its athletic nickname, Ragin’ Cajuns, created an alternative mark to use on the beer’s labeling.

“It’s not exactly the university logo or our athletics logo because we didn’t want people to think you had to be one of our fans or alums to drink the beer,” said Aaron Martin, the school’s chief communications officer.

The school collects a 12 percent royalty off sales, just like it would hats and T-shirts, resulting in net revenue in the mid-five figures from beer sales, the school said. The brewer came out with a lager beer last year that carries the same Ragin’ Cajun beer marks.

“It hasn’t been a problem,” Martin said. “In fact, we’ve heard from dozens of other schools that are looking into this and asking questions. It’s become one of our top revenue producers [in licensing].”

ULL also has licensed its IP on seasonings, coffee and a hamburger at local Sonic restaurants.

Not to be outdone, LSU licensed Tin Roof Brewing in its hometown of Baton Rouge to produce Bayou Bengal Lager last year.

All of this sudsy activity fermented some local political unrest.

Louisiana Rep. Cedric Glover of Shreveport proposed a bill earlier this year that would have banned state schools (Tulane is private) from licensing alcoholic beverages. However, the bill never got out of committee and was withdrawn in May.

“[Beer] can be a very lucrative category,” said Nathan Hubbell, IMG’s general manager on the Tulane property. “You have to do the legwork, communicate across campus and know your culture so that every party is comfortable.”

Outside of the state, Colorado State has been a trendsetter by using its Ram logo on cans and bottles of Old Aggie Superior Lager, a brew produced by New Belgium Brewing Co., which like the school is based in Fort Collins. Colorado State’s share of the proceeds from Old Aggie sales will go to the school’s Fermentation Science and Technology Program, an alcohol awareness program, and the athletic department.