March 28, 2023

Marquette launches new craft beer label run by students. You can crack a cold one on National Marquette Day

From left, Marquette University seniors Will Dales, Connor Nelson, Gracie Pionek and Jackson Cosgriff created a campus-themed beer with alumni who own local breweries.

Something blue and gold is brewing next month.

A group of Marquette University students created a new craft beer — '77 Golden Ale — that will be on tap at three local breweries and available in cans at Fiserv Forum on Feb. 4, which is National Marquette Day.

Marquette University President Michael Lovell announced the private craft beer label and the new student-run business venture behind it at his annual address Wednesday. A different crop of students each year will lead Blue Gold Brewing and launch their own beer on National Marquette Day.

Seniors Gracie Pionek, Connor Nelson, Will Dales and Jackson Cosgriff said they didn't know each other before the project. But emails from various university offices seeking student participants brought them together one day last fall when they taste-tested a bunch of beers to decide what their own should be.

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Advising the students was "the Beer Board," a group of Marquette alumni with business and brewing experience who contributed startup capital for the project. The board includes David Dupee of Good City Brewing, Joe Yeado of Gathering Place Brewing Co. and Tim Pauly of Broken Bat Brewing Co.

Kevin Brauer of Draught Guard and Chuck Swoboda, who is Marquette's innovator-in-residence, also serve on the board.

Wanting to appeal to a broad alumni base, the students went with a light, crisp ale. Good City is brewing the beer for them, Nelson said.

The group kicked around a lot of design ideas and were "fans of the retro-vibes from the start," Cosgriff said.

Among the discarded concepts: Big Ale, a nod to legendary basketball coach Al McGuire; Avalanche, a popular campus bar that closed in 1997; and McCormick, the former dorm shaped like a beer can.

"How can I make this appealing to anyone interested in Marquette without just doing a logo slap or doing MU on a beer can?" said Pionek, who is studying advertising with a minor in graphic design and led the design of the can. "That's something we really wanted to steer clear of, was just copy-pasting something."

The design of the '77 Golden Ale beer can is a play on the Marquette basketball jersey.

The final design for '77 Golden Ale is a play on the basketball jerseys worn the year the Marquette men's team won the NCAA National Championship. Pionek said the colors match the 1977 jersey colors and a font invented around that time. “COLD BOLD GOLD” lettering circles the top of the can.

"We really wanted to lean into the nostalgia," Pionek said. "We wanted the alums to think of their glory days and their time spent at Marquette."

The experience opened Pionek's eyes to product design, which she hadn't dabbled in before. Nelson, Cosgriff and Dale, the business majors in the bunch, said they appreciated the opportunity to create and market a product from start to finish.

'77 Golden Ale apparel is in the works, Cosgriff said. The students are also looking into selling cans at retail locations.

Revenue from product sales will be split between Blue Gold Brewing and the participating breweries, with proceeds going to sustain the student-run venture program.

"I can't wait to walk around Fiserv and seeing everyone hold our beer," Nelson said.

"And drinking it responsibly!" Hales quickly added.

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Contact Kelly Meyerhofer at . Follow her on Twitter at  @KellyMeyerhofer .