An Ethical Leader in L.A.'s Thriving Brewery Scene
"Estd. Daily" is what you'll see if you look closely at the logo for Los Angeles Ale Works. Co-founder Andrew Fowler, MBA '14 says, "The general idea is that we always want to continue establishing ourselves and not become comfortable or stagnant."
That entrepreneurial spirit informs everything Fowler does. Since he was about 22, Fowler has had the notion of opening a brewery. When he reached a point in his project management career where he decided he needed an advanced degree, he looked at several programs and campuses, including Loyola Marymount University. "I was blown away by the campus," he said. But a beautiful campus had to be backed up with substance. On that point, Fowler was equally impressed with what he found.
"I really appreciated the flexibility of the MBA program and the emphasis on work -- life balance," said Fowler, whose busy life included work, school and raising a family with his wife. "I also valued the mix of perspectives in the program, the diverse backgrounds of my classmates and knowing that everyone could succeed." He saw that the program's dual aim was the empowerment of self and building a better team, and that has become the ethic of the company. "For us, that is being creative leaders, making great beer, helping our employees grow, meeting new people and continuing to work hard to carve out our space in the craft beer world," he said.
Fowler co-founded the Hawthorne, California-based Ale Works six years ago. His managing partner focuses on the brewing, and Fowler handles the business side. Fowler says that the business logistics he learned in the MBA program were invaluable in their success. They opened to the public two years ago and now have a bustling tasting room and they distribute to 350-400 accounts, including large entities, such as Whole Foods, Dodger Stadium, Gelson's Market, and small business, such as bars and restaurants. They handle their own distribution, which ranges from San Diego to Ventura. Their lone van logged 40,000 miles in 12 months.
Ale Works employs 18 people, including a sales manager and a delivery driver, with full benefits. That is an important point to Fowler: The ethical framework of the LMU MBA program instilled in him the priority of treating his employees right. And it comes back to the daily business of doing better. "If you are always looking too far ahead, you can forget about what needs to get done on a daily basis to reach your goals."