The Brewery Project: A Kellstadt Consulting Story

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By Matthew Rottmann

In my previous post, I described how I was able to use my Kellstadt resources to build my own internship when the pandemic caused a mass hiring freeze in my industry, management consulting. One project in that self-built internship, which took place over the summer months, is particularly noteworthy.

In my operations management class, we were asked to carry out a logistics analysis of a local company. My group decided to do this project in a big way: by going on a brewery tour. I sent emails to a dozen Chicagoland breweries asking if they would be okay with us taking pictures and timing some parts of the brewing process. One brewery, Half Acre, did more than just accept: they invited us to come out for a VIP tour.

Brewmaster Ryan O’Derhty

My group and I spent a morning at Half Acre’s Balmoral brew house, speaking with brewmaster Ryan O’Derhty. We asked all about the process, timing, inputs and outputs, and what problems were common at Half Acre. After taking pages of notes, we returned to the Kellstadt lounge to start churning out some numbers.

For the class project, we evaluated the brewery’s schedule. The brewing process happens in shifts. At the time, Ryan had the shifts run from 5 a.m. to whenever they were done for the day, often around 9 p.m. But he wondered if it would make sense to start brewing 24 hours a day.

This is a common situation in consulting: sometimes a company has an idea of a solution, but they’re not sure if it will work out. Either they have already done the calculations and want an objective party to double check the numbers, or (like in Half Acre’s case) they know how to run the numbers, but they’re too caught up in daily activities to give proper due diligence to the proposed solution. That’s where my team and I stepped in.

After this class project, I reached back out to Ryan to see if I could be of further service. I had just begun my self-developed summer internship and I knew Half Acre had more questions they wanted answered.

I ended up spending several more weeks working for Ryan’s team, calculating optimal fleet rentals and ownership, finding ways to reduce keg-filling time and even helping them redesign their keg hoses. I learned a lot in my operations class, but this applied experience let me carry out what I learned and turned it into real experience.

In the end, my team and I found solutions that would save thousands of dollars a month for Half Acre. Although all the work was pro bono, Ryan showed his appreciate with free Half Acre t-shirts for the team, and I have a new favorite brewery.

Matthew Rottman is an MBA candidate at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and co-founder and vice president of the DePaul Consulting Club. A soon-to-be Double Demon, he graduated from DePaul in 2013 with a BA in industrial-organizational psychology. In addition to his graduate studies he works as a consultant for local small businesses and non-profits. His passion is in bringing value to organizations that benefits both the bottom line and the everyday lives of the people within the organization. When not consulting or studying, Matthew can be found hiking with his Shar Pei, Genghis Khan.


Posted on

February 17, 2021