At the Forefront of Innovation: Watershed Distillery

The first few weeks of the full-time MBA program have been a whirlwind! Between classes, career prep, joining clubs and meeting classmates, there is always something going on. The opportunities are endless, and I can’t imagine going through this process anywhere else! One of the many benefits of Fisher’s FTMBA is a student’s ability to join organizations that speak directly to their interests and intended career.  For me, Innovation Fisher (IF) instantly stood out- marrying marketing and innovation is natural… and IF’s first event of the year definitely solidified that.

IF had the opportunity to tour Columbus’s locally owned Watershed Distillery, a true example of a company that has literally (and figuratively) ‘gone against the grain’ of others in the industry. Founded in 2010 by OSU Alumni Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo, the company focuses on three (and soon to be four) main products: Gin (two types), Vodka, and, (coming in November) Bourbon.

A Small-Scale Approach
The company’s mobility in the industry stems from its smaller size and innovative spirit. The custom-built copper still in the back is the smallest in the region; the next smallest size Greg mentioned was that of a distillery in Kentucky. At this smaller scale, Greg and Dave have quite a bit of flexibility, as they can switch gears between their offerings quickly. They also have the ability to try out or test a new innovation at the drop of the hat if they’d like to.

‘Watershed Moment’
According to Greg and Dave, a ‘Watershed Moment’ celebrates a point in time or event in one’s life that symbolizes change. Their brand is built around this ideology; celebrating and embracing life and these moments has been the backbone of this rapidly-growing company. It has also been the driving force of their marketing and social media campaigns, which have drawn serious momentum for the distillery.
Watershed Distillery was founded in 2010, from an idea that came about years prior. Dave and Greg recognized a gap in the industry; there was little to no presence of locally produced spirit in Columbus or the surrounding areas. Recognizing this ‘Watershed Moment’, the two entrepreneurs jumped on the idea quickly, and have seen great success, and as of late, great recognition.

Young Professional Achievement
On Friday, September 21st, Greg will receive the Young Professional Achievement award at the Max M. Fisher College of Business Alumni Awards Dinner. Recipients are “alumni under the age of 41 who have records of distinguished career accomplishment and who serve as role models in business for younger individuals.” After visiting Watershed Distillery and seeing the true innovative ‘spirit’ of the company, I know this award is recognizing a genuine, entrepreneurial achievement. What a great example of entrepreneurship and innovation coming from the Fisher College of Business!

The tour group from Innovation Fisher. Thanks for a wonderful experience, Greg!

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