Sam Holloway – Educator – Craftsman and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Dr. Sam Holloway of the University of Portland

Dr. Sam Holloway of the University of Portland

Each quarter Thebeerchaser recognizes an individual or group that in his opinion has made a contribution to humanity.  Said “honoree” may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars other than enjoying an occasional microbrew (or PBR) in a favorite watering hole.  This quarter, I do a shout out to Dr. Sam Holloway, professor at the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business Administration.

Princeton's Dr. Harry Frankfurt

Princeton’s Dr. Harry Frankfurt

Sam joins two other professors and a colleague at the University of Portland as academicians featured previously by Thebeerchaser.  The former includes Princeton Professor Emeritus, Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the wonderful book On Bullshit.  (January, 2012) 

And in June that same year, Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (BOTQ) was my graduate school Public Finance professor, Dr. John Walker from Portland State University whose humorous and cynical quips at the beginning of each lecture still make me chuckle including these two:

“It’s much more economically efficient to bury people vertically rather than horizontally.”  

“It is my opinion that we could lower the defense budget to zero and the Russians would not attack….However the Mexicans would.”

Named BOTQ  in the first quarter of 2014, and a colleague of Sam Holloway’s at UP is accomplished Northwest author, Brian Doyle, who is the editor of the award-winning University of Portland quarterly magazine (Portland) and author of six collections of essays, two nonfiction books, two collections of “proems,” a short story collection and three novels – Mink River, The Plover, and Martin Marten (published in 2015).

Author and editor, Brian Doyle

Author and editor, Brian Doyle at the Fulton Pub

But we aren’t highlighting Sam’s career based strictly on his formidable academic credentials and classroom record which will be addressed later in this post. Sam’s contribution to the micro-craft industry is also noteworthy.

One of my wife’s and my favorite professors in graduate school at PSU was Dr. Walt Ellis.  Walt, besides giving great lectures and having a personal interest in his students’ careers, also loved to have a beer and conversation with his students after our three-hour evening classes.

Well, not only has Sam garnered awards and rave reviews by his students for his lectures, but he likes beer.  And who could ask more than having a professor who is a nationally (and now internationally) known brewery consultant.   And he’s an equity shareholder in addition to being on the board of directors of Eugene’s Oakshire Brewery – since 2010, helping them grow from about 1822 bbls to a projected output in 2015 above 10,000 bbls annually.  The brewery founded in 2006 evolved from a home-brewing hobby to an award-winning NW brewery.

The Beer Goddess - also a fan of Sam Holloway

The Beer Goddess – also a fan of Sam Holloway

Lisa Morrison, known throughout the Northwest as the Beer Goddess, is an author and former broadcaster and was the first female “honoree” to be named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (First quarter of 2015).  She is a friend of Sam Holloway’s and in response to my request, wrote this endorsement:

“So often, people become brewers because they love what they do and they love the craft. But there’s a business side to brewing. That’s the side that, unfortunately, a lot of artisan brewers neglect.

Sam Holloway is the guy who steps in and helps these breweries actually become businesses. His knowledge and expertise in business, coupled with a true love and passion for craft brewing, is the perfect combination for these brewers and breweries who need a little tough business love.” 

One wonders how a guy in his thirties could have accomplished so much in so little time.   After graduating from Willamette University, he received his Masters in Teaching at Pacific University.  He taught advanced physics in Prague and then secondary mathematics in Beaverton, subsequently completing his Ph.D. at the U of O, (2009)specializing in strategic management and entrepreneurship.    Sam was also named the outstanding graduate student teacher while at the U of O.

Award-winning educator....

Award-winning educator….

He became a professor at UP in 2010 and was granted tenure in 2015.  We will see why UP is a dynamic university – one willing to take risks to fully use Sam’s talents with impressive results.

A skilled lecturer and presenter

A skilled lecturer and presenter

Besides his 2008 book (Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management), his numerous journal articles and publications fill about four of the total eleven pages in his  curriculum vitae (that’s academician speak for “resume”….)  But what has Dr. Sam done to promote my favorite beverage and advance the micro-craft industry?

Let’s start with the most recent example and consider the slogan, “Craft Beer Deserves Craft Strategy.”   This phrase on the cover of the brochure below announced University of Portland’s Master Strategist Certificate – the world’s first graduate level training dedicated to the business of craft beer.  In the words of UP’s Dean of Business, Robin Anderson:

UP's Certificate is the first!

UP’s Certificate is the first!

“We are going to lead the way and will help train craft beer professionals across the globe to run profitable, ethical and socially responsible businesses.”

Sam and his colleague, Dr. Mark Meckler were the driving force behind this initiative and UP jumped on the opportunity to lead.

His involvement with Oakshire Brewing resulted both from good timing and the fact that he was not a very good soccer player. After their first child (they now have two girls), Sam’s wife, Robin (who he met at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon house dance at Willamette) told him that he needed to get a diversion from his Ph.D. studies.

He chose indoor soccer because the team’s only two requirements were to pay a $42 registration fee and to drink beer. The decision was fortuitous but not because of his soccer ability.  He and another guy, Jeff Althouse, a middle-school math teacher, were the worst two players on the team and spent most of their time on the bench talking about beer issues.

Bench time pays off with Oakshire Brewing

Bench time pays off with Oakshire Brewing

Jeff, parlayed his love for home brewing and his recipe for an excellent amber ale, into founding Eugene’s Oakshire Brewing with his brother.  Sam had used Oakshire as a case study when working on his doctorate and Althouse invited Sam to join the Oakshire Board.

The consulting firm, Crafting a Strategy, followed soon afterward.  “…..as an intellectual and professional exercise, Sam applied every advanced business strategy and theory he learned in grad school to the Craft Beer Industry and helped Jeff apply it to his young craft brewery business. ” (Crafting a Strategy website)

SAm on TvHis expertise and academic position led to speaking engagements all over the US and then internationally (Finland, Denmark, Ireland – even to the Guinness’ Global Brand Team in Dublin).  Brewery owners and entrepreneurs wanted his advice.  (He left for San Francisco the day after I interviewed him  at the invitation of the convener of an annual Wharton Business School Conference.)

Logo of the consulting company

Logo of the consulting company

Dr. Mark Meckler

Dr. Mark Meckler

Based on his professional demands, Sam teamed with his friend, Meckler, who had extensive expertise as a chef (trained in Switzerland) and with extensive work in food/beverage management.  The synergy was obvious as they advised clients that “the restaurant side could destroy an otherwise viable craft brewing business.”

To achieve their strategy, the third founder joined them –  Joe Belcher, whose marketing background with Disney, Hollywood Entertainment and Nintendo and his specialty in brand development and e-commerce were a perfect complement.

Marketing expert, Joe Belcher

Marketing expert, Joe Belcher

Check out their website and blog which is a gold mine of information on brewery operation, financing and marketing.  And a great example of Sam’s teaching style can be observed in the  2015 video below in which he addressed the 10th annual South Dakota Entrepreneurship Conference.  

Take a look at one session held at the Wooden Legs Brewing Company in Brookings, South Dakota (I told you that he spoke all over the US!).  Sam speaks without notes and is totally engaging.  My intent was to listen for two or three minutes and after hearing him expound on “How to Make a Profitable Cheeseburger,” I was compelled to take in the entire forty-five minute discussion:

So let’s finish with Sam’s role as a professor.  This comment on the website “Rate my Professor,” is indicative. (It was also interesting that the first advertisement that appeared on this site was one for Victoria’s Secret but we digress…..)

Laura Williams receiving her BS in Nursing in 2008

Laura Williams receiving her BS in Nursing in 2008 from Father Bill Beaucamp

“Sam’s class is awesome and refreshing my senior year. I highly recommend him. I haven’t missed a class and enjoy his lectures and videos in class. Plus Sam is on the board of Oakshire brewing, #AMAZING”

This review echoed the sentiments of my future son-in-law, Ryan Keene.  Both Ryan and my daughter, Laura, are UP graduates.  Ryan said that Sam was his favorite professor and stated:

“Dr. Holloway understands how to engage students so that everyone in the classroom is interested. He challenges student to think outside the box. It helps that he has become an expert in the brewing business. What college senior doesn’t want to talk beer economics in the classroom?”

Sam - crafting a strategy

At the 2014 Western Academy of Management conference in Napa, CA.

And based on the outstanding education both Ryan and my daughter received and my own contacts with the University, Thebeerchaser will admit a bias.

That said, besides his motivation and intelligence, one of the reasons that Sam Holloway is thriving at UP is the progressiveness of the Administration and academic leaders towards new and innovative ideas.

 

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800px-University_of_Portland_entrance_signWhen Sam, as a new faculty member, approached his Dean about both serving on the Oakshire Board and his wish to research the brewing business as part of his academic endeavors, the conversation went something like this:

Sam Dean Anderson, I serve on the board of Oakshire Brewing  I hope there is no problem with that?

DeanI think that is a great opportunity for you and it can be of mutual benefit to the University.

SamAnd I want to research and learn the business of brewing and breweries as a fundamental part of my academic research.

Dean  What do you need?

SamYour support and a blank check….

DeanYou have my support…….!

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Visiting the Brussels Beer Challenge offices

UP has supported and funded Sam’s endeavors, and it has provided a great return for the University.  We have already examined the graduate certificate (Master Strategist Certificate) and the students’ classroom experience has been enhanced.

Consistent with his philosophy of “expanding beyond the classroom,” Sam has taken students to Europe in both 2012 (twelve) and will again next month (ten) where they interact with executives and management types.   The students witnessed Sam’s presentation to the Guinness Global Branding Team as a guest of the Danish government.

Holloway with Guinness Master Brewer, Fergal Murray

Holloway with Guinness Master Brewer, Fergal Murray

With connections facilitated by UP Board of Regents member, Larree Renda, a retired Safeway executive, they met Guiness’ Master Brewer, Fergal Murray in the Guiness VIP Lounge in Dublin.  Murray showed the UP students how to “pour the perfect pint.”  (He previoulsly poured for Tom Cruise, Queen Elizabeth and Barack Obama in this same room.) 

In addition, he has helped place several students in craft brewing businesses and the industry students in his class share their knowledge.  For example, one of Sam’s students, Gavin Johnson, was awarded an internship while at UP and is now Head of Production at Widmer Brewing.   There are other examples…..

It would appear that UP does its utmost to avoid the admonition expressed by Derek Bok, attorney and former President of Harvard University:

“Efforts to develop critical thinking falter in practice because too many professors still lecture to passive audiences instead of challenging students to apply what they have learned to new questions.”

UP is currently gutting its student union (The Cove) to include a bar, a permanent stage, more seating and a renovated kitchen. With its restaurant-style interior, refitted kitchen and a new bar serving alcohol to students twenty-one and over, The Cove should be a “hopping” place – don’t be surprised if they have Oakshire on tap.

"Spillover" benefits

“Spillover” benefits

And if they use the expertise of Professors Holloway and Meckler, it is quite probable that the profits on cheeseburgers and beer will help fund some new scholarships at UP. Dean Anderson will continue to get a return on his investment.

And he and his colleagues will keep preaching about the significant spillover benefits to the community – breweries transfer wealth to society more than to individual entrepreneurs.  According to Holloway and Meckler:

“Craft breweries are a great vehicle for both civic and economic wealth creation….Civic wealth is a driver for economic health. It increases as new businesses surround the breweries and property values increase.

Economic wealth goes up because breweries can pay normal wages to their employees and can treat them like creative, thoughtful people, not like worker bees. Taxes are generated that get paid locally.  People prosper by what we think of as ‘the sacrament of beer.’”

This is one reason that their consulting firm has a number of clients that are local governments and NGO’s around the country – they want part of this action!

Ryan Keen, Ron and Sam Holloway at the Low Brow Lounge
Ryan Keen, Ron and Sam Holloway at the Low Brow Lounge

 

And finally, Sam is a fraternity brother of mine as is his dad, Portland attorney Ron Holloway, one of the founders of the Sather, Byerly & Holloway law firm.  Ron was also my room-head in my first term at Oregon State.

Ron, Sam, Ryan Keene and I got together to lift a mug (and for Ron and Dirt to tell old stories) one afternoon several months ago at the Low Brow Lounge in the Pearl District.  I’m sure that Sam will relate what he learned that afternoon to his students.  Maybe Thebeerchaser will decide to audit one of his classes.

Sam Facebook 1

 

 

Tall Tales and Highballs (okay-beer!) at the Low Brow Lounge

 

The Low Brow and the Pearl District - An Inherent Contradiction in Terms??

The Low Brow in the Pearl District

Perhaps there should be some recognition for a watering hole that was voted, “Best Portland Dive Bar” back in Willamette Week’s 2005 Readers’ Poll and still, amidst the burgeoning high-rise condos and pretentious shops and eateries in the Pearl District, retains its reputation as a dive bar in 2015.  (Note: The Sandy Hut and Marathon Taverna, both reviewed by Thebeerchaser were second and third place in 2005.)

Note this review from Willamette Week’s 2015 Bar Guide:

“Low Brow Lounge didn’t land in the Pearl, the Pearl landed on Low Brow Lounge. Once just another dive proudly declaring its lack of pretension, the bar has, somewhat miraculously, survived long enough to take up the mantle as an oasis of indelicacy freaking out the nouveau-riche squares filling the condos that have sprouted up around it in the last decade.”    

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A dive amidst the high rises…..

Thebeerchaser ended up at the Low Brow Lounge at the suggestion of his daughter’s boyfriend, Ryan Keene, who established some credibility in bar discernment by previous Beerchasing events at Sniff Cafe, Quimbys and Club 21.  Ryan is a very good athlete and enterprising young man as well as a good drinking companion.

Ryan, Ron (in the shadows) and Sam with Thebeerchaser logo

Ryan, Ron (in the shadows) and Sam with Thebeerchaser logo

 

Also joining us were Dr. Sam HollowayUniversity of Portland professor and his dad, Portland attorney, Ron Holloway, who first crossed paths with Thebeerchaser in his freshman year at Oregon State University, when Ron, a junior, was his room-head in the SAE fraternity house.  (More on that chronicled history below.)

The student reviews of Dr. Holloway are overwhelmingly superb and Ryan, enjoyed his interesting lectures.  He was also reassured after a conference with Sam in which the good professor admonished him, “Remember, 50% of all students are below average….”

P1030256Ryan had been to the Low Brow before and it was close to the senior Holloway’s digs in the Pearl.   Arriving on a Friday afternoon, we passed on the their signature dish – chicken breasts and tater tots – they label them , “Tits and Tots,” and ordered beers and the more mundane but equally unhealthy  – tots and mini-corndogs.

The Low Brow fits the general definition of a dive bar (see Beerchaser post “Analyzing Dive Bars Head First.”) and it reminded both Ron Holloway and me of similar venues in which we matriculated while in college in Corvallis – Price’s Tavern, The Peacock and Don’s Den, to name the most popular, but certainly not all the bars.

An Ashley Montague mural

An Ashley Montague mural

The Low Brow was not totally absent of class and the mural on the external west wall by Portland artist Ashley Montague  was distinctive.  (His work consists mostly of commissioned murals on authorized walls, like the side of Lowbrow Lounge or the wall at Chapter 24 Vineyards)

 

Otherwise, it was the typical dive environment including pinball machines, a Wonder Woman mural, some memorabilia and a curious four-foot high Miller High Life bottle with thousands of bottle caps in it.

Bartenders to busy to tell the story behind this artifact

Bartenders to busy to tell the story behind this artifact

The reviews of the Low Brow often have comments about surly bartenders and it appeared that those working that day fit the mold – also one reason that I have no explanation for the Miller bottle cap collection.  In almost every watering hole visited by Thebeerchaser – even in the grungiest dive such as the Yamhill Pub, the bartenders are friendly and willing to share some stories or chat about their bar.

Not so with the Low Brow, which is one reason this blog post is written after just one rather than the customary two or three visits.

Others agree as evidenced by the following:

“…..bartenders so perfectly surly they must be coached in unpleasantness.”  Portland Barfly

“……the bouncer—who looks about one phone call away from being arrested for loitering.”  Willamette Week 2014 Bar Guide

Surly bartenders.....

Surly bartenders…..

“The new, extremely rude, bartenders have ruined this once great dive bar destination and as a result this place is now the most uncomfortable bar in the city.”  Yelp review 3/9/15

That said, any time one can drink cheap PBR, stuff down fried food and share tales (both true and concocted) with old (and in Sam’s case) new friends, is memorable.  Thus, I’ll end this post by focusing on the company.

Sam Holloway

Dr. Sam Holloway

Dr. Sam Holloway

Sam Holloway (who in an unprecedented early disclosure by Thebeerchaser, will be featured in June as the 20th Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter) is a well-educated gent.  His first degree was in physics from Willamette University, followed by an MA in teaching from Pacific University and finally his Ph.D. at the U of O.  This excerpt from the summary of his credentials at University of Portland conveys the breadth of experience for a young guy:

“Professor at the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business Administration. Prior to completing his Ph.D. in management, Sam’s professional appointments spanned a wide array of industries, countries, and areas of expertise. These positions include being an estimator in the U.S. highway bridge construction industry, teaching advanced physics in Prague, Czech Republic, and teaching secondary mathematics in Beaverton, Oregon.

 He has received several teaching awards, including being named the outstanding graduate student teacher at the University of Oregon.”  

Sam was awarded tenure at UP in 2015 and as mentioned earlier, was Ryan’s favorite professor during his undergraduate days at UP – an outstanding educational institution.   He played a key part in the recent implementation of a Master Crafting Strategist Certificate – a graduate level curriculum to give craft beer industry professionals specific business training and wisdom.  800px-University_of_Portland_entrance_sign

Thebeerchaser in the forthcoming post will also discuss Sam’s reputation in the craft beer industry including consulting both nationally and internationally as a principal in his company Crafting a Strategy.

 

Logo_Vertical

Sam Holloway’s Consulting Company

 

With typical humility, Sam defers praise and said while consuming his PBR:  “I give all of the credit for my success to my parents – especially my mother and father.”

There is consensus on Sam’s genetic make-up among those of us who know both Ron Holloway and his college sweetheart and now spouse, Dinda.  While Sam may have received some of his aptitude for higher education from his dad, (Ron served for several years as Assistant Dean at Willamette University) but his intelligence, interpersonal skills and good personal appearance all emanate from his mother’s side of the family.

Ron Holloway

Ron was my room-head for several terms at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in my freshman year at Oregon State, where “Ronnie Clyde” claims he molded me and laid the foundation for all of my future accomplishments.   He was also nicknamed “Root Beer” because to his credit, he did not drink alcohol until he was 21 (I told his son it was because he had an affinity for A & W).    He served as President of the fraternity and player-coach of our intramural C-League basketball team.  His leadership-coaching style was kind of a bizarre combination of Rutherford B. Hayes and John Calipari.  The SAE’s won the all-university championship in all three intramural leagues that year (1967).

Ron Holloway as SAE President in 1969.

Ron Holloway as SAE President in 1969.

Portland attorney, Ron Holloway

Portland attorney, Ron Holloway

Root Beer went on to law school and served as an Assistant Dean at Willamette before entering the private practice of law and in 1996 co-founding the firm of Sather, Byerly & Holloway, a successful twenty-lawyer litigation firm in Portland. 

(It should be noted that the firm’s website reference which sites the co-founders’ concern at their prior law firms for “….soaring overhead costs and the inefficiencies of an overgrown bureaucracy,” is not a reference to Thebeerchaser when he served in firm management while Ron practiced at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.)

The SAE house was loaded with ahtletic talent that year (where future OSU basketball starter, Mike Keck, and former all-state round-ballers, Bob (BA) Allard (also Pac-8 Golf Individual Champion in 1969) and South Salem’s Chris Haag made up part of the A-League squad.  The B-League roster also had several former high school all-league basketball players.

Ron and I along with teammate Craig (The Dude) Hanneman (Defensive tackle for OSU -1968 to 70 – where he was 2nd Team All American and First Team All Pac 10 and All Coast in addition to playing in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, the All America Bowl and the College All-Star Game) showed our hardwood talents in the C League.   Ron and I regaled Ryan and Sam at the Low Brow with tales of legendary exploits in high school basketball where both of us lettered in the old TYV League  – Ron at McMinnville HS and Dirt at Oregon City HS.

1966 TYV League Champions - coached by Dale Herron (Beerchaser is #10)

1966 TYV League Champions – coached by Dale Herron (Beerchaser is #12)

C-League teams were  rated low in finesse, but high in belligerence.  (Hanneman’s  personal experience in those games ingrained him with the grit for his successful post NFL business career.)

More so, the games imbued him with what he needed to become the first former NFL or NBA player to scale Mt. Everest – he accomplished that in 2012 and “Run with the Bulls” in Pamplona the next year –  he was showcased as one of the 2012 Beerchasers of the Quarter)

The Dude (right) on Mt. Everest climb

The Dude (right) on Mt. Everest climb

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It also attests to Ron’s motivational skill when as a coach, he channeled the rage Hanneman expressed during the championship game when a competitor showed poor sportsmanship and Mike Tyson-like behavior.  (Hanneman called a time-out because he was bleeding and said in the huddle,“That Beta SOB, just bit me in the shoulder.”)  The Dude went on to a triple-double in the game besides making sure the offender looked over his shoulder when he walked on campus for the next month.

Thebeerchaser and Craig Hanneman at OSU

Thebeerchaser and Craig Hanneman at OSU

Ronnie Clyde, inspired by Mike Keck’s no-look passes in the A-League games, developed his own version “the no-pass look,” where he established records – probably still standing – for most shots taken in one season. (Also the inverse record – shots taken verses shooting percentage.)

Ryan Keene

Ryan - athlete and enterpraneuer

Ryan – athlete and enterpraneuer

After graduating from the University of Portland, Ryan joined O’Neill Electric as a project manager and demonstrates his work ethic by part-time work on the weekends at Artleta Library and Bakery Cafe as well as serving as an assistant coach for the track and cross country teams at Clackamas High School.    He is an accomplished runner and was a member of the Gonzaga University Cross Country Team his first two years in college.

Laura Williams and Ryan Beerchasing at Quimbys

Laura Williams and Ryan –  Beerchasing at Quimbys

In 2013 he ran a 50K that’s 31.1 miles – ultra-marathon in Bend on the Flagline Trail. He finished 3rd overall with a time of 4:15. – that’s essentially an eight minute mile for the distance!

The first time I met Ryan’s mom, Nancy, I talked to her about his running and the conversation went something like this:

Beerchaser:  Ryan is a good athlete and his running is amazing.  How did that happen?

Nancy:  Well Ryan liked to run when he was little and in the ninth grade, he decided he was going to focus on this sport so he started running ten miles every day that summer.

Beerchaser:  Wow, ten miles every day.  That’s really dedication for someone that young.

Nancy:  Well, it sounds impressive, but it wasn’t all good.

Beerchaser:  What do you mean?

Nancy:  Well in the fall when it was time for him to start high school, we had no idea where he was……

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Another mural – this one of Wonder Woman inside the bar

We enjoyed our time at the Low Brow in spite of the environment.  Perhaps one visit is not enough to appreciate its idiosyncratic ambiance, but this comment in City Search seems to be typical.

It also explains why Thebeerchaser will look for options with more amiable staff when checking out Portland dive bars in the future.

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Used to be a decent place to wind down…A long, long time ago, in a far, far away dream.  To say the service is poor would be a compliment.  Dive bars are supposed to be nice for their local feel and charm. The Low Brow is now anything but.”

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Old-fashioned pin ball machines

Old-fashioned pin ball machines

Typical dive bar memorobilia

Typical dive bar memorobilia

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Low Brow Lounge    1036 NW Hoyt Street